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Talented youngster is one to watch at music academy

An up-and-coming Liverpool youngster has been named the next big thing to come out of the city’s music scene – and will now perform in front of top music moguls.

Sixteen year old Sophia Ben-Yousef has been selected by Virgin Trains as ‘One to Watch’ after a search to uncover some of the city’s undiscovered music talent.

As a result of scooping the title, Sophia will perform at the first ever Virgin Trains LIMF Academy on Sunday 22 September at the Town Hall, in front of a whole host of music industry insiders.

Sophia said: “I’ve performed at some of the LIMF event and it has been fantastic to be a part of it – the whole city has been buzzing!

“I am so proud to be part of such an amazing event.  I’m really excited to be performing on the 22nd September at the Virgin Trains Academy. It has a fantastic line up and great free workshops all day, I’m definitely going to try to go to some of them!”

Adrian Varma, Virgin Trains Partnerships Manager said today: “We are delighted to help support new up and coming talent in Liverpool, a city with such a strong heritage in music and a key destination for us as we see Liverpool’s continuing development as a centre culture.”

The academy will see a raft of music industry experts share their knowledge in a free event for 9-25 year olds who want to learn more about the industry, develop their skills and look at ways in which to kick-start their career.

Throughout the day there will be:

  •  Have a Go Workshops which are singing by Sense of Sound, rapping and songwriting by musician Curtis Watt, DJing by Juice FM’s Ian Longo, dance by the acclaimed MD Productions and drumming by youth worker Phil Windever.
  • Get to know Panels focusing on different strands of the music and entertainment scene which will be hosted by industry experts including Rich Castillo from Universal Records, BBC 1Xtra’s Laura Lukanz, Donatella Valentina from music TV channel Flava TV and music promoter Maurice Dennemont from Soul 2 Streets. There will also be local expertise on hand for people to quiz including Dave Pichilingi (Sound City), Paul Duhaney (Africa Oye), Peter Guy (Get Into This), Ellie Phillips (Liverpool Music Awards) and Marc Jones (Medication).
  • Deconstructed – a unique ‘in conversation’ opportunity with Grammy award winning music producer Steve Levine.

The academy will end on a high with performances from some of Liverpool’s home-grown talent including Mic Lowry, Tyler Mensah, Valentine Brothers, Taylor Fowlis and Dominic Dunn who won the chance to play as part of a Merseyrail competition.  Juice FM’s Ian Longo will also perform as will MD Productions.

The full line up of speakers and performers can be found at

This is a ticketed event and booking is essential – tickets are free, but are extremely limited.  They can be booked by visiting  Please note, under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

The entire day will be hosted by BBC Radio1 DJ Dev.

LIMF’s Music Curator, Yaw Owusu, said: “The Academy is all about helping people get their foot in the door of a notoriously difficult industry, and hopefully we can create the next generation of music impresarios!

“It’s great news that Sophia has been named as the One to Watch – she’s a brilliant singer, songwriter and pianist with a deep, soulful voice and it’s great for her to get this recognition at such young.”

“We’re really pleased that most of the tickets have been snapped up, but this is such an amazing opportunity for youngsters to get into the ribs of those who live and breathe the music industry, we want to make sure we spread the message as far and wide as possible and make it a sell-out event.

“The line-up for the day is fantastic and the experience that will be under the roof of the Town Hall will be second to none.”


Liverpool Waterfront