Onward Virgin Soldiers, marching to chart success

A LOCAL band is hoping to make chart history with the release of its debut single next week.

Following an extensive six-month campaign, Virgin Soldiers, whose members hail from Battle, Hastings and Kent, are fighting to beat the odds and get their single Moon Song into the UK charts.

The song will be officially released on Monday (August 20) and the band are hoping to become only the twelfth unsigned band to make it into the top 40.

Without the benefit of the seemingly unlimited resources of a record company behind them, Virgin Soldiers have had to struggle every step of the way.

The band members worked part time to raise the funds required to record the single and they have spent the last months promoting it at their gigs and on the internet.

Any profit made from the release will go to Stars Foundation for Cerebral Palsy and the band has spent many hours busking on the streets to raise funds for the charity, whilst promoting the song at the same time.

Part of the band’s uniqueness is that it plays the kind of music that even music journalists can’t find a genre for, so the band created its own genre - strock. Singer/songwriter James Beeny, who founded Virgin Soldiers, says the band feels this expression best describes their fusion of classical string instruments with acoustic rock music.

James, who was born in Hastings and grew up in Battle, said “Being different is not a bad thing but it does make it difficult to get national radio play.

“The producers don’t seem prepared to take the chance with something they have never heard before.

“But we get a tremendous reaction live and our internet following is growing all the time, so we just have to believe in what we’re doing and hope that someone out there is prepared to take the risk.

“In the meantime we will carry on with our campaign and hope that we get enough downloads to register in the charts.

“Reaching the top 40 might be ambitious but just to make it into the top 100 would be incredible and therefore we have to give it a go.”

In just under three years Virgin Soldiers has amassed a huge online following, including nearly 28,000 followers on micro-blogging website Twitter, but they also gig regularly around the country.

In early March, thanks to the support of their fans, the band was awarded an opening slot for McFly at the Leas Cliff Folkestone as part of their UK 2012 tour.

In July they supported Keane at the Hastings Beer and Music Festival and in October they will be supporting the legendary Joan Armatrading at the King’s Theatre, Portsmouth.

Virgin Soldiers have been played on BBC Introducing: The South, The Pat Marsh Show on BBC Radio Kent, The Beat on BBC Radio Nottingham and numerous local radio stations but getting the break into national recognition is now their main aim.

To help the band achieve their goal, visit www.virginsoldiers.com where you can find out how to download Moon Song.

* Virgin Soldiers will perform at a celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of the Battle Branch of Cancer Research UK at Crowhurst Park on September 12, from 8pm. Tickets cost £8.

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