Untapped Talent in the Toon: Music Opportunities for Emerging Local Artists
When Sam Fender played his sell-out concert at St James’ Park, he was supported by emerging artist Hector Gannet. Despite being relatively unknown, Gannet, hailing from Fender’s beloved North Shields, was allowed to perform to a crowd of 50,000 people.
This way of supporting local talent and artists isn’t specific only to Fender: it’s a culture at the heart of the city. As it stands, up-and-coming bands are spotlighted by those who are further in their career, networking opportunities and meet-ups are frequently provided by venues and classes, and tuition is offered by some world-class music centres such as the Sage.
Essentially, opportunities for new musicians in Newcastle are plentiful and artists are given the space and support to grow and develop their careers.
Whether you’re an emerging singer-songwriter, a budding percussionist or DJ, we take a look at some of the opportunities designed to develop or showcase local talent.
Reputationally, the Ouseburn area of Newcastle is renowned as a hub for venues that showcase emerging talent. The Cluny, in particular, has always been an institution for platforming the ‘next big thing’. The Arctic Monkeys, Mumford and Sons and even Ed Sheeran all cut their musical teeth at the venue, long before they hit the big-time.
Giving the Ouseburn venues a run for their money, is the Black Swan Arts Centre on Westgate Road. This classy little venue now hosts Marisam Events’ Platform 22, a regular eventdesigned to help new regional talent.
For emerging artists with a bit of a following or a couple of gigs under their belt, it’s easy to be caught in a kind of musical no man’s land; they’ve done due diligence at the open mics but aren’t quite ready for the bright lights of venues like the Cluny.
This is where Platform 22 comes in. This live music showcase offers local musicians the opportunity to perform original music in front of a public audience who get to vote for their favourite act. Better yet, the winner will receive funds to help them further their career.
For artists who possess a solid musical understanding already and are working towards gigging or recording, bog-standard music lessons probably aren’t going to cut it. At this stage, there’s a far greater need for advanced instruction, tailored to the artists’ specific needs.
Whilst there are plenty of in-person opportunities to learn, it’s Newcastle’s vast array of online music lessons that provide emerging artists with the opportunity to develop. The region is renowned for its musical diversity and access to lessons in music production, percussion, guitar and bass can nurture and develop local artists.
Music lessons can range from beginner to expert level so anyone can brush up on their skills. Online access is vital, giving you the ability to access tutors across the country from your own home allows you to learn skills from professional musicians, anywhere.
Creative Central NCL recently unveiled its plans to put in place grants, business support, skills development and affordable workspaces for artists in the North East, meaning things can only get better for our home-grown talent.
With these opportunities, freelancers and creatives can access tools that will take their services and projects to the next level. The aforementioned offerings by Creative Central NCL will allow groups to pursue high-profile collaborations with others in the creative community, purchase much-needed equipment, or facilitate epic showcases. For example, Arcus Studios, an animation and multimedia company in Newcastle upon Tyne, has been granted a whopping £150,000 investment, which will allow them to expand their staff and improve cash flow stability.
In addition, Creative UK, an independent network that brings together creative professionals, has recently announced their plans to invest £2 million into loans and equity on behalf of the North of Tyne Combined Authority.
The North East is currently offering a varied programme of opportunities designed to discover new raw talent whilst nurturing emerging artists who already have their musical wings. Throw in some substantial investment and it’s easy to see why, in the world of new music, Newcastle is becoming the city to listen to.