Waterford band faces wildcard vote in final stage of A New Local Hero

Following a country-wide talent search, Hot Press magazine and the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland have named their six national finalists in their search for a A New Local Hero.

Out of an initial 25 regional finalists, the six chosen are Brad Heidi (Galway Bay FM), Darian June (Red FM), Negro Impacto (LMFM), Temi (Fm104), Paddy Keyes (Ocean FM) and Eva Campbell (SPIN 1038).

Waterford's own Backroad Smokers Club were among the 25 finalists and while they haven't made it to the final six national finalists, a wildcard vote remains.

The wildcard vote would award the winning act a €2,500 bursary. Voting can be made on


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.

Backroad Smokers Club were the winners of the public vote for WLR's Waterford Local Hero 2023 as part of the Irish Music Month campaign.

Hot Press editor Niall Stokes says he has enjoyed the journey to this stage:


“It has been really exciting, hearing the cream of the new artists who are coming through all over Ireland. 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."

Local Hero Campaign

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 Wild Card winner, voted by the public. The Wild Card winner will be awarded a €2,500 bursary.

Backroad Smokers Club, together with the other regional 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 Mean, which has incorporated the role of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland under the Sound & Vision scheme, and by

MCD Productions, IMRO, RAAP, Rubyworks and Camden Recording Studios.


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