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15 of NI’s Emerging Artists Selected for Leading Music Industry Development Programme and Bursary Award

Fifteen of Northern Ireland’s finest emerging artists have been selected to take part in CMU’s Pathways Into Music Foundation and Help Musicians Fanbase Builder Programme to help early-career musicians in Northern Ireland build a solid business around their music-making and to ultimately grow their fanbase. 

The Pathways Into Music Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation launched by CMU to support music educators and music talent development programmes around the UK and beyond, and to help early-career music-makers plan their personal pathways into music.

By offering expert music industry advice in the form of workshops and one-to-one sessions, the Fanbase Builder Programme will empower the chosen musicians to undertake a fanbase building project that will ultimately accelerate their music career. Participants will also receive a £500 bursary and bespoke expert support as they deliver that project. 

Sasha Samara

Artists

  • May Rosa
  • Clodagh May
  • Balcony Sunrise
  • Sugarwolf
  • Ethan Hollan
  • Ferna
  • HY:LY
  • Moon Landing
  • Hi/Lo & the Tribes
  • Kid Apollo
  • Lemonade Shoelace
  • Sarah Toner
  • Sasha Samara
  • Search Party
  • Glass Wings
HY:LY

Keith Millar, Help Musicians Northern Ireland said;

“Building a career around music means writing great songs and recording great tracks, but also understanding how the music business works, and how to find an audience and grow a fanbase.

With early-career music-makers facing even more challenges today as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s particularly important that we help musicians to access that knowledge and hone those skills. The Fanbase Accelerator Programme will do just that, and then help participating artists to put what they have learned into practice by pursuing a project while, with the support of music industry experts, will help them grow their fanbase and take their career to the next level”. 

Phil Nelson, Pathways into Music said;

Fanbase building is the both most important and yet least understood part of a DIY artist’s early career progress. I’m thrilled to work with Help Musicians Northern Ireland on what I hope is going to be a ground breaking programme that will benefit the creative musical talent in Northern Ireland.

Music

James Arthur Announces Headline Belfast Show

James Arthur today delights fans by announcing tours of both UK & Ireland and North America in 2022.

The tour includes dates at Ulster Hall on 28th March and Olympia Theatre on 29th March.

Today’s announcement lands on a special day –  the fifth anniversary of the release of James’s global smash hit ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’.

James  will be performing songs from his upcoming new album ‘It’ll All Make Sense In The End’ alongside his classic hit singles and fan favourites.

James says: “I’m beyond happy about getting back on the road and seeing everyone again. Playing shows for my fans gives me life and that’s been taken away for the best part of two years so needless to say I’m itching to get back out there and perform for them again. Coming to a stage near you soon!

James has sold over 30 million records worldwide and has to date released three hugely successful albums ‘James Arthur’ (UK No.2), ‘Back From The Edge’ (UK No.1) and ‘YOU’ (UK No.2), alongside nine solo UK Top 40 singles. He has had two No.1 smash hits and was awarded a disc for reaching a billion streams on Spotify with ‘Say You Won’t Let Go’, the No.1 global hit that brought the singer-songwriter from Middlesbrough back from the edge (it currently has 1.7 billion streams on the platform). James recently dominated the airwaves and charts with his storming collaboration with Sigala ‘Lasting Lover’. The track was a No.1 airplay song in the UK, No.1 on iTunes and Top 10 on the Official Singles Chart.

James recently signed a new record deal in the UK with Columbia Records, a co-deal with Columbia Records Germany, and announced his new album  ‘It’ll All Make Sense In The End’,  his 4th long play release, is coming later this year.

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Music

Foy Vance Set For SSE Arena Concert

Singer-songwriter Foy Vance is pleased to announce his largest ever headline show at The SSE Arena, Belfast on Saturday 02nd April 2022. Foy’s second studio album on Ed Sheeran’s Gingerbread Man Records and the follow-up to 2016’s The Wild SwanSigns Of Life will be released on September 10 on CD, LP and digital formats and is available to pre-order. 

Signs Of Life is the sound of a beloved singer-songwriter at the peak of his powers. It’s also the sound of a man – a husband, a father, a sinner, a drinker – belatedly coming to terms with his demons. Driven by powerful percussion, “Time Stand Still” features a soaring, emotive vocal from Vance, who was struggling with an addiction to alcohol and painkillers at the time of writing.

“I had my first extended period off the road after twenty years of constant touring,” says Vance. “And I realised: wow, I drink two bottles of wine and at least a half bottle of vodka a day. I’d start the day with codeine to get myself sorted, and I’d smoke joints throughout the day. So I realised: I have so many incredibly bad habits here. I’m showing all the signs of death, getting ashen, grey, smoking more, drinking more, smoking more…I hit a wall.”

“It was my manager that made me get help,” Vance continues. “And in those moments, you do wish time would stand still. Can’t I just stop here and sit in this moment before I have to take up that mantle?”

Signs Of Life was recorded in three locations: Vance’s Pilgrim studio at home on the shores of Loch Tay in Highland Perthshire, another recording set-up in a nearby Dunvarlich House, and at Plan B’s Kings X studio in London. The album was written and played more or less entirely by Vance, with able assistance from young Northern Irish producer Gareth Dunlop. Serendipitously, Dunlop had been inspired on his career path by a chance encounter with Vance many years before.

“When I was around 14 years-old I wandered into a coffee shop in Belfast and saw Foy playing in the corner,” Dunlop explains. “I was completely spellbound by what I heard. It was a lightbulb moment that sent me on the road of wanting to discover my own voice and musicality. I would never have imagined that I would be co-producing a record with him 18 years later, and that I would be just as inspired and spellbound by what he does.”

Created out of the grimness of 2020, Signs of Life is an album of dawn after darkness, hope after despair, engagement after isolation, uplift after lockdown. It comes in bold sleeve artwork that reflects Vance’s desire to embrace all sides of everything, all humanity’s textures. Shot on a 160-year-old camera which does arresting things with colours and shading, the back image is of Vance as a bare-chested, bare-knuckle boxer. On the front, he’s in a dress, blonde wig and theatrical make-up.

“They’re just mad, striking images, and I loved the fact that it was male and female. You know, life’s extreme, life’s volatile, life explodes into reality sometimes, and stops just as quick. So to be struck by images on the cover made sense.”

At any time, Foy Vance’s new collection of songs would be a tonic. At this particular time, they can’t arrive a moment too soon. “That’s a huge part of it,” says Vance. “Signs of Life is about re-emergence – me in my own soft revolution, the world re-emerging in what we’re about to see as we hopefully go back to some semblance of normality. But just life in general – flowers growing through the cracks in Chernobyl. Life finds a way, doesn’t it?”

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