A YOUNG guitarist has been picked to tour alongside some of the biggest names in contemporary music.
Izzy Johnson, 19, from Hoylake, will form part of a 10-piece band for the O2 Think Big mini-tour, supporting recording artists including Rita Ora, Chipmunk, Tinchy Strider, The Noisettes and Mystery Jets.
Izzy and her fellow band members – all unsigned, aged 16 to 25 – were picked by O2 Think Big DJ Huw Stephens and Grammy Award-winning producer Simon Gogerly after auditioning via YouTube.
Izzy, a student at Liverpool Media Academy, said: “I used to be in a band and since we broke up I’ve been looking around for other things. I saw the advert for this and thought it would be a really good experience.
“It’s all been very exciting and I’ve been going down to London to rehearse.
“I like rock and metal but I’m working with singers, drummers and musicians who all have their different genres. It’s a fusion of different styles.”
Izzy met her new bandmates at a central London recording studio in October to rehearse ahead of the tour, which kicked off this week in Glasgow and is in Liverpool this Friday (November 2) at the 02 Academy.
Izzy and the other members of the Think Big band have worked with Simon Gogerly to write original music reflecting British musical culture and its social diversity.
As well as mixing the music for the Olympic ceremonies, Gogerly has worked with stars including U2 and Gwen Stefani.
The O2 Think Big tour is a celebration of the 2,500 youth projects Think Big has helped fund nationwide over the past two years.
Huw Stephens said: “Izzy stood out for me because she not only displayed great technical ability, she displayed the kind of edginess that guitarists should aspire to achieve.”
Bill Eyres, head of O2 Think Big, said: “Izzy stood out among all the guitar entries as her passion was obvious. We’re glad to have her on board as her playing offers a different dimension.
“The Think Big tour is a celebration of young people and what they can achieve.”
Izzy, a former pupil of Hilbre High School and Calday Grange Grammar’s sixth form, said: “Everything we are playing is original. We all just got in a room together, jammed and created some music.
“It’s been a really fun experience.”
Tickets for each gig are £5, with all funds raised going to O2 Think Big to fund further youth projects. Tickets for the Liverpool show are available from the box office or www.o2academyliverpool.co.uk