Beith brickie's big break

It's not often that a bricklayer from Beith gets to play at the 02 Arena.

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But that's what Adam Smith is about to do as he takes to the stage on July 23.

Adam has made it to the finals of Live and Unsigned, which is part of Livefest, London's largest indoor festival.

"I wasn't expecting to make it through at all," explains the 23-year-old, who is talking quickly while on his lunchbreak – at 10am – after an early start.

He might soon have to swap the early starts for late nights if he scoops the top prize in the competition – a £50,000 recording deal and a tour around the world.

It was his girlfriend Robin who entered him into the national competition via a text message.

"We talked about it a bit, and then she came back and just said she'd entered me into it."

Before he knew it, Adam had impressed the judges at the Glasgow auditions at the Royal Concert Hall, and was on his way to the regional finals in Newcastle.

Live and Unsigned is the largest national music competition for original unsigned acts and bands.

More than 10,000 acts from all over the UK enter every year, so it's a huge achievement to even get to the final.

It's an even more exceptional feat when you consider that until two years ago, Adam had never even picked up a guitar.

Inspired by Pink Floyd, Dire Straits and T-Rex, he says his music is about general life.

He's now written more than 20 songs and describes himself as a "protest folk singer", penning gritty lines like: "This damn life we're living, it seems so hard, it's full of moneyhoarders and backstabbers..."

Orignally from Easterhouse, Adam has been a bricklayer for the last six years since he left school, and yet he talks as though he had a full life's worth of experience.

Down-to-earth and laid back, yet quietly ambitious, Adam said he just decided about three years ago that it was time to do something else.

"I probably bought my guitar because I realised I was hanging about with the wrong crowd and wanted to do something else with my life."

Everyone is behind Adam. His mum, who he lives with in Beith, is really proud.

And his brother paid for her to travel to get down and see him in London for her birthday.

"Everybody is quite chuffed – my colleagues and bosses gave me extra money for going down to Newcastle and they all wished me the best of luck.

"They've not heard me play before and I get a good bit of slagging. "

Adam went to Newcastle with no expectations, but impressed the judges with his talent.

"They keep telling you to play your best song all the time, but I played my eighth favourite song at first, so I wasn't playing the same song the whole time.

"The last comments I got from the judges were that I was real raw talent, I had bags of potential, so I was overwhelmed with that."

A true family lad, Adam took nearly 50 family and friends to Newcastle and has managed to get 20 tickets to take people down to London for support.

Adam is motivated by a solid wish to really make a difference.

"Hopefully if I do win, I'll get a chance to do good charity work. I don't think people do enough charity work nowadays.

"It seems like people get paid an awful lot of money nowadays without helping others."

Adam is up against stiff competition in London including Glasgow band Hasty Jailbreak and Paisley's Loud and Proud.

"They are absolutely amazing – I know I am up against it. With any luck I might do well. I've not really played stadiums and I've not really played to a great deal of people. "

There's a lot at stake – a £50,000 recording contract, a world tour and a chance to make a new life for himself.

But Adam is unfazed: "I've been really lucky. I'm only a wee bit nervous."

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