Promising Hartlepool singer to be coached by rock star Ricky Wilson

Shannon Smith-Dowson on stage
Shannon Smith-Dowson on stage

A pop star is mentoring a talented young singer from Hartlepool after shining on the children’s version of The Voice.

Aged just 11, Shannon Smith-Dowson is working on a 40-song album after finishing second in the national competition with the Kaiser Chiefs’ Ricky Wilson guiding her along the way.

The Year 7 student at Dyke House Sports & Technology College has even had a photo shoot, ahead of finishing the album made up of 20 covers and 20 original tracks.

Shannon said: “After the whole show had finished, it was announced there was a 0.45% difference between myself and the winner via text votes.

“Ricky then said he wanted to help me with my singing because he thinks I will go far, if I stick in at school too.”

Shannon, a former pupil at Ward Jackson Primary, got her chance to perform on TV after impressing with the Red Dreams charity, where young people create through performing arts.

Ricky Wilson

Ricky Wilson

Her coach, Chris Johnson, travels with her and was by her side in London for the One Voice competition.

She had to qualify for the London final by performing at venues in Cambridge, Luton, Essex and Wiltshire, as well as the Royal Albert Hall.

When she sang DJ Sammy’s Heaven in the finals, four out of the five judges turned around and she picked Ricky Wilson to be her mentor.

Shannon, whose love for music stems from listening to the likes of Vera Lynn with her grandparents, said: “I felt Ricky could relate to my style of music. There was a segment where I had afternoon tea with Ricky on a double decker red bus around London.”

Dyke House music teacher Mrs Swarbrick said: “Shannon is an outstanding new talent, with the potential to be a household name. She is very mature, a lovely girl and focused, passionate about music.” For videos of Shannon performing with Red Dreams logging onto hartlepoolmail.co.uk.