Sam Arkut named best songwriter at Open Mic UK competition
A TEENAGER from East Yorkshire has been named the best original songwriter in the region.
Singer and guitarist Sam Arkut was given the award at the Open Mic UK competition at the weekend.
Sam, 19, of Anlaby, won the award for the north of England and Scotland at the regional final of the contest.
He narrowly missed out on winning a place in the grand final, being held at the O2 Arena in London, but said recognition for his original material was an excellent achievement.
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The University of Hull student said: "I was very nervous backstage before they announced the winners.
"I'm really happy I got the award.
"I was really hoping to get to the O2, because that would have been a great achievement to play there.
"It would have been one of my best gigs ever.
"But I'm not disappointed, I really enjoyed being on stage."
Sam and fellow contestant Rhiannon Godfrey, 18, of North Ferriby, travelled to Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, on Saturday for the competition.
They had already made it through two previous stages in the competition – an audition in front of judges and a Yorkshire regional heat in Sheffield.
If they had earned a top-three position in Dewsbury, they would have been performing in the Open Mic UK final in London in January.
Sam sang the Ed Sheeran version of Burl Ives's The Wayfaring Stranger and his own song Sitting By The River – which he wrote at Hessle Foreshore.
Sam said: "Afterwards, the judges said I was a good singer and I should carry on writing my own original material, which I thought was really good of them to say.
"They didn't think I needed to work on anything – just to keep doing what I was doing."
Sam entered the Mail's Star Search contest earlier in the year.
He caught the attention of the judges by performing his own songs and using his guitar in a percussive way – slapping the sides of the instrument as well as strumming it.
He got through to the final at Hull City Hall and came fourth overall.