Winner of The Next Big Thing talent competition 2014 Mae Chaliis has launched her début EP Released. The 16-year-old singer songwriter first entered The Next Big Thing talent competition, organised by Manx Charity Junior Achievement, in 2013 and came third. ‘The best thing about coming third is that it spurs you on to become first next time,’ says Mae.
‘I’ve called the album Released because it’s about leaving, or being released from, school, then entering the adult world and being able to dedicate all my time to being a musician.
‘There are five tracks, they’re all very different and include The Liar Underneath which I performed when I came third in the 2013 Next Big Thing and All About Me which won me this year’s contest.
‘The Next Big Thing was great to be part of. To perform in front of 800 people is really energising and great for building up your confidence. When I came third last year it just drove me on and I knew I could do better so when I came out on the Gaiety stage this year I just went for it and was really proud of myself when I heard my name called out as Next Big Thing 2014.’
Junior Achievement chief executive Sue Cook said: ‘Mae has tremendous talent so we were thrilled when we heard Mae had recorded her first EP. We’d like to think that the Next Big Thing experience might have played just a small part in helping her get this far at just 16 years old. Mae’s a brilliant example of what the contest is all about – an opportunity for young people to perform with professional sound and lighting support in front of a packed house. We wish her every success for the future and we’re already looking forward to the auditions later this year that will lead to finding who “The Next Mae Challis” will be in 2015.’
Mae said: ‘Getting this first album out has been fantastic – a standout moment. Going into that recording studio and getting my music out there felt like “the real thing”.
‘I’ve got about 30-odd more songs in my head at the moment, so I’ve plenty of material for a second EP.
‘I’ve always wanted to be a singer songwriter right from when I was four years old. I’m determined to get there with all my heart. To headline at Glastonbury would be amazing and every time I stand up in front of an audience to perform I become a bit more confident.’
Unsurprisingly then, Mae’s idol is Freddie Mercury. ‘He was so brilliantly confident out on stage,’ she said.
The late Queen superstar also had his own unique look and Mae’s developing one of her own, too, not least in her choice of footwear. ‘Doc Martens, always.’
Prices £5 Released is available from Stardust, Strand Street, Douglas or you can contact Mae via Facebook.