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Glastonbury 2015: Why Emerging Talent Competition Winner Declan McKenzie Will Take The Festival By Storm

13/04/2015 15:01 BST | Updated 13/06/2015 10:59 BST

The Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition has brought to national attention bands of the calibre of Scouting for Girls and The Subways but it seems that this year they have unearthed an act that has the opportunity to ride the waves of mainstream success on the way to stardom.

Declan McKenzie may have looked every bit the awkward 16-year-old as he stood on the fringes of the room as the live finals progressed at the weekend but when he took to the stage, he came alive like a butterfly taking flight after being cocooned for so long.

With a guitar, a synth and an electronic box of tricks at his disposal, McKenna stood alone under the spotlight with a bandana tied around his head like he would wear his school tie on his last day in secondary education.

When he launched in to 'Brazil' with a voice that resembles Jake Bugg and the self-made multi-layered band sound that is popular with Ed Sheeran, you could tell that here was someone that had the song and live performance to captivate and require repeat playing. The judges that included Michael and Emily Eavis probably felt that if this competition is going to reward emerging talent, then you may as well capture it at the start and give it the opportunity to flourish in a world where manufactured pop has too much sway.

Not only is a main stage slot beckoning for Declan McKenzie but there is a £5,000 Talent Development prize from the PRS Foundation to ensure that his songwriting and performance can continue on its steep trajectory.

This is a matter that is pleasing McKenzie the most. "The PRS money is going to really help me achieve the live set up I want," he enthused, "along with allowing me to prepare easier for the summer and all the cool things that seem to be coming with it."

To have a place on the bill and a high profile slot on the main stage is an icing on the cake. "Anyone involved in any kind of art wants to be able to present what they do at Glastonbury." McKenzie confirmed. "So it's a really great opportunity, for which I am very excited."

So the next few months are going to be a rollercoaster ride to the festival itself which will bring an increase in media attention. Will this be something that the 16-year-old will take in his stride?

"It's odd but I guess it's cool to have that few more people listening to my music and coming to see me play, so it's all I could ask for really." That is the crux of any musician's ambition, that people listen to the music that they've poured their souls into. The good news for Declan Mckenzie is that if all that follows is as good as 'Brazil' then he has the world at his feet.

As it turned out, all eight finalists were winners with the standard of such a high quality, there will be space in the festival line-up for them all and they will all bring something special to Glastonbury.

Runners-up on the night were Ghanaian K.O.G. and his Zongo Brigade that will bring a colourful African vibe to the festival with their joyful beats ensuring that there won't be anyone not dancing during their set. Newcastle's Shields will arrive with guitars and keyboards blazing and in 'Mezzanine', a song that will be a festival earworm for sure.

With so much great new music to embrace, the likes of Princess Slayer are ready made party material with a charismatic singer in Casey Lim and killer electronic tunes from the hands of Vince Welch that will bring a guaranteed feelgood factor.

The difficulty of picking a winner on the night must have been all the more harder for having so many genres represented. Choosing between the delicate acoustic dramas of Lucy Kitchen and the personality of MoD Music that struggled to contained as his jazz-infused rap filled the room, must have been a headache but we all love a happy ending and catching all these at Glastonbury will improve your experience no end.

Declan McKenzie is a name that will be up in lights before he reaches the end of his teenage years but there could well be more than just his talent emerging from this competition that is proving to be one of the most important in UK music.