Huw, 16, the youngest competitor on the BBC’s talent-hunt show Let It Shine
, made it all the way to the finals. The Stagecoach Truro alumni shares his astonishing story
Q. When did you realise you could sing?
A. “I always sang, but Let It Shine was my first proper performance. Everything before that was just school assemblies and things like that. I didn’t know I had talent – I was always a footballer.”
Q. Obviously, you did singing at Stagecoach, but did you have any formal singing lessons beyond that?
A. “No – and no one in my family sings.”
Huw (far-right) singing with boyband Nightfall
Q. So, what got it in your head that you would try out for Let It Shine?
A. “Stagecoach told us about the auditions and I thought, ‘I’m going to give this a go’. I didn’t have any song lined up or practised. We just kind of chose a song on the spot. It went well and I got through, and I just kept going further and further.”
Q. What was it like going out on stage in front of, not just a studio audience, but a TV audience?
A. “It’s quite a weird one, because you know they’re there, but you don’t. They might say, ‘This week we project five million viewers’, but you’re not really focused on that: you’re focused on getting the job at hand done to the best of your ability. Everybody was a little nervous, but not too bad.”
Nightfall in their promotional photo (Huw is far-left)
Q. What was the rehearsal schedule like?
A. “We’d usually start about 8 or 9am and finish about that time in the evening, so 12-, 13-hour days, just getting the routines sorted and ready. I couldn’t really dance before, I was a singer, but they employ dancing coaches and they taught me how to dance. It’s one of those things: if you try hard enough, eventually it will come. You just have to keep going.”
Q. “You were rubbing shoulders with a lot of stars. What was that like?
A. “It was fun. It was like, ‘Who are you performing with this week?’ And it was just like, ‘I’m performing with Gary Barlow’. It was really weird, but really nice at the same time. You’d meet them backstage and they were really nice.”
Huw (far-left) showing off his dance moves with the boys
Q. Did Gary Barlow give you any tips?
A. “At the end of the show he was going round, shaking everyone’s hands, thanking them, and he told me, ‘You have got the most potential here on this stage because of your age’ and Martin Kemp said that, for him, I had probably the best journey. It means a lot to hear that from such big names.”
Q. What are your dreams and goals for the future?
A. “I’ve released a single. It’s called From My Heart. I’d like to continue to move people and give them a good performance with my music; to try to make a living off it. That’s all we can do - anyone who has a passion just wants to do their best.”
Q. How did going to Stagecoach help prepare you for being on Let It Shine?
A. “The best skills you need are the ones you learn there. It gave me confidence and got me used to performing in front of people.”
Huw’s top tips
• However hard you think something is, you should never give up.
• Every time I went in I thought, ‘It’s my last performance, so I’m going to make it my best’. That’s a good mindset to have.
• Whatever you do, you cannot be perfect. You can always improve. In this industry, that’s a good thing to learn.
As told to Liz Granirer. Photos BBC