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Thea Gilmore is a singer-songwriter in the traditions of Bob Dylan, Ani Difranco and Tori Amos, singing songs that slot somewhere into the space between folk and rock.

She comes from Banbury, near Oxford, and set up her own recording company after doing work experience at a local recording studio.

To date, she has recorded four albums: Burning Dorothy, which was released solely on her Shameless label when she was 19; The Lipstick Conspiracies, which was co-released with the big label Naim, Rules for Jokers, the EP As If and Songs From the Gutter. The latter four have received major critical acclaim, but as with Difranco et al, haven't quite propelled her into the limelight she arguably deserves.

Gilmore is 23 years old, and is a relieving sign that the next generation of musical stars aren't all Britney Spears and N-Sync. Her songs are fuelled with political and personal messages, as opposed to the "oh baby baby" approach found in most modern pop music lyrics.

She said in an interview recently: "Back in the 60s, the thing that really counted was that Dylan was up there shouting and now nobody’s touching anybody’s heartstrings with anything. So I think it’s really, really important that you use that voice and just get the messages out there."

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