Two Leeds graduates are in the running for a prestigious music award – going head to head with well-known acts including Jay-Z’s protégé Rita Ora.
Piers Aggett and Kesi Dryden, who make up half of dance quartet Rudimental, stormed to the top of the UK charts in June with their first major release – summer anthem Feel the Love, featuring vocalist John Newman from Settle.
Now the pair, who graduated in 2008 from the BSc (Hons) Creative Music and Sound Technology course at Leeds Metropolitan University, have been shortlisted in the MOBO – Music of Black Origin – Awards.
Along with bandmates Amir Amor and Leon Locksmith, the duo – who grew up together in Hackney, London – are hoping to scoop the title of Best Newcomer.
Last year’s winner in that category was household name Jessie J, who went on to perform at the Olympics closing ceremony.
Piers said: “It is amazing that we’ve got this far.”
He added: “After graduating, I started doing stage and sound work at Hackney Empire and Kesi started working in a school as a learning mentor, also teaching music production. Since we left Leeds Met, we have always been making songs and going to recording studios to record ideas in our free time off work.
“We networked a lot over the years and built up some good contacts through collaborating with artists and remixing jobs.
“Also we were involved with an independent label called ‘black butter’ which really gave us a platform for our music and helped us a lot.
“We are currently working on the second single and album.”
As well as producing electronic music, both Piers and Kesi play the keyboard and Kesi also dabbles in percussion and writing lyrics.
Their former Leeds Met music tutor Alex Wyse lent the duo his decks and all of his records “knowing they would make good use of them”, after discovering their raw talent.
When their single went to number one, knocking summer smash We Were Young by Fun off the top spot, he said: “We all know how difficult it is to make a major breakthrough in the music industry, so it’s fantastic that they’ve not only succeeded, but done so in such a fashion.”
The 17th annual MOBO Awards take place at Liverpool’s Echo Arena on November 3. To vote. go to www.mobo.com/voting.