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On Saturday 19 August, The Hyperdome hosted it’s second Rising Star Talent Competition in centre court from 1.30pm – 4pm.

Hit 104.7’s breakfast radio host, Ryan Jon, MC’d the event with TV celebrity Chief Julie Goodwin (winner of MasterChef), Amber Nicholls (The Voice Finalist), Australia’s Got Talent winner and performing artist Samson Smith (Justice Crew), and local artist Kayo (ARIA-charting artist) as guest judges.

The event was an absolute success, with all finalists performing exceptionally well on the day, and the crowd really showing their support to each of the contenders. As difficult as it was for the judges to select a Junior and Senior Rising Star, they were able to settle on awarding Jett Atkins the Junior Rising Star award, and Sophie Edwards the Senior Rising Star award.

We sat down briefly with the two winners to learn more about them, take a look!

Junior Rising Star – Jett Atkins

Jett, Congratulations on winning the Rising Star Junior Category – how does it feel to win?  

Amazing! Such an awesome feeling.

What was your performance at the finals? 

A Hip Hop dance routine.

Were you nervous? If so, how do you combat your nerves before a performance?

I was really nervous. I always get very nervous before i dance. I take deep breaths and i let the nervous energy flow through me. I cant handle people talking to me before a dance. Not trying to be rude to people but I just handle the nerves better if I’m in my own zone.

Tell us more about your performing background. Where do you currently dance etc?

I have been dancing since I was 4 years old. It’s my favourite thing to do in the whole word. Dancing just makes me so happy. I dance a few times a week at Play the Dance Agency. When I’m not dancing at Play I am usually dancing at home in my room. I’m pretty much dancing all the time lol!

What do you like to dance to? What’s your favourite tune?

Hip hop is my favourite dance style. Anything hip hop really I listen too.

Who is your role model?

My dance teachers at Play the Dance Agency are my role models, Alex, Riley and Shannon. Also James Fenwick, Taneikah ‘T’ from The House of Sole, Michael Jackson and Justin Bieber are my idols.

What do you aspire to do when you grow up?

I want to be an entertainer, singer, dancer or both lol.

I would just like to send a shout out to all my friends, family and my dance family Play the Dance Agency for always supporting me!

Senior Rising Star – Sophie Edwards

Sophie, congratulations on winning the Rising Star Senior category – how does it feel to win?

It feels amazing! It was such a fun day, and thank you everybody for all your messages of support, it means the world to me.

What was your performance at the finals?

I decided to mix things up a little bit and I performed an original song that I wrote specifically for the competition called “Rise”. I used a looping pedal and my ukulele as well as a keyboard to create almost a whole band live onstage.

Were you nervous? If so, how do you combat your nerves before a performance?

I was more stressed out than nervous, worried that because I had so many elements to my performance that something was bound to go wrong, but with the help from my fellow competitors and the backstage team, I was feeling a whole lot better about everything, and it went off without a hitch!

Tell us more about your performing background. i.e do you study music, perform regularly anywhere? etc.

I study music at ANU at the moment, I am a first year jazz vocalist and I work closely with a number of amazing Canberra musicians and with my singing teacher Rachael Thoms. I perform quite a bit all around Canberra, and if you want to see where I’m playing next, you can like my Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/sophieedwardsmusic/
you might also see me teaching singing to a whole bunch of amazing youngsters who also perform around Canberra too.

What would be your dream performance?

My dream performance would be one where I made the crowd happy. I honestly don’t mind how big or small crowds are, but I do really appreciate when people take the time to listen to my work.

Who are your role models and why?

I have a whole bunch! My family are all absolute legends that all take so much time out of their lives to ensure my performances go well. I have also had some amazing singing teachers throughout the years, particularly my teacher Norma who I have been singing with since I was 6 years old. My musical influences are pretty broad, obviously the looping skills of Ed Sheeran, but with sounds of people like Vera Blue, Gretta Ray, Ella Fitzgerald, and Missy Higgins.

What’s next for Sophie Edwards Music?

Its hard to say. I love doing a mix of performing and writing and teaching, and I am super happy with that. I do love sharing my music with the world, and I have just finished recording a brand new song which should be available real soon!

Congratulations to both Jett and Sophie, and to all of our other finalists as well. We look forward to seeing with your performing journey takes you! Head to our Facebook page to see an album of photos from the event.