2016 was a year to remember for Hartlepool singer Rick Snowdon after winning a legion of new fans thanks to his appearance on BBC One’s The Voice.
And next year is shaping up to be even better for the talented singer-songwriter as he heads for the bright lights of London to further his career.
Rick has won a starring role in a new musical at the prestigious London Palladium which is expected to be given a full run after rave reviews.
Just 12 months ago, the 30-year-old was gigging in clubs around the North East after quitting his job at The Range to follow his dream career in music.
He rocketed to national stardom after his first appearance on The Voice in February with his story of slimming down from 26-stone when he locked himself away his house for years before being rescued by his love of music.
He made it to the final eight of mentor Paloma Faith’s team, but was not one of the three chosen to advance to the live shows.
But the opportunities have flowed thick and fast thanks to the TV exposure.
Rick, 30, said: “It has been crazy. A whole heap of opportunities have come my way, most of which I have turned down because I wasn’t interested in anything that didn’t involve music.
“I have had so many TV show offers like Come Dine With Me and various dating shows got in touch asking if I wanted to take part.”
But one opportunity Rick grabbed with both hands was to audition for new West End musical Eugenius! at the famous London Palladium.
It stars Warwick Davis, best known for the Star Wars and Harry Potter movies, former boyband singer Ben Adams, and Amy Lennox of musicals Kinky Boots and Legally Blonde.
Describing the madcap show, Rick explained: “It is a comedy about evil aliens who come to destroy the earth but it is also a love story.
“It has the humour of something like The Big Bang Theory but in a musical. The streets were absolutely packed on the opening night and it was a massive success.
“I had never been on a stage that big and didn’t know how I would react to it but it was amazing.
“The high point was seeing my name on the billboard out the front with Warwick Davis and Ben Adams.
“I still haven’t taken it in.”
In the show, Rick plays an 80s rock singer and performs a solo number.
With the show expected to be given a full run next year, and to take advantage of the opportunities coming his way, Rick will make the move from Hartlepool to the capital.
“It has got to the point where I am too out of touch to be up north,” he said. “I’m down there all the time for auditions and meetings.
“I’m excited about it.
“The amount of opportunities that have come my way just from getting on TV and getting such a great reception has been great.
“2016 for me has been the icing on the cake. I finally got a chance to do what I love to do.”