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Retired Gravesend postman reaches final of the UK Songwriting Contest

A 72-year-old has reached the final of a national songwriting competition.

Phil Mitten, from Medhurst Crescent in Gravesend, secured his spot after impressing judges in the UK Songwriting Contest with his country song, Never.

Never by Phil Mitten, backing courtesy of Tony Frost

The grandad-of-three said: "I see song contests as a way of gauging how independent people judge your songs, and of course if you make the final cut, it can bring about some much-needed publicity.

"The song was inspired by my somewhat very late discovery of the songs of the late John Prine."

John Prine was an American country folk singer-songwriter who passed away last April.

Phil wrote and performed the song, with Gravesend musician Tony Frost, who is blind, playing the backing music.

Tony Frost, on the piano, and Phil Mitten, playing the guitar. Picture: Phil Mitten
Tony Frost, on the piano, and Phil Mitten, playing the guitar. Picture: Phil Mitten

The competition is a UK contest for song writers to showcase their talents, with more than 10,000 people entering this year.

A winner will be selected from each song category, which is expected to be announced later this month.

The retired postman has always enjoyed music.

Phil was an entertainment manager at Warner's Coronation holiday camp in Hampshire, owned byhospitality company Warner's.

He worked there for four summer seasons and even met his wife, Kim, 60, while she was on holiday there.

Phil Mitten at Warner's Coronation holiday camp in Hampshire during the 1980s
Phil Mitten at Warner's Coronation holiday camp in Hampshire during the 1980s

He said: "I was brought up with music, but once I turned 38 and my kids were born, I got my full-time job at Royal Mail.

"I'd always written bits and pieces, but thanks to the technology nowadays, I can do it from home.

"This is the first time I've made it to the final. The song came to me whilst I was walking my dog, May. I just had the tune in my head.

"Once I was home I finished it off on my guitar. It all came together very quickly as I wanted to keep it simple."

Phil hopes to be crowned the champion of the country music category.

Phil Mitten with his first grandchild Isaac and his dog, May
Phil Mitten with his first grandchild Isaac and his dog, May

You can listen to Never on Spotify and Youtube, or ask your smart speaker to play Never by Phil Mitten Storyteller.

To find out more about the Uk Songwriting Contest click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Gravesend

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