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Page last updated at 10:54 GMT, Friday, 23 October 2009 11:54 UK
York singer's talent show success

Joel James, BBC Blast reporter
By Joel James
BBC Blast Reporter, BBC York & North Yorkshire

Heath Lanzilotti and Lisa Crawford
Heath and Lisa have made it through to the national final of Open Mic UK

Heath Lanzillotti, who lives in York, has made it through to the final of a national talent competition that searches for the UK's best singers, singer/songwriters and rappers.

American-born Heath began his musical career playing piano and guitar for Motown bands while at college in Florida. After college, his music became a more full time career as he played more regularly and started to write songs. He also helped local bands produce demo tapes using his small but effective home studio.

Heath met English-born Rachel at a gig he was playing on New Year's Eve 2001. A few years later and they are married and living in York. Despite a massive cultural difference, singer/songwriter Heath can appreciate York's local music scene:

"I'm glad we moved to York. It has a lot of cool venues. It's not bustling like some bigger cities in England, but it is a cultural melting pot for the arts.

"I think local music is really important, that's where all the national bands started, so you have to go out and support your local bands."

Having lived in York for about a year, Heath regularly contributes to the local music scene. Playing in some of York's many venues and teaching music at Pocklington Montessori School. Heath hopes to become a professional song writer, writing for professional artists and film-makers.

Heath Lanzillotti
I think local music is really important, that's where all the national bands started, so you have to go out and support your local bands
Heath Lanzillotti

The idea to enter the Open Mic UK talent contest came to Heath while at work, which is where he met his vocalist Lisa Crawford, described by Heath as an amazing singer and performer. She's influenced by R&B and Motown, with funk and gospel thrown in.

Performing as the group Next Page in the auditions secured their place as York's representative for the UK Open Mic Contest:

They performed at the regional finals in Sheffield on 20 September 2009 and they were one out of around 400 acts. Heath described what happened:

"Lisa and I were thrilled to find that we were the first act from our age group to be called through to go on to the national finals; now we are working hard to get our name known and create a Next Page 'buzz' in North Yorkshire."

Open Mic UK is a nationwide talent contest that tours the country looking for the next big recording artist. Offering a tasty £25,000 cash prize and recording deals, it's no wonder it's one of the toughest competitions in the country.

We love anything that is going to promote local music in North Yorkshire and it looks likely that Heath's group, Next Page, will be doing just that in 2009.




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