Tyne & Wear

Sunderland's 'talentless pop star' Rob Barker hopes to top charts

Rob Barker
Image caption Mr Barker will release his single Twilight in April

A self-confessed "talentless" student from County Durham is hoping to top the charts with his debut single.

Rob Barker, whose only singing experience is on karaoke, has recorded the song and is already rehearsing for his first performance.

The 23-year-old is hoping to release his debut single, Twilight, in April.

The exercise is part of his research for his dissertation about manufactured pop music.

Break the rules

Mr Barker is hoping to reach stardom and break into the top 40 singles chart in just 30 days to prove you don't need talent to become a pop star.

He told BBC Newcastle: "I'm trying to sort of break the rules and I'm trying to prove that anyone can become a pop star.

"I'm trying to see if someone without a musical background, without musical talent, without a financial backing and doesn't have a record label behind them can make it and get a one hit wonder."

Image caption Rob's only previous experience is on karaoke

The University of Sunderland student is writing his dissertation about manufactured music in today's pop industry and making an audio documentary named Manufacture Me.

As part of his research, he is getting first-hand experience of how easy it really is for an artist to get their song out there for people to buy.

Following in the footsteps of the American 13-year-old singer Rebecca Black, who's pre-written song has been publicly slated but had almost 89 million views on Youtube, he has had someone else write a song for him to perform.

He said: "I've recorded the song and it was written by a guy called Huey.

"It's called Twilight, it's a cheesy pop song with a little bit of a dance element and a little bit of love."

Mr Barker has tried to tick all of the boxes before his campaign launch by having a photo shoot with a boyband-style outfit and getting local press involved.

Proceeds from the single, which was recorded in Sunderland, will go to the charity Help for Heroes.

He explains how the idea came about: "[The idea] has come off the back of X Factor... [artists] have done well for themselves and have caused a bit of controversy throughout the competition because they weren't as good as Mariah Carey or could hit those strong notes."

Image caption Rob had his first photo shoot

One of the most recent attacks on manufactured music stopped X Factor winner Joe McElderry, from South Shields, from being crowned Christmas number one.

A group on social networking site Facebook encouraged people to buy Rage Against The Machine's Killing In The Name Of in the same week as Joe's debut single.

It was a close fought battle but Joe had to settle for second place while Rage Against The Machine planned a free gig in London to thank the hundreds of thousands of fans who bought the single.

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