A pub full of expectant punters was a musical baptism of fire for young singer Jonah Birkett but it was a challenge he passed with flying colours.
Eighteen year old Jonah, who has his own Youtube channel, stepped out from behind his computer to play his first ever gig at The Cross Inn, Paxton just before Christmas and he made a fine first impression.
Landladies Joanna and Vicki told ‘WOW’ you would never have guessed it was his first public performance and labelled him as a definite “one to watch”.
Jonah came away from the gig brimming with confidence but unfortunately for local audiences, performing close to home won’t be a regular occurrence for him.
Paxton’s loss is Coventry’s gain as the former Berwickshire High pupil is now studying at the city’s Nexus Trust, making the move down to the West Midlands in September.
“It was the only college I looked at after I heard so many great things about it,” Jonah told ‘WOW’.
“The music department at high school played a big part in me wanting to pursue a career in music.
“Loads of good musicians have come from the school and my teachers Mr Mabon and Mr Playfair were a big inspiration to me.”
Although at the age of just 19 Justin Bieber announced his apparent retirement from music at the end of last year, the Canadian singer’s rise to Internet fame prompted many other budding musicians, including Jonah to have a shot at getting their music heard.
Since his first video in 2011, Jonah has uploaded covers of songs by the likes of Rihanna and Ed Sheeran as well as a number of originals.
But he admits that clicking upload on the first video wasn’t without some hesitation.
“I was really nervous about putting a video online; I never told anyone but then after I put it on Facebook it got a few hundred views.
“The most views I’ve had for one of my videos is 2,800 which is pretty mind blowing to me.” Organising some more gigs is on Jonah’s to-do list for 2014, as well as writing more songs, something he says comes quite naturally to him.
“I can actually write songs really quickly which is a bonus and I find it easy to draw on my own experiences.
“It’s fun putting my own spin on covers but I don’t think I can really connect with the audience if I don’t mean what I’m singing.
“It’s a lot easier to engage with your listeners if your music is more personal.”
Two of Jonah’s favourite artists are Justin Timberlake and Christian rapper Lecrae and Jonah says his own sound was as diverse as his music taste.
“I can get inspired by everything from jazz to hip hop,” he continued.
“It’s all about a song I’m liking at that particular moment.
“When it comes to my music I’m acoustic when I’m on my own but can take on a completely different style if I’m performing with other people.
“I’m not 100 per cent decided but I think ultimately I’d like to be in a band rather than a solo artist.
“I love working with other people and sharing ideas.”
To find out more about Jonah and watch his videos search on Twitter at @JMBirkett or Jonah Birkett on Youtube.