Collier Row singing sensation busking to the top

Josh Gleaves

Josh Gleaves - Credit: Archant

A teen singing sensation is hoping to see off hundreds of other youngsters in the capital to be crowned busker of the year.

Josh Gleaves, 13, of Collier Row, is taking part in Gigs, the biggest street music competition in the country.

Backed by Boris Johnson, the annual contest aims to find London’s best young musicians and give them the chance to perform at big events.

Josh started busking in Romford 18 months ago and plays at open mic nights, charity events and festivals across the borough.

“I’ve entered for fun,” he said. “Winning would be a bonus but if I work hard I think I stand a pretty good chance.”

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He says his most popular songs are Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton and I See Fire by Ed Sheeran, depending on the crowd.

He kicked off his Gigs sessions at the weekend and has already performed in Regent Street, Westfield in Stratford, Oxford Circus and Liverpool Street.

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The modest teen is hoping to develop his talents when he goes to the world-famous Brit School in September, where he hopes to progress his music career.

His mother Ingrid, who is juggling taking him busking with full-time work, is full of encourgament for her son, who she says thrives on playing to large crowds of people.

“He’s so excited. The bigger the crowd the more he loves it,” she said.

“He really believes in busking – he’s always out in Romford but being 13 there’s limitations on where he can go in central London.”

He will be out and about in London until August 8 as he aims to replicate last year’s winner Tom Butler, who went on to perform at this year’s Glastonbury.

The public can vote for their favourite busker at

The grand final of the competition will take place in September at Westfield in Stratford, where they will compete before a panel of industry judges.

Josh has another final to worry about before then though, as he travels to Birmingham this weekend for the final of Teenstar with the chance to win studio time and £5,000.

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