Performing Arts grad gets through to final of BBC TV song contest

Singer Keris Lea says her time at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) honed her skills to help her reach the final of a national TV competition.

She is hoping to hit all the right notes when she appears in the final of the new prime time BBC1 show All Together Now with her group The Sundaes.

Sundaes group shot WEB

The Sundaes are in the final of BBC TV show 'All Together Now'

They secured a place in Saturday’s (March 3) final after impressing the biggest judging panel in TV history of 100 industry professionals.

Keris says the TV appearance is ‘the biggest thing’ that has happened to her, throwing her into the limelight after performing across the world for more than 15 years.

However, she says she wouldn’t be where she is today without the ‘all round practical experience’ she gained while studying for an HND in Performing Arts at DMU. She initially wanted to be a comedian or an actress, as ‘singing was just something else she did.’ But DMU ‘opened her eyes’ to all the possibilities and she decided to pursue a singing career.

Keris said: “The course was great, it was a perfect fit for me as it gave me such a broad overview of the whole performing arts industry.

“It taught me about all aspects of performing arts and theatre from the technical and backstage to being in the spotlight.

“It covered so much and gave me a knowledge of everything. This helped me to decide what I would be best suited to and encouraged me to re-focus.”

Sundaes Keris Lea.WEB

DMU graduate Keris Lea on stage

The Sundaes appeared in the first episode of the new Saturday night series and were one of two winning acts to make it to the final. The aim is to get as many of the 100 judges standing up and joining in.

They won votes from 88 judges when they sang ‘Enough is Enough’ by Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand. They then topped that in the sing-off with 92 judges liking their rendition of ‘Shout’ by Lulu.

Spice Girl Geri Horner, who heads the judging panel, said she loved them; calling them the ‘Spice Girls’ happy cousins.’

Keris said they were attracted to the show as it judges singers on their talents rather than looking for ‘a background sob story.’ She says their unique act combines vocals with choreography and comedy timing.

She said: “We had no idea if they’d like us, it was a gamble.

“We’re very much about upbeat, happy songs and having a good time while performing.

“We just wanted to show people what we can do and be recognised for who we are, so we’re thrilled we’ve made it to the final.”

Sundaes Keris Lea WEB

Keris Lea graduated from DMU in 1998

Keris added: “Everything’s gone crazy since we appeared on TV. We’re even getting fan mail now and our enquiries have increased. We’ve got a very busy diary ahead.”

Keris was attracted to the ‘showbiz life’ as when she was growing up her father was the General Manager of the New Theatre in Cardiff.

After graduating in 1998, she worked at the Thorndike Theatre with Bill Kenwright and helped to put on big-name shows, learning the ropes with a number of roles, including backstage, wardrobe and box office.

This led to her to touring the UK extensively with a number of shows, musicals and pantomimes, such as The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Aladdin and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. She then worked as a band singer on cruise ships, as well as shows in cabaret theatres, pubs and clubs across the country and overseas.

Then Keris (Chocolate Sundae) founded The Sundaes alongside Amy Goater (Strawberry Sundae) and Andrea Martin (Vanilla Sundae) about eight years ago. They are currently touring the UK.

The group has also worked at Haven Holidays, as well as working seasons overseas in Mallorca, Ibiza and Oman and on cruise ships. They have also performed at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, various Pride festivals and at the Brighton Spiegeltent.

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Keris, who lives in Brighton, said they were enjoying the ‘gig-to-gig lifestyle.’

She said: “We are plus-size women and we were bored of being put on the ‘no’ pile simply for not fitting the look.

“We aren’t a joke act; we want people to accept us for who we are. We’re all about girl power and empowerment.”

Watch The Sundaes on the final of All Together Now on BBC1 on Saturday (March 3) at 7.15pm.

 

Posted on Tuesday 27th February 2018

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