Bute singer Aimee prepares for London stage

Aimee Gilmour, her boyfriend Euan McKay and her parents John and Clare are looking forward to this Saturday's Open Mic UK grand final - but with their feet firmly planted on the ground!
Aimee Gilmour, her boyfriend Euan McKay and her parents John and Clare are looking forward to this Saturday's Open Mic UK grand final - but with their feet firmly planted on the ground!

Aimee Gilmour is making final preparations for the biggest performance of her life - but she doesn’t seem at all fazed by the prospect.

Sixteen-year-old singer Aimee, who lives in Rothesay with her family, will be the very first person on stage when the grand final of the Open Mic UK competition gets under way at indigO2, at the O2 Arena in London, on Saturday afternoon.

But when we spoke to her earlier this week she insisted that she wasn’t nervous about her performance - at least, not yet!

“I never really get nervous working up to things,” Aimee told The Buteman. “It’s only on the day that I get a week’s worth of nerves!

“I don’t really think about it too much - I think if you do that, you’ll just end up making yourself sick.

“Thankfully being the first performer means I won’t have too much time to worry about it on Saturday.”

The Gilmour family moved to Rothesay from Irvine six years ago, although her vocal talents were already beginning to attract attention even before the move - her work as a young ambassador for the Spirit Aid charity both on Bute and the mainland led to her winning a Young Scot Community Award in 2008.

But though she’s no stranger to the spotlight, Aimee’s feet remain firmly on the ground ahead of her grand final performance on Saturday.

“I really don’t know what to expect,” she continued. “I’ve never sung in front of that many people. I know it’ll be massive but I can’t really process the idea that I’m going to be on that stage.

“It’ll be the same feeling I’ve had with every other performance I’ve done - in fact I think I was more nervous about singing at Rothesay Bowling Club [at a fund-raiser for local internet station Radio Bute] in November!”

Aimee, singing under her stage name of Aimee Scarlett, will perform Rain On Your Parade by Duffy, from the Welsh singer-songwriter’s 2008 debut album Rockferry, in Saturday’s grand final - a song suggested by her boyfriend, Euan McKay, who’ll be there to cheer her on.

Aimee made it to the final after wowing the judges at the north of England and Scotland regional final in Dewsbury in November - the only Scottish singer to progress to the final of the 16 and under age category.

Video footage of all the finalists is available online at the Open Mic UK website (click on the link to the right of this article) - and Aimee and her family haven’t been able to resist the temptation to do a little bit of research on the competition.

“Between my mum, dad, Euan and myself, we’ve watched about half of the finalists,” she admitted, “and they’re all really good, although at this stage of the competition there’s nobody who’s just naff.

“My goal isn’t to win, but it would be amazing to be in the top three. Just to be there is pretty good but you’ve got to have a go when you get there, although I’m up against some really good acts.”

Aimee’s parents, John and Clare, will be among 14 members of the Gilmour and McKay families travelling to London for the final - and though they’re not hiding their excitement, it’s not hard to see where Aimee gets her level-headedness from.

“We were overwhelmed after she won through from the regional final in Dewsbury, because of the talent we saw,” John said.

“There are 90 finalists, and it’s all run by music producers - that’s what’s so brilliant about it. It’s a great opportunity for people in the business to see so many talented youngsters.

“What’s really good is that they’re encouraging you even before you go on stage. The judges aren’t just sitting there judging you.”

Clare added: “The producers are looking for different things all the time.

“The X Factor is an entertainment show, and sometimes the judges’ honesty can crush people. But Open Mic seems to be about giving the performers something they can take away from the feedback, rather than just chasing ratings.

“It’s about enjoying the opportunity that’s been given to you, doing your best and learning from the experience.”

Euan, on the other hand, is aiming high. “She’ll be the first person on the stage,” he predicted, “and the last one off when they announce the winner!”

* The winners on Saturday will be selected by a combination of judges’ choices and text votes. The judges will select a top three in each age category, and the text votes for the top three will then be added in to decide the overall winner.

You can vote for Aimee until the final comes to a close at 10pm on Saturday, by texting OPEN11 to 86222. Text votes are UK only, and cost £1 plus one message at your standard operator rate.

Texting a correct code is the user’s responsibility, so check your text carefully before sending. Texts sent after 10pm on January 19 will not count, although you may still be charged after the lines are closed.