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Published on May 28th, 2017 | by Sonic Bandwagon


Jess Kemp: Reaching For Stars

Image: Graham Binns



A definite favourite of mine’ 

Natalie Eve-Williams (BBC Introducing in Manchester)

‘Just heard VondelPark – Beautiful, Keep on keeping on.’
– Clint Boon (Real XS)

‘It was a no brainer that Jess won.’
– Tim Thomas (Blueprint Studios)

‘The catchy nature of her songwriting would surely capture the hearts and minds of a nation. Her voice is quite unique, switching between a bluesy and soulful snarl, to something more gracious and velvety.’
– Sonic Bandwagon (Pure FM)

Following on from the sell-out single launch for “VondelPark” at Sacred Trinity Church, JESS KEMP and her band have been crowned the winners of the Manchester Student Band Competition 2017 – bagging rare unsigned slots at Kendal Calling and Bluedot Festival this summer!

Jess and the band smashed through the semi-finals held at Band On The Wall, Manchester back in April wowing the judging panel which included Clint Boon (Real XS), Jo Good (Radio X) and Tim Thomas (Blueprint Studios). The final was held across two stages in Manchester Arndale as frantic Thursday night shoppers reveled in the unsigned talent.

The 22 year old singer/songwriter is currently studying Music Business at BIMM Manchester in order to fuel the acceleration of her career. After 6 years on the Manchester circuit Jess is now beginning to appear on larger scale gigs with her band.
This is a much deserved first place on the podium for Jess and the band as 2016 saw them narrowly miss out on winning a trip to play in Canada through Indie Week Europe. Jess has also been crowned runner up in two Key 103 competitions in which winning would have seen her opening up at Manchester Arena and supporting Paolo Nutini at Castlefield Bowl.

Speaking about the win, Jess says: 

“It’s a massive shock to us, but it’s beyond exciting. We can’t thank the judges and the organisers enough. The other bands we were up against were massively hard competition and it was an honour to play alongside them. I can’t begin to explain how excited we are to play on those stages and record at Blueprint”

“Over the years, I’ve become used to hearing my name be called out as 3rd place or runner up, so this time, I wasn’t prepared when we were announced as the winner! I was lost for words. I think it’s our time now though, we’ve got a couple of months to get ourselves together and get on those stages. We’re hoping to impress the crowd with what we do best… See you in the fields!”
For Jess and the band, this summer is set to be a busy one as they are now confirmed for:
Dot 2 Dot Festival (Alongside The Slow Readers Club, Cassia and Stillia) May 2017
Irlam Live (Alongside The Wailers, Jason Donovan & Alexander O’Neill) in June 2017

Bluedot Festival (alongside Alt-J, Orbital and The Pixies) in July 2017
Blackthorn Music Festival (alongside Reef & Space) in July 2017

Kendal Calling (alongside Stereophonics, Manic Street Preachers and Franz Ferdinand) in July 2017


“Vondelpark” by Jess Kemp is out now – listen here:
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‘Vondelpark’ is available to stream / buy at the following outlets:

iTunes //

Spotify //

Amazon //

Google Play //


Official Music Video “Stars”:

For more information or requests please contact:


At 22 years old with 6 years on the Manchester circuit, Jess Kemp released her debut single ‘Stars’ in March 2015. The demand for more brought the launch of her debut EP “Camden” which brings a much bolder and more exciting sound to tracks already featured by BBC Introducing & BBC Radio 2. Following the release of the EP, Jess went on to headline Manchester Academy 3, Factory Manchester and The Live Room.

The success of the above release led to the demand of a 4 date European tour which took place in August 2016. Since then, Jess placed 3rd for Best Unsigned Female in the Best Of British Unsigned Music Awards. In the same week, Jess and her band reached the final of Indie Week Europe and again placed 3rd from a selection of 70+ bands. Jess Kemp released ‘Vondelpark’ in 2017, launching the track with a sell out show at Salford’s Trinity Church.

About the Author

Andy Barnes, Nigel Cartner & Mike Ainscoe collectively post under the Sonic Bandwagon profile. Our individual pieces of written reviews can be found within SB Press

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