Following a phenomenal talent search featuring a genre-blending selection of acts from right across the country, Hot Press and the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI) are thrilled to present our six national finalists for A New Local Hero. Out of the hugely talented 25 regional finalists, Brad Heidi (Galway Bay FM), Darian June (Red FM), Negro Impacto (LMFM), Temi (FM104), Paddy Keyes (Ocean FM) and Eva Campbell (SPIN 1038) have been chosen to perform at the live finale showcase event at The Academy in Dublin on April 25.
However, there are still huge opportunities for the 19 artists who didn’t make the final six: this year’s edition of A New Local Hero also includes a special new element – with all 25 regional finalists still in with a chance to be crowned the winner of the Wildcard Award, voted by the public. The Wildcard winner will be awarded a €2,500 bursary. You can cast your vote through the form at the bottom of this page.
As one of the central features of Irish Music Month, A New Local Hero is a major call to arms for Irish musicians and bands – with all 25 participating radio stations having reached out for submissions as part of the talent search.
Every participating radio station selected four finalists each – giving them the chance to play live on air, and paying them for their performance, thanks to the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland under its Sound & Vision scheme.
From there, the station’s four finalists were whittled down to one ‘Local Hero’ from each – a major honour in itself, which will serve as a huge milestone in the career of the selected 25 artists.
Irish Music Month Finalists
All of that has led us here to the national stage of the journey. From the 25 artists selected locally, an industry judging panel has chosen six acts to go forward to play at the special showcase event in Dublin.
“It has been really exciting, hearing the cream of the new artists who are coming through all over Ireland,” Hot Press editor Niall Stokes said. “I know that the judges were faced with some enormously difficult calls. But there was also a very strong unanimity in relation to the six that have now been shortlisted that these are very special acts with the potential to really flourish in the long run. There can be only one artist selected as A New Local Hero 2023, but it is very clear, from the music that we have been hearing, that we are on the right track here in Ireland at the moment, producing artists of real calibre across all genres. Long may it continue.”
The A New Local Hero campaign will ultimately see over €100,000 paid directly to Irish artists – and one worthy overall winner selected, who will get to record a single at the prestigious Camden Recording Studios in Dublin and release the single on the famed Irish independent record label Rubyworks.
As already noted, this year’s edition will also include a special new element – with all 25 regional finalists still in with a chance to be crowned the Wildcard winner, voted by the public. The Wildcard Award winner will receive a €2,500 bursary. You can cast your vote through the form at the bottom of this page.
All twenty-five A New Local Hero finalists will also be invited to take part in a special series of mentoring sessions and photoshoots on the day of the finale.
Irish Music Month is a partnership between Hot Press and the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland. It is supported by the newly established Coimisiún na Meán (which has incorporated the role of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland) under the Sound & Vision scheme and by MCD Productions, IMRO, Live Nation, RAAP, Ticketmaster, Rubyworks, and Camden Recording Studios.
The judges for the A New Local Hero shortlisting process were Cian Boylan (Camden Recording Studios), Ruth-Anne Cunningham (artist and songwriter), Keith Johnson (IMRO), Roisin O’Reilly (artist and songwriter/ RAAP), Lucy O’Toole (Hot Press) and Roger Quail (Rubyworks).
Meet this year’s six national finalists…
Brad Heidi (Galway Bay FM)
This Galway-based singer-songwriter initially built up a following on the busking circuit. Successful singles, and a lauded performance at Dublin’s New Year’s Eve festival, have since helped him garner a reputation as a serious star-on-the-rise.
Darian June (Red FM)
With her skills as both a producer and songwriter, the 23-year-old is a rising force in the pop world. She released her debut single ‘Prom Queen’ in 2022, followed by ‘Love Ain’t As Cool’.
Negro Impacto (LMFM)
Following the release of their brilliant self-titled EP, Hot Press tipped this Dundalk duo as ‘Hot For 2022’. They’ve since clocked up impressive live performances and an appearance on All City’s This Way Vol. 1 compilation.
After teaming up with fellow Dubliner Bailey333 on ‘Monsters In My Head’ last summer, the Irish-Nigerian artist has kept the magic flowing with a series of brilliant singles, including his latest, ‘Bonita’.
Paddy Keyes (Ocean FM)
Hailing from Sligo, Paddy began working as a musician locally before moving to Dublin to pursue his dream of establishing himself as a songwriter and performer. He released his debut single ‘Tomorrow’ – mixed and produced by Dan de Burca – last year.
Eva Campbell (SPIN 1038)
Previously tipped as one of our ‘Hot For 2022’ Irish acts, the Dublin-based singer-songwriter’s debut single, ‘Echo’ went straight to No.1 on the Irish iTunes Top 100 and Pop charts. More recently, she’s been collaborating on tracks with James Mulcahy.
The judges for A New Local Hero were Cian Boylan (Camden Recording Studios), Ruth-Anne Cunningham (artist and songwriter), Keith Johnson (IMRO), Roisin O’Reilly (artist and songwriter/ RAAP), Lucy O’Toole (Hot Press) and Roger Quail (Rubyworks).
The full list of radio stations participating in Irish Music Month is as follows:
98FM, Clare FM, Classic Hits, Cork’s 96FM, Cork’s RedFM, East Coast Radio, FM104, Galway Bay FM, Highland Radio, iRadio, KCLR, KFM, Live95, LMFM, Midlands 103, Midwest Radio, Ocean FM, Radio Kerry, Radio Nova, Shannonside/Northern Sound, South East Radio, SPIN1038, SPIN South West, Tipp FM, WLR FM