A villager is looking to follow in the footsteps of Bucks Fizz and ABBA as he bids for the chance to represent the nation in Eurovision.
Liam Tamne, from Barns Green, will be battling it out against five others to be the UK’s 2018 entry in the continent’s favourite singing competition.
The award-winning West End star has appeared in several musicals including Wicked, Les Miserables and the Phantom of the Opera as well as being a judges’ favourite on The Voice, but said this was one of his most exciting challenges yet.
He said: “It’s just amazing, it’s a great, great feeling. I have always loved Eurovision. I love its message, I love what it stands for.
“I know there’s a lot of people that look at Eurovision and don’t take it seriously but for me its message is actually we are all united.
“It’s a celebration of life, it’s a celebration of music. What a great thing to be involved in.”
Liam was born in Coventry but moved to Barns Green with his husband Michael a few years ago to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
He attended Liane Arts School in Epsom and after finishing landed the leading role in world-famous production Wicked.
The 32-year-old went on to appear in other West End musicals before getting his first taste of performing on television on the The Voice in 2013.
However, it was while he was playing the role of Jack in Jack and the Beanstalk - alongside pub landlord Al Murray - at the Wimbledon Pantomime last year that he got the call from the BBC.
“I got a phone call from my agent and he said I have had a really strange request,” he said. “The BBC has called and they want you to be one of the six acts.”
He accepted after hearing the song Astronaut which he will be performing live next week.
“I think what’s so cool about the song is it’s an uplifting song,” he said. “It’s timeless. It’s about being that rock, that support mechanism.
“I can be your rock, I can be your astronaut, I can be the one that takes you away and be your support.”
Liam will be singing his heart out next Wednesday (February 7) at the Brighton Dome, the same place ABBA won the competition with the infamous hit Waterloo in 1974.
He will be up against five others all competing to represent the United Kingdom in Lisbon on May 12.
On the night a judging panel made up of experts will give their verdict and vote on the best act. However, the public are also asked to vote and their response will make up 50 per cent of the final decision.
He said: “It feels unbelievable, it’s such a privilege.
“There’s this huge stigma around musical arts performers that they are only good at doing one thing. That’s not true we are so diverse.
“It’s just a great thing to be a part of. I’m nervous but I am confident in my ability.”
Since announcing he would be on the competition Liam has been inundated with support from the local community. He said lots of people had been wishing him luck particularly whilst he was at the gym or out walking his British Bulldog Daphne.
He added: “I just love Barns Green. I love Horsham, it’s a beautiful place.
“It’s an amazing place to live knowing the support is there and that they are proud with what you are doing.
“I am not just doing it for myself, I am doing it for everybody else.”
Tune in to BBC Two at 7.30pm on Wednesday February 7 to support Liam.
Liam is not the only candidate from Sussex hoping to represent the UK. Read more about the Brighton hopeful here.