A 20-year-old kitchen porter from Peasmarsh is hoping to become the next singer-songwriter to sweep the music scene.
Tommy Ludford, a former Robertsbridge Community College student, secured four ‘yes’ votes from the X Factor judges on Sunday night where he performed his own song Kingpin.
He said: “It was amazing and definitely the most surreal experience in the world. I was really nervous beforehand but once I got on the stage I just got into the zone.”
Tommy’s plan was to impress Simon Cowell, who is not historically a fan of the guitar.
He said: “I was there all day waiting for my audition and seeing the amount of people with their guitars. A load of them came back looking upset after their auditions and in the back of my mind, I was like ‘oh God, this isn’t good, I’ve got to do something special’.
“Anybody who says they aren’t trying to impress Simon the most is a liar.”
During his audition, Cowell turned to his fellow judges to declare he ‘actually likes him’.
Tommy – who has also studied at the Rye Studio School – said the reaction from the Rye community has been special since his television appearance.
He added: “This whole town is like a massive family. People have been coming up to me saying they saw me on the X Factor. It’s not like they want to know me now, it’s that it’s one of their boys who is conquering the world.
“Online, it has been amazing. You get the occasional tweet or message from people saying I’m just like Ed Sheeran but I’m not like him and there is only a limited amount of originality out there.
“That sort of stuff gets to me but I just try to bite my tongue and ignore it all.”
Tommy started playing the guitar at the age of 15, about a year after his uncle Paul gave him one.
A self-confessed class clown, Tommy said he ‘floated’ through school before considering his music options.
He said: “I went to Rye Studio where all the other students were saying they play this instrument and sing this style. When it got to me, I said I play the guitar a bit. They asked if I sang and I said no. At the time, I was an awful singer.
“It’s so nice hearing kids now saying they want to be like Tommy. This is something big for me.”