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Beau Halford has come a long way since graduating from ACM. A graduate of the performance school, Beau passed the Bass Diploma in 2009 and went on to complete a Higher Diploma in 2010.

In the years since he has delved into songwriting, becoming an exciting vocalist. Beau’s commitment to his passion can be demonstrated by his current progression through to the final stage of Open Mic UK, a national competition which attracts over 10,000 acts every year. Billed as ‘the biggest search for unsigned acts in the UK,’ Open Mic UK is a chance for the UK’s singers, singer-songwriters, rappers, and vocalists to prove their worth on a national scale, performing to A&R Scouts from the likes of Universal, Sony, Syco and Warner Music. By getting as far as he has, Beau demonstrates that he has both the abilities and the drive to stand out from the crowd. We caught up with Beau to congratulate him on his success, as well as to find out more.

What have you been up to since graduating from ACM?
I graduated in 2010 and since then I’ve been working as a support worker for people with disabilities, whilst gigging on the side. I used to gig 3-4 times a week in a heavy metal band called Via The Void, but we split in 2012. I was pretty stumped with what to do musically at the time, so I decided to try my hand at singing and writing songs. So far its been going pretty well, I’ve played a few charity gigs, one wedding, and a fair few shows in London. Then early 2014 I came across the Open Mic UK competition.

Of which we hear you made the Grand Final – Congratulations! Tell us a bit more about how that came about and your journey to the final!?
It was mid February last year and I was searching for music venues on Google, I then stumbled across the Open Mic UK page and decided to sign up. The auditions weren’t until August so I sort of forgot about it. Six months later I got an email reminder and caught a train to Brighton for my audition. After making it through the first stage there was then a Regional Final in Brighton, and then the Area Final in Southampton. I managed to score in the judges top 3 in both rounds which instantly put me through, as there was one other act that gets through on a live audience vote too.

Birmingham’s NEC is a huge venue, you must be over the moon! How are you preparing for the occasion?
Yeah it’s absolutely massive, I can’t wait to play there. It’s great experience to play in a venue like that in front of some of the industries top professionals. The first time the competition ran in 2008 the singer-songwriter Birdy won, and from winning she got signed to Warner Music so it really is an incredible opportunity for me. I’m just trying to keep calm about it, and not turn to self medicating for the pressure!

How did your time at ACM prepare you for the journey you’ve been on so far?
I studied Bass at ACM so it really helped me get a good understanding of an instrument I wasn’t familiar with and the relevant techniques for playing it, which I was then able to transpose to the way I play guitar and helped me further define the way I play music. It has definitely helped me to create a more individual way of playing, and to have a deeper knowledge of music theory and understanding of different styles and sounds and the way they can be combined to create the music I love playing.

What are your aspirations for the rest of 2015 and the future?
Well I’m really hoping I can make some good contacts by being in the final of Open Mic UK that can push me up to the next level of performing and getting my music out there. I want to have an impact with my music, and to not just be another guy strumming out cheesy pop songs. But if nothing does come of this opportunity then I will do whatever needs to be done to create more opportunities so that I can do the thing I love most in the world and share it with people. But I guess only time will tell. I’d also love to be in a band again – I really miss making music with other people so hopefully I’ll meet some groovy musicians this year to.

ACM would like to thank Beau for taking the time to chat about his forthcoming projects. For more information, follow him on Facebook and SoundCloud. Please do take the time to vote for Beau at this week’s Open Mic UK Grand Final!