Salford graduate competes against Adele and Ed Sheeran for BBC Radio 1 Christmas Number 1

Categories: School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

The 2021 Official Christmas Number 1 contenders are here, and this includes Salford’s very own Finnlay Kulavuz and his single ‘Laura’s Gone’.

In a gruelling competition to beat stars like Adele and Ed Sheeran for the Christmas Number 1 spot, Broadcast Journalism graduate, Finn, had his hat thrown into the ring after his song grew popular after airing on comedy podcast, ‘Have A Word’.

BBC Radio 1’s Official Chart with Scott Mills is a highly anticipated radio show where festive classics and newly released singles are considered for the top spot of Christmas Number 1. Past winners include Ed Sheeran, Girls Aloud and many more big names. And this time, 23-year-old Finn K. is in the race.

Finn said: “The single comes from a running joke on the podcast, which is about Dan’s wife leaving him, one of the hosts. She hasn't, but the joke is that whenever people ask for dating advice, we come up with scenarios and it always starts with, ‘so Laura’s gone’.”

After playing around with melodies on his guitar, Finn used the lyrics ‘Laura’s gone’ as a placeholder and sent it to his colleagues, who ended up loving it and asked if he would play it live.

Finn continued: “We’ve had a couple of live shows this year and it's gone down really well with the fans. So, around September, we jokingly went, ‘right, let's push for Christmas Number 1’, and we got into the studio and it spiralled from there”.

‘Have A Word’ is a podcast hosted by comedians Adam Rowe and Dan Nightingale, based in Liverpool, where they discuss their lives and interview special guests such as other comedians, musicians and rappers. Notable guests include Jimmy Carr and Russell Kane.

Following his graduation at the University of Salford, Finn landed a job with the ‘Have A Word’ team as Assistant Producer.

He said: “I put in all the skills I learned at university. I was heavily involved with Shock Radio and I was the deputy station manager there for a while.

“Ideally, I'd like to be working in music, but I'm definitely not taking this job for granted. I love coming to work and not many people get to say that.”

After recording the song at The Motor Museum recording studio in Liverpool, famous for hosting artists such as Oasis and the Arctic Monkeys, it grew in popularity and Adam, one of the podcast hosts, joked about being Christmas Number 1 on BBC Radio 1. Then they were recognised by the BBC and the momentum kept on going.

Finn said: “The fans have been really good at pre-ordering it, and not just the once. They've been pre-ordering it on iTunes, on Amazon, and it's been good because the sales count a lot more than streaming these days.”

All the money made from the sales of ‘Laura’s Gone’ will be shared equally between two charities: Zoë’s Place, a charity providing palliative, respite and end of life care to babies and infants, and the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT), the only UK charity dedicated to helping families and individuals affected by a rare form of eye cancer.

Finn said: “Carl and Adam from the podcast have done a lot of fundraising for Zoë’s Place in the past and wanted to do it for that as it’s close to their heart. And we chose CHECT because we got an email from one of our listeners whose child has been affected and interacted with the charity, and they said it would mean the world if we could give it a shout-out. So, between us, we kind of decided that we would split the profits and raise as much as we can.”

‘Laura’s Gone’ will be releasing on several platforms to stream or purchase on Friday 17 December, and every purchase will be going to charity. The BBC Radio 1 Christmas Number One will be announced on Christmas Eve, so tune in then to find out who wins!  

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