Singer believes 'MOBO Awards giving Leeds recognition it deserves' as city gears up for showcase

Bianca Gerald.
Bianca Gerald.
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A Leeds singer-songwriter believes the visit of the MOBO Awards to her home city will prove a huge boost to aspiring musicians all over the region.

Bianca Gerald, who grew up in Beeston, will attend tonight's showcase at the First Direct Arena as a guest and feels that in hosting the 20th annual MOBOs Leeds is finally getting the credit it deserves.

The do-it-yourself artist released her debut three-song record 'The Butterfly EP' last year, which was self-penned and partially self-recorded.

She has since been touring the UK and has collaborated with Deuce & Charger on the track 'Stop the Sky from Falling', which has been played on BBC Radio 1Xtra.

"It's so important that Leeds is finally getting the recognition it deserves as a great music hub and as a musical city - we have not only got the talent but we have also got the arena which is a great venue," she said.

It is thought that the MOBOs could be worth around £1.35million to the city's economy as around 10,000 people descend on the city tonight.

The First Direct Arena in Leeds. Picture by Giles Rocholl Photography Ltd.

The First Direct Arena in Leeds. Picture by Giles Rocholl Photography Ltd.

The performer believes that seeing Leeds up in lights, with global talents like Rita Ora and CeeLo Green taking the stage, the event will both boost the city's reputation and give local acts the motivation to do more in music.

Bianca, who is writing her debut album, said: "I never expected the MOBOs to come to Leeds but the awards coming to my home city is a step closer to being nominated and performing on that stage.

"My goal is to take my music as far as it can possibly go while staying true to myself as a musical artist and doing what I love but tonight I'm going to be bursting looking at the artists on stage thinking I can do that but patience is a virtue."

The MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Organisation was founded in 1996 by Kanya King OBE to recognise the outstanding achievements of artists who perform music in genres ranging from gospel, jazz, RnB, soul and reggae to hip hop.

"Kanya King is such a prominent figure when it comes to DIY musicians like myself and to see her coming to Leeds - she must be interested about what we have to offer," Bianca added.

"Even her presence here is going to be amazing and the whole thing will raise the music scene, and the 'urban' scene here will definitely get a lift."

Tickets to the awards show are sold out but the event will be broadcast on ITV2 from 8pm.