Custom House musician is one of the top buskers in the world

Busking finalist Sophie with her guitar

Busking finalist Sophie with her guitar - Credit: Archant

A young musician is celebrating after being voted one of the top buskers in the world.

Sophie Debattista, 20, of Murray Square, Custom House, was handpicked to enter a competition which promises to find the best street musicians from across the world.

The competition has been organised by Toyota and will see the final six winners fly out to New Zealand where they will perform at the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival in June.

Sophie, who moved to the UK from Malta two years ago, said: “It is really exciting.

“It’s a great competition to be a part of and I’m amazed I’ve reached this far. “

She was picked to take part after being noticed last summer when taking part in the Mayor of London’s Big Busk.

Sophie reached the finals.

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She said: “There were six of us in the finals at Westfield in Stratford and it was a big achievement getting to that stage.

“That is when I was noticed by the Feeling The Street campaign and I was pretty amazed when I was contacted.”

Two representatives from Feeling The Street visited Sophie and recorded her performing at Stratford Station.

The recording was then uploaded on its website alongside other entrants.

The campaign saw representatives visiting 13 different countries to track down the best street talent.

Sophie said it felt “incredible” to be picked.

She added: “To think it is a global competition and not just for talent from the UK or even Europe is a really great feeling and I was really intrigued when I first spoke with them because at that point I hadn’t heard much about the competition.

“Music is my passion and that is what I want to build my life and career through.”

This is the first Feeling The Street campaign to take place and the top 40 street musicians will be announced next month.

Sophie, who plays her music in Bank and Stratford train stations, said: “It is mindblowing to be part of a new campaign that celebrates street talent.

“It is a daunting yet exciting thing to do and I absolutely love it.

“It can be very challenging because you never really know how people will respond but I go to the Underground and sing while playing my guitar.

“I only started busking when I first moved to England and then to get to the finals of one competition and then to be picked as a top busker is really something else.”

Sophie said she hopes the competition will help her build a career in music.

The Feeling The Street Campaign will put together six of its best buskers to form the ultimate street musician band.

The winners will be announced in June.

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