This was written to be assessed as part of Molly's Journalism course. This was in Semester 1 of Level 5 and was for the Photojournalism module.
Music reporter Molly Woodthorpe went to the Voodoo Lounge to attend a gig put on by Stamford College, to showcase their incredibly talented music students. She caught up with h:sharp, Niall Brown and JayKyi to hear their advice for young musicians, in a similar position to themselves about getting started on their journey to success.
JayKyi, or Jake Lee, is an 18-year-old student at the college, with 127.4k streams on Spotify and 37.5k listeners across 149 countries! Jakes start in music when he was first given a guitar by his mum, as he didn't have any hobbies at the time, but once he started, it stuck. Now, he aspires to be like San Holo one day, a digital artist whom he loves to listen to, saying his songs ‘bring out feel-good emotions and make you feel like you want to keep going.’
Recently, Jake has been experiencing writer's block, but generally finds inspiration from his feelings, things that are going on in his life, and what relates to people, and then writes songs from that. When he is performing, Mama Liz’s is his favourite venue, it's a smaller venue and this provides a level of comfort when on stage.
Whilst he was getting started, he found the best advice he was given was ‘go with your gut’ adding ‘if it feels right, that's all you can do about it. As for advice, he would pass on to others, ‘Have fun! If you do something for the sake of doing it, it won't work out so you need to be sure that you're doing or making things that you enjoy making.’
Jake is currently rebranding, but he said overall, his next step is wherever music takes him. To see where he goes next, he can be found on Instagram at @JayKyi_.
18-year-old Niall Brown, the guitarist and singer for Muzzle did amateur acting as a teen which was where he got his start in music, following this he began playing the guitar and it bloomed into a passion for music as he improved over time, and then he chose to do the music course he is currently studying at Stamford College thinking it would be an easy course but has instead found that “ it's the most interesting thing I’ve ever done” and that “it's rewarding and exciting and I will never go back to theatre because it's boring”.
Previously a member of some other bands, so he has some advice for any other young musicians wanting to start a band; the most important factor of a band is likemindedness, as if members of a band have opposing views, there will be friction. He also said when you're in a band, it isn't selfish to know what you want to do, and do that- potentially even being a bit stubborn in this. Another thing that he has found whilst performing, is the importance of the atmosphere of a venue. Because of this, he has found the Voodoo Lounge at Mama Liz’s, in Stamford and also the Soundhouse in Leicester.
As far as finding aspirations goes, Niall said he would hope to one day be like David Bowie, even going as far as to say if he could only ever listen to one song ever again, it would be Bowie's, Life on Mars. He also has aspirations for the next few years; aiming to complete his course and head off to university, moving on to later be a guitar tech as he loves to fix guitars. However, still stands by the fact that he would one day love to tour the world with a band, as he does still love to perform. Shifting from aspirations to inspirations, when writing a song he has to be in the mood to do it, finding inspiration in random words. He even has notepads of random words that he takes as inspiration but has only written a handful of songs from them that he deems good enough to record, but this does not stop Niall, or Muzzle from performing, something to keep in mind if you find yourself in the same situation.
H:sharp is a group made up of three students from the college, Cameron Scott, 18, and 17-year-olds Bryn Eccleston and John Booth-Allcock. They describe their music as evolving, versatile and fresh, and describing their band as family, dumb and rockstars. The way they feel about their music can’t be disputed when listening to the band. If you do listen to their music, hands4guns was mutually agreed as the favourite of their own music, with an unreleased one called crack being a close second. One song that has got a bit of a split reaction from the band is slow:motion, with John saying ‘The idea and the concept of it I really like, but not so much the execution of it bc it turns into a country/indie who knows what. It could be really good remade, but using the same story arc.’ Bryn however, disagreed and said it is one of his favourites because ‘it could have turned really shit but it turned out really good.’
Turning to songwriting as a whole, the band takes a lot of inspiration from heartbreak, with John adding ‘Everyone likes relatability and heartbreak is one of those things that is so relatable, which is probably why emo is such a big genre, and a bit of metal as well. Because no one likes being happy. It's boring.’ The band has also said the new album is very strongly based on past relationships but hasn't said when it will be coming out, so follow them @hsharpband on Instagram to keep updated when it is released. You will also see their plans to release some h:sharp merch.
The Met Lounge (Peterborough), Voodoo Lounge (Stamford), and 2Funky Music Cafe (Leicester) are the venues they find best to perform at, but have given the advice to young musicians to just take every experience that comes their way, and dismiss nothing- there are so many ways to release music too, that that is always an avenue to pursue.
All their socials:
(This is the magazine spread, including front cover, that I designed for this assignment, the politics section on the cover refers to the news story I wrote for this)