Girls hope to hit the big time in Japan
TWO Leighton schoolgirls could be set for shock stardom abroad, after the manager of one of Japan's biggest pop bands revealed his interest in signing them up.
Talented Vandyke Upper School pupils Amie Rapp and Hayley Bonnick, both 17, were discovered by Kajagoogoo's Nick Beggs and Steve Askew, and recorded a three-track album sampler under the name 'Industrial Salt' for prospective record labels.
Manager Nick, best known for the 1983 chart topper 'Too Shy', used his contacts in the music industry to get the girls' tracks heard by top record executives at a high-profile music fayre in Cannes.
And the sixth formers – dubbed 'Kajagoogoo Juniors' by pals – were amazed at the huge response their unique brand of electro rock/pop drew from top European and Asian labels, including the manager of Japanese band 'Asian Kung Fu Society'.
Nick, who lives in Leighton and is the girls' producer, said: "They've had such a big response it's brilliant!
"The manager of the Asian Kung Fu Society, who are absolutely massive out there, is really interested in the girls.
"And there's been some serious interest from a label in London, so we're hoping to secure two deals – one Asian, one European."
Amie and Hayley – who both play guitar – are currently working on an album with Nick and Steve, which they hope to complete by the end of the year to hand to interested labels.
And with the finishing touches to the album being made by Robbie Bronnaman, who has remixed for the likes of Sugababes and Paul Oakenfold, the teenagers are excited about their chances of hitting the big-time.
Lead singer Amie, of Harrow Road, Leighton, who co-writes the tracks with Hayley, said: "We've only played cosy little venues like Barnfield College and the Vandyke School Theatre so far, so it will be great to get some big gigs.
"I've always wanted to be a pop star – I've been singing for as long as I can remember – so it's amazing that I could soon get the chance!"
Backing vocalist Hayley, of the Planets estate, who began guitar lessons with Steve when she was eight, quipped jubilantly: "We are set for world domination!
"We're much better than all that Pop Idol rubbish – Industrial Salt rock!"
The girls are set to record a guitar-based version of Kajagoogoo's 'Too Shy' for their album but, according to Nick, their similarity to the pop veterans ends there.
"They are much better than Kajagoogoo," he said.
"These girls have got the talent to go as far as they want to go.
"They have an original sound, and Amie has a crystalline, flutey quality to her voice that sounds even better live.
"Both have strong writing ideas, and they just love performing."
Nick added that Pam Shane – who wrote Christine Aguilera's debut number one hit 'Genie in a Bottle' – had given him two "smashing" tracks for the girls to record before their commercial launch early next year.
Exclusive by JONATHAN BOYLE
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