A 17-year-old singer-songwriter from Ystrad Mynach has hit two million streams on music streaming service Spotify.
Owain Felstead who has already released six singles, reached the milestone in November on his single Clover.
The Lewis School Pengam pupil has more than 83,500 monthly listeners on the platform, and can also be streamed on iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play and Amazon Music.
While at primary school, Owain started writing poetry – a passion he inherited from his grandfather.
But it wasn’t until comprehensive school when Owain’s love of music began.
Owain said: “When I first went to comprehensive school, I remember them having a list. You had to sign ‘yes’ for anything you are interested in, but I ticked ‘no’ in every column.
“The teacher thought it was a lost cause, but then she realised she knew my mother from school, who was a good musician, and said that I should learn an instrument.
“So I picked up the guitar and I started a rock band with a few of my mates.
We realised we didn’t have a singer and the others wouldn’t do it, so I had to learn to sing.”
Owain has been focusing on writing pop music for the last two years and cites Shawn Mendes and The Weeknd as his inspirations.
He explained that while most of his songs are about girls, he tries to write things from a vague perspective so people can interpret the lyrics how they want.
On Wednesday, November 13, Owain performed at the Proms in the Royal Albert Hall, London, in front of 5,500 spectators alongside his school friends Rhys Griffiths, Joseph Pole, Adil Ali and Jacob Kinsey.
He said: “It was really weird, I didn’t feel nervous and none of us did. As soon as the first notes started and I sang the first words, the crowd was feeding off it.”
Speaking about the support he receives. Owain said: “When I started writing I would show it to my parents. My dad would say it’s good and my mum would say it’s terrible, so I know she’s got a really honest opinion because she’s musical as well and we can trust what she says.
“I go to my teacher for constructive criticism and I always send stuff to my one mate who is really hypocritical, just so I can find out everything that is not quite right and I can work on it.”
Owain, who has been working with Pontypridd-based producer LVR, also thanked teacher Bethan Jenkins, Mike Collins and Steven Butts for their support and said he is looking towards a career in music when he finishes school next summer.
“I think it is good to look at it as a business rather than a hobby for me.
“Obviously I enjoy so much, but if you look at it like a business you’re always a few steps ahead.”