The Judges

Our Judges

We would like to introduce you to our prestigious line up of judges. The LNER Song for Yorkshire gives you the opportunity to be seen and heard by music and media industry professionals.

The LNER Song for Yorkshire judges are chosen to reflect an assortment of music genres and interests.  They believe in creativity and chasing dreams and are dedicated to helping singers and songwriters receive the recognition and acknowledgment they deserve.

Our judges use a consistent set of standards to make impartial decisions as to the merits of the song. By entering the LNER Song for Yorkshire your application will be judged fairly across the songs structure and composition, lyrics, music and melody, originality.

Lizzie Jones MBE

Former 'Inspirational Woman Of The Year' for ITV's Lorraine Kelly show, Lizzie Jones has performed throughout the UK both on stage and on screen, most notably when she sang the traditional hymn ‘Abide With Me’ live at Wembley arena ahead of the 2015 Super League Grand Final, which subsequently reached no. 34 in the UK charts.

Lizzie also performed on BBC Sports Personality of the year 2015 as the solo guest singer and closing act singing ‘Danny Boy’ which spent a week at the no. 1 spot in the classical charts. She recently performed at all three World Club Series for the Rugby World Club Challenge on Sky Sports, then the Ladbrokes Rugby League 4 Nations tournament on BBC.

Alongside her musical performances, Lizzie continues to make lots of TV appearances and to work tirelessly on her Charity. Her efforts have seen her featured on Good Morning Britain, Songs of Praise, Lorraine Kelly, BBC Great Northern Run, This Morning London, Radio Leeds, The Pulse and Heart Radio as well as numerous national press publications.

Liz said: "I’m so thankful for my music. Even through the darkest of times - it feels good to sing. It releases the feel good, happy bits in your brain. Music has really helped keep me going through the lockdown, and I know it’s helped loads of other people across the county too."

Simon Rix

Musician Simon Rix, is one of the original members of Kaiser Chiefs. Their debut album, Employment, changed everything. The Kaiser Chiefs went from being a small indie band playing when the doors first opened to headlining and playing at massive festivals. Now with seven studio albums, three Brit Awards and a UK Number 1.  

It all started, as they say, long ago. Three of the band were in the same class at St Mary’s School in Menston. After studying maths and geography at Leeds University, Simon reunited with his schoolmates in 2000 as a band called Parva, which also included Ricky on lead vocals and Andrew ‘Whitey’ White on guitar. The band secured a record deal and have not looked back since. They have written some of the greatest singalong pop anthems of recent times and have much to be proud of.

The Kaiser Chiefs’ bassist, who lives in Leeds recently joined forces with MP for Leeds North West Alex Sobel, to deliver thousands of face masks, visors and other much needed equipment to care homes, GP practices and hospices in North Leeds.

Simon said: "I’ve been lucky to have worked with a lot of people from the music industry and have absorbed a lot through the creative writing process and it’s great to bring those experiences to the LNER Song for Yorkshire.

This competition is all about joy and making everyone feel good about themselves, their communities and remind people why they love Yorkshire. It is an important message during Yorkshire’s COVID-19 recovery. It has the right spirit."

Dan Bates

Dan is the Chief Executive of Sheffield Theatres Trust, producing extraordinary theatre in Sheffield and across the UK. After his formal training at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, he worked at the Theatre Royal in Windsor, Riding Lights Theatre in York and the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds. He became Chief Executive at York Theatre Royal in 2004 and joined Sheffield Theatres in 2009.

Alongside his work at Sheffield Theatres, Dan is a Board member of Welcome to Yorkshire, English Touring Theatre, UK Theatre and the Sheffield BID Company. He also sits on the Sheffield Cultural Consortium.

Dan said: "I’m delighted to be a part of this prestigious judging line up for the LNER Song for Yorkshire. Songs are a great way to express our emotions and although the times have changed, this is a great way to show that Yorkshire is moving forward and recovering."

Natalie Anderson

Natalie, who started acting as a child at Bradford Playhouse, got her break playing Nurse Stella Davenport in ITV drama The Royal, filmed at St Luke’s Hospital where she was born. She landed the role after graduating from the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.

A former Bradford Bulls cheerleader, Natalie is also a singer and was in the original Pop Idol in 2001, with Gareth Gates. In recent years she’s had presenting slots on TV’s This Morning and written for Hello! online.

Natalie went on to play Alicia Metcalfe in Emmerdale for five years and was in TV dramas such as Wire in the Blood and Dalziel and Pascoe. On stage she’s been in West End show Wicked and Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends.

Natalie has launched lifestyle brand The Capsule – which includes a fashion and beauty website and blog. Natalie uses this platform to share therapies, articles and products that help women feel better about themselves and The Capsule live events allow me to bring women together to let them know they are not alone in the fight against anxiety and mental health issues.

Luxmy Gopal

Luxmy Gopal is a BBC news presenter, reporter, and video journalist, experienced in TV broadcasting, filming, and editing. Throughout her career, Luxmy has carried out investigations, conducted hard-hitting interviews, and reported live on big breaking stories for BBC TV and radio.

Luxmy’s passion for current affairs and broadcasting comes from her love of sharing big news stories with audiences and giving people a voice to share their stories with the world.

Luxmy said: "I’m so proud to be part of this initiative, Living with Covid-19 has made things very different for everyone across the world and LNER Song for Yorkshire is just what we need to bring together everyone and remind us all what  makes Yorkshire such a special place to live, work, visit and study through the power of song."


JoJo’s voice will be instantly recognisable to many across Yorkshire, because she has worked as a Leeds-based radio presenter for over 17 years now, currently as co-host of Capital FM’s Adam and JoJo’s drive time show she gets you home with the HOTTEST hit music across Yorkshire! A familiar face and figure too, crackling with energy while hosting launch parties, awards ceremonies and presenting fashion shows throughout Yorkshire.

JoJo said: "I’m no stranger when it comes to spotting real musical talent, with over 17 years sat behind a mic on the radio I’ve listened and interviewed some of the world’s top artists and performers. I think we all offer something special and unique from across the music and media industry and I can’t wait to bring my energy and passion to the panel."