Are you the next Jamelia or Mike Skinner (The Streets)? Does your band knock spots off The Darkness? Could you give DJ Pete Tong or classical violinist Vanessa Mae a run for their money?

Whether it's urban, indie, blues, jazz, rock, acoustic or classical that ' s your

specialism, the Birmingham Music Awards wants you. It is inviting musicians from across the Midlands to enter their original music in what is the first major event to pay tribute solely to the up-and-coming stars of an English region.

The Birmingham Music Awards officially launches on May 27 with a mission to ' celebrate Midlands music' by launching a number of categories throughout the summer, culminating in an award ceremony and winners' showcase

at Music Live at the NEC on November 4-6.

Although the Awards are based in Birmingham, organisers are hoping this is just the start of a Midlands-wide involvement in developing a "significant and definitive annual awards event". They are in talks with a number of Midlands stars and are asking for industry experts to come forward to join the assessment panels. Individuals and businesses can also get involved through a stepped

subscription scheme. BMA director Chris McGrath said: "As far as we are aware, this is a unique set-up and nothing else exists quite like the Birmingham Music Awards. As well as saying thank-you to our stars of the past and present, we will be giving a leg-up to the stars of the future.

"There's an incredible wealth of talent in this region, born of a strong musical heritage. For the last 18 months we've been building a springboard for Midlands music and musicians - and now here it is."

The Awards cover a number of categories: Urban, Rock, Indie, Jazz, Blues, Classical, Club DJ and Unplugged (Folk, Country, Acoustic). Entry is free - application forms and criteria for entry are available on the website at www.

Further information is available online at www. or on 0871 871 0500.