Shawn Mullen in record deal semi final

A LAOIS singer will be hoping to achieve a lifelong dream and secure a recording contract when he participates in the final stages of the All-Ireland Music Competition on January 4 and 5.

A LAOIS singer will be hoping to achieve a lifelong dream and secure a recording contract when he participates in the final stages of the All-Ireland Music Competition on January 4 and 5.

Shawn Mullen from Stradbally will compete against 15 other acts from all over Ireland during the semi final stage of the competition on January 4 at the West County Hotel, Ennis, Co Clare. The singer-songwriter will be seeking to reach the final of the inaugural competition at the same venue on January 5.

Commenting about his musical background and participation in the contest, Shawn Mullen said: “I started playing music when I was 12 years old, when I got my first guitar. Shortly after I started a band called .12 Gauge with a couple of mates. We played together for eight years, doing the pub/club circuit and recorded a collection of original songs in Warsaw in 2008. In 2010, I joined up with two mates and formed Bebop and Rocksteady, we went on to win the Irish Youth Music Awards that year, released a single and played a small handful of great venues. We also appeared on Dublin’s Balcony TV, but things never really picked up after that and we disbanded in 2011.”

Shawn added: “Since late last year, I’ve been focusing on my own solo acoustic thing, just writing songs and playing as many places as possible. I have roughly 16 original songs. I can also usually be found somewhere on Grafton Street on any given weekday busking.”

Mercury Music Winner and Hot Press Best Female Artist Gemma Hayes and Eurovision winner Paul Harrington will judge the acts that emerged from regional heats to qualify for the latter stages of the competition. A recording contract and TMI representation awaits the winning act.

The competition, which is hosted by Talent Management International (TMI) Ireland and sponsored by Shannon Development and the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau, has attracted significant interest since it was launched in April. Hundreds of acts participated in regional heats in Limerick, Dublin, Galway and Ennis with just 16 acts successfully making it through to next month’s semi final stage. For more on the competition, visit www.aimc.ie, and check out their Facebook page.