An X Factor contestant and a Pulborough singer have joined forces to release a Christmas duet and raise funds to help rehabilitate ex-soldiers.
Grace Monroe, 21, and X Factor’s Tom Mann, 19, are currently on tour to promote their new single, ‘Noël’, about a soldier lost on the battlefield whilst his love waits for his return at Christmas.
Previously a barmaid at the White Hart pub in Pulborough, Grace was ‘discovered’ by a Storrington music writer, Guy Barnes, during her shift.
“I met Guy, who is the writer and producer of the track, at my job which was pulling pints.
“He said ‘I’m a producer’ and I thought ‘oh yeah’, so I just sung into my iPhone and sent it over to him and we’ve been working together since then. “He likes to say he discovered me in the pub (laughs).”
A Southampton resident, Tom began singing at 12 years old and taught himself the guitar.
Recently known for his participation in this year’s X Factor, Tom made it to Loui’s team, but was knocked out at the last stage of bootcamp.
“We were told who our mentors would be early this year and there were about 32 in the boys’ category, then it got whittled down to about 13 boys, and then I got cut at the ‘musical chairs’ part.
“Grace was already on the single and they were looking for a male vocalist. The producers had the song for a few years, and then I sort of came along and got the role.”
Teaming up for the first time, the duo shot the music video on a Nutbourne farm in just one day.
“It’s an amazing location,” said Tom. “My part was in a little metal shed. It was actually really hard work. The worst bit was having to kneel down on the gravel for about three hours straight.”
Fifty per cent of proceeds made from the single will go to ‘Soldiering On Through Life Trust’, a charity that relieves the financial hardship of people who have served or are currently serving in the armed forces, or suffering from a mental of physical disability.
Grace said: “I have a grandfather who served in the SAS, so growing up I was always at military events, speaking to veterans and hearing their stories. It’s nice to give something back to them.”
Now with more than 70,000 views on YouTube, ‘Noel’ (released by AD Records based in Horsham) is rising through the charts and is now available to buy on iTunes.
To watch the video on YouTube visit: http://bit.ly/ICutzP. To learn more about the Trust visit: www.soldieringon.org