A Glasgow University student has been awarded a £60,000 recording contract after being named 2009’s Orange Unsigned Act.
The 19 year old singer-song writer was announced winner on the Channel 4 television programme which documented the competition on Sunday 25th January having won a landslide public vote.
Reilly, who was described by Lauren Laverne, one of the show’s four judges, as having an “utterly unique voice”, fought off competition from 7,000 original applicants to win the award which searches for the best unsigned British music act.
The other three judges on the panel were Radio One D.J. Jo Whiley, Blur’s Alex James and Simon Gavin from Universal Music.
25 finalists were seen battling for the record contract with Universal Music on the Sunday television show over the past three months.
Tommy was not the only Glasgow act to reach the final: also in the competition were electro band Fangs, and eventual runners-up, Hip Parade.
Tommy described his shock at winning the contest and the impact it has had on his life.
He said: “I can’t believe that I have won – it’s mental! Being part of the competition has been awesome – the tour, all that I have learned, chatting to the other bands, everything!”
Speaking to Guardian, Tommy explained that his success comes after years of fitting his music career around his degree.
He said: “I was trying to get my electronics with music degree from Glasgow University and was also working in Tesco and so I would be gigging whenever I was free.”
While Tommy is planning to focus on his music in the short-term, he told Guardian that he was aware of the fact that his current success may be short-lived.
“I had been gigging for about a year and a half before the competition took off. As I have left university for the meantime and quite my job at Tesco, I have all day to work on songs and think about the album.
“I am really excited about that. I cannot wait to get into it properly. I also plan to palay as many shows as is physically possible. I just really want to use up every little bit of this opportunity whie it’s there. I may well be back at work next year so I’m going to have fun while it lasts!”
It seems that, for the moment, Tommy’s success is assured – his debut single, ‘Gimme a Call’ entered the UK singles chart at number 14 and his upcoming tour has already sold out on a number of dates.