Remember the band name ‘Jacob and Co.’ because they are about to be very big. Despite tough opposition, the group has won the Jack Petchey Foundation’s nationwide 15th Anniversary Anthem Competition – which also coincides with Jack Petchey CBE’s 90th birthday. ‘The process itself demonstrated the trials we had to face to get to victory. Although there was uncertainty, we believed and we did indeed succeed.’
‘Jacob and Co.’ is led by Jedidiah Rimell, who produces under the name of Jacob Grey. Jedidiah said: ‘Winning the Jack Petchey Anthem Challenge means a great deal to me. I am able to see success in what I am passionate about and that people around me are enjoying my music’. In addition to pursuing his interest in song writing and production, Jedidiah hopes his degree from SAE Institute London will lead to being a professional audio engineer.
His bandmate Andrew Kaluyge recently left Valentines High School, Ilford and started his first year studying ‘International Relations and Russian’ at the University of Birmingham. He would like a teaching or interpreting career but knows that life can often hold the unexpected, like the competition itself: ‘It just started off with us messing about with a few lyrics and tracks and then led to us being coached by professionals on how to take our creation further. I would have never thought I'd be involved in something like this a few months ago.’
The nationwide competition was open to 11-25 year olds who had to fight through several stages to win. The initial applicants were shortlisted to just 8 entries. These teams attended a bootcamp with award-winning composer Thomas Hewitt-Jones, vocal coach Charles Macdougall and lyricist Jennifer Lee. The bootcamp offered a rare opportunity to hear bespoke advice on how the applicants could improve their tracks before they re-recorded them. After the re-recording, four applicants were eliminated. The remaining songs were put to a nerve-wracking online public vote, which hundreds of young people took part in, that accounted for 50% of the final result. The other half was decided by a panel of industry professionals - including the Head Producer of Soho Sonic.
The results were tallied up and it was announced that ‘Jacob and Co.’ won. Their competitors Shannon Herbert, Nancy James and twins Laurel and Scarlett Jumeau did an incredible job but ‘Jacob and Co.’ really stood out to the judges. One said ‘Jacob and Co. are a really talented bunch of guys. The song encapsulated everything we were looking for in an anthem - it was modern, upbeat and fun’.
The youngest member of the winning group, Jordan Olukanmi, is a sixth form student at St. Edward’s Church of England School in Romford. He says he ‘wanted to help make a song to inspire other people, both old and young, to believe that they can succeed in all that they do.’ Jordan aspires to go into teaching or youth work, inspiring young people the same way his parents inspired him.
The boys met through their church and believe their faith is a huge motivation for their work, ambitions and friendship. Jedidiah said ‘working with Andrew and Jordan is perfect, they are great singers and we are liked-minded, sharing the same goals. I can really trust them and I feel comfortable with them - that’s the way it should be.’
‘Jacob and Co.’ will have their song professionally recorded and produced at a leading London studio. The group will perform their song at the infamous Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in front of more than 2,200 people to celebrate the ‘Festival of Youth’ on 26th March. The event will showcase around 400 of the most inspirational young people from the London and Essex areas.
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