AN Amman Valley born singer songwriter has made it to the final of S4C’s Cân i Gymru competition, with the finals taking place live to the nation on Friday, February 28.
Gruff Sion Rees, 30, was born in Glanaman hospital and raised in the village before moving to Cwmgors, then Ammanford, and now living in Cardiff.
The ex-Amman Valley school pupil entered the annual songwriting competition with his song 'Aderyn y Nos'.
“The lyrics surround the problems facing Welsh musicians since the cut in royalty payments for Welsh music," said Gruff.
He said because of this recording songs and hiring musicians and studio time has become almost impossible.
Gruff's song talks of a nightingale who with song sets the night on fire and brings hope back.
The musician started out at King's College London where he studied performance and composition, before moving onto Cardiff where he started working for television companies.
"This was a great grounding in terms of honing my skills as a composer, following my studies I worked on various radio based programmes and shows.
Gruff’s talent now sees him working as producer and director for Rondo Media - one of Wales' leading independent television companies.
Despite his hectic work schedule Gruff still tries to make time for his music. He has been writing, recording and releasing music as a singer songwriter for some years, with his tracks gaining successful air time on National radio. His songs have also featured on BBC Cymru’s track of the week.
Gruff's most recent project has seen him come back to his local roots.
"I recently accepted a commission from 'Partneriaith Aman Tawe' , a Welsh language promotion scheme between the Local Mentrau Iaith and the Welsh Government, to compose an Anthem celebrating the Aman Tawe area.
Anthem Aman Tawe features local talent such as pupils and ex pupils from Amman Valley School, members of Lleisiau'r Cwm ladies choir and local musicians, in addition to lyrics by local poet Einir Jones.
"We are all incredibly pleased with the result and there are plans to launch the new anthem very soon."
You can see Gruff face the
The Cân i Gymru 2014 competition will be held this Friday, (February 28), at the Anglesey Pavilion in Gwalchmai, and broadcast live on S4C.
Six songs will compete for one prize - £3,500 - and the decision is in the hands of the public.
"It's a great honour to be in the final six next to hugely talented singers and songwriters," said Gruff.
"As an Amman Valley boy my hope is that the Cwm and Carmarthenshire are kind enough to rally round and vote for me!"