A busker who many people will have heard playing in an Aylesbury underpass is hoping to make it big in the music industry.
Utestus Neil has just released his first album, Raindrops, and is now aiming to be the next star of ITV’s X-Factor.
The 38 year old moved to Aylesbury 10 years ago from Jamaica, earning his way as an engineer with Chiltern Railways, and it was that job that made him realise it was time to chase his dream.
Married father Mr Neil said: “One day I went out to a suicide incident. It gave me a sense of shock and I realised I wasn’t following my dreams.
“I have got a good job but I’m not doing exactly what I want to do in my life. Since then I have been progressing to this point.”
Mr Neil has played the guitar since he was 19 and grew up spending evenings listening to the music of his idol, Bob Marley.
These days he is a fan of the likes of Adele and Ed Sheeran and says his music blends acoustic sounds with reggae.
He already had one shot at X-Factor for the series that just finished, but says a lack of experience let him down.
The musician said: “I didn’t have any voice training, I just did it on my own.
“I got to just before the stage when you see the main judges.
“It’s a lot of work you have to put in.”
Since then Mr Neil has been working hard on his act, playing gigs around Aylesbury, including at his regular spot in the Cambridge Street underpass.
He said: “I’m way better than when I went on X-Factor because I have the confidence and I have been performing loads of open mic nights in Aylesbury and I busk every day in the town centre.
“I like playing in the underpass because the acoustic in there is so good.
“It’s really encouraging to see people who pass every day and stop and say hello.
“I just want to make people happy.”
Mr Neil dreams of one day playing in front of a sell-out audience at London’s O2 Arena and will be auditioning for the next series of X-Factor.