BRIT School pupil Natalie heads to Paris to busk in the French capital

08 April 2015

Talented London musician Natalie Shay will travel to perform in Paris on Wednesday 8 April after being awarded the Eurostar prize as well the Youth Category in last year's Gigs busking competition, organised by City Hall. The trip marks another important milestone in the career of 16-year-old Natalie, who lives with her parents in Enfield and is currently studying at the BRIT School for performing arts. In the last two years the talented singer-songwriter has picked up several music awards, in addition to her Gigs accolades, including the Undiscovered Talent category at the 2014 London Music Awards. Natalie has already developed a significant following playing at venues around London, including the Roundhouse and the 100 Club, and her début single 'Follow You Home' reached number 15 in the singer-songwriter iTunes top 200 charts. Before boarding her Paris-bound train, the singer and guitarist will play a short set of songs to passengers waiting in the Eurostar departure lounge at St Pancras International Station. Her performance comes after the Mayor of London officially launched the Gigs competition for 2015 and Busk in London, a new initiative aimed at protecting as well as promoting busking across the capital. Natalie will play songs to passengers travelling to the French capital whilst on board the Eurostar train and is due to busk at a number of locations around the French capital. The previous Gigs Eurostar winners The King's Parade, were spotted by a German promoter on the same trip to Paris last year and have subsequently played several tours in Germany. Natalie Shay said: 'I'm really excited to have this opportunity to play to passengers traveling to Paris and to busk in this iconic city. Live performances are an important part of development as a musician. So it will be interesting to see the reaction from a French audience. This will be an invaluable experience.' Mary Walsh, Director of Communications for Eurostar said: 'We have a 20 year history of supporting cultural exchanges are delighted to welcome British born singer Natalie Shay on board to perform for our passengers whilst they travel to France. With the high-speed rail line connecting London to Paris, it’s a great opportunity to share experiences between the two cultures. We’re looking forward to her performance and our customers are certainly in for a treat!' The Gigs busking competition for 2015 is now underway and organisers are urging young musicians aged 11-25 to sign up at London's annual search for the capital's most talented young musicians gives aspiring artists the opportunity to hone their skills and gain valuable experience performing in front of the public and, if successful, perform at the Grand Final at Westfield Stratford City in September. Last year's competition was seen by an estimated 1.8 million people. Gigs musicians past and present will also be taking part in National Busking Day on 18 July, which will see cities around the country link up for a celebration of street musicians. There are great prizes up for grabs, to help young musicians develop their career. They include a much sought after licence to busk on the Tube; a busking trip to Paris courtesy of Eurostar; a bespoke music college course; recording sessions at a professional studio; and coaching from chart-topping songwriters. Following the launch of Busk in London last month, musicians, local authorities and landowners wanting to find out more should visit the website, Set up by the Mayor of London, the scheme is backed by founding partners Westminster, Network Rail, TfL and Ticketmaster. The aim is to make busking and street performance easier in the capital. It includes London's first Busking Code of Conduct, a set of common sense rules, devised by performers, councils, businesses and the police. Event: Natalie Shay busks in Eurostar Departure Lounge and on platform Location: Eurostar Departure Lounge, St Pancras International, Pancras Road, London, NW1 Date: Wednesday 8 April 2015 Schedule: 8:30am Media check in 8:45am - Photo call / performance to commence 9am Natalie Shay boards Eurostar train @LDN_Culture #Gigs2015 www.buskinlondon @BuskinLondon GIGS · The Mayor's Gigs busking competition is an annual event that has become London's biggest free music festival and is the largest youth music competition in the UK. It is a key part of the Mayor's Music Education strategy, which aims to strengthen and promote music education for young people, as well as supporting London's creative industries. · Each summer Gigs transforms the capital's busiest, most iconic public spaces into a stage for talented Londoners. Gigs attracts thousands of applications and is seen by millions of people · This year's competition is open now to Londoners aged 11-25, who can sign-up at Entries close on 31 May. Gigs live performances will take place from 18 July – 8 August. Online voting from 10-30 August. The Gigs Grand Final will take place at Westfield Stratford City on Sunday 6 September. · There are three categories: Youth, for performers aged 11 – 15 on 6 September 2015; Soloists & Duos for performers aged 16 – 25 on 6 September 2015; Groups, for 2 – 8 members, aged 11 – 25 on 6 September 2015. · This year's shortlisted acts will take part in live performances at Gigs busking pitches at iconic London locations, including at St Paul's Cathedral, Westfield London W12, as well as major rail and Tube stations. The best acts - as chosen by expert industry judges and the Gigs public vote – will go head-to-head in the Gigs Grand Final at Westfield Stratford City on Sunday 6 September. · Winners will have the chance to win a coveted year's London Underground busking licence; an all-expenses paid gig at the Matala Beach Festival in Crete; recording sessions at a top professional studio; a performance training package from The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance; coaching from chart-topping songwriters; music equipment; exciting performance opportunities; specialist industry advice to help them towards a career in music; the opportunity to busk in Paris thanks to Eurostar; Gigs 2015 Songwriting Award sponsored by PRS. BUSK IN LONDON · Musicians and street performers have found that the law is confusing and inconsistent. London had no city-wide system to support street performance. The result - a confusing patchwork of rules and regulations which dissuades many talented performers from participating. · Busking has been discouraged. Many boroughs did not provide no information about busking, or actively discouraged it. London now lags behind New York, Paris, Melbourne and other cities that nurture great performers. · When consulting with performers and officials we found that no-one is clear what is and isn’t allowed when busking in London. It also differs greatly across boroughs. · That uncertainty enabled nuisance performers and scammers to take advantage of the confusion and puts off high quality performers who are worried that they might be breaking laws. · Busk in London brings everyone together with one London-wide scheme; the boroughs, land owners, existing busking site owners, performers and the public. The aim is to fill London's public spaces with great quality street performance. · The Mayor of London's Busking Taskforce consulted with all London boroughs, police, businesses and buskers to produce a concise single code of conduct. · London's first Busking Code of Conduct is published by the Mayor and backed by Westminster, Network Rail, TfL and Ticketmaster. The Mayor is also asking boroughs and private property owners to adopt it to provide safe, professional management of existing or potential busking locations. · The single, online destination features the Busking Code of Conduct, the interactive map with information about busking locations and information about how to apply for this year's Gigs busking competition. More features will be added this summer, aimed at making it even easier for performers, landowners and the public to navigate busking across the capital. #BACKBUSKING CAMPAIGN · The Mayor launched the #BackBusking campaign last year, in response to increasing bureaucracy and the threat of sanctions affecting buskers in the capital. He set up a taskforce, to look at how to support busking in the capital. For more information go to: LIVE MUSIC TASKFORCE · The Mayor's busking programme is part of a wider drive to promote support London's status as a city of music – busking testing ground for musicians who are part of a sector that as well as giving pleasure to millions of people, is worth around £1.6 billion. Many successful musicians have busked, including Ed Sheeran, Billy Bragg, Passenger and Frank Turner. · The Mayor recently launched the Live Music Taskforce looking at how to mitigate closures of venues in the capital. For more information go to MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Please call the press office on 020 7983 4070 or email [email protected] GENERAL PUBLIC/NON-MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Call the Public Liaison Unit at the Greater London Authority on 020 7983 4100 DUTY PRESS OFFICER: For out-of-hours media enquiries, please call 020 7983 4000