Northern Ireland’s next generation of bright young things are set to benefit from expert help as they learn to survive in the dog-eat-dog music industry.
Belfast’s Oh Yeah Music Centre is about to launch the second year of the Scratch My Progress scheme that mentors young musicians.
It offers professional advice to tomorrow’s stars on how to make it in showbusiness — and that means learning about a lot more than how to please an audience.
Scratch My Progress nurtures talent through workshops, talks and songwriting sessions as they make their first marks on the music industry.
The acts will also be trained by music industry professionals, vocal coaches, PR experts, lawyers and accountants.
Four local acts have been selected for the year-long scheme and will spend the year learning about the music business, stage management and marketing, as well as writing and performing.
Hannah McPhillimy, Go Wolf, Howl and Basic Translation are this year’s chosen musicians.
Rosa Solinas, head of music at the Arts Council, said: “The Scratch My Progress programme is a prime opportunity for home-grown musicians to develop and hone the necessary performance and business skills to make it in today’s music industry.
“This feedback from mentors is instrumental in aiding the development of the musicians involved to progress to the next stage in their musical career.”
Last year’s scheme saw Portadown talent Katharine Philippa start her journey to stardom.
Project manager Charlotte Dryden said: “Katharine Philippa had an incredible year. She performed at the Ulster Hall with the Ulster Orchestra... She helped to launch Belfast Music Week in London at Gibson Guitars, and she was one of four acts to perform at the Irish Times Class of 2013 event in December.
“2013 is looking to be another exciting year; we can’t wait to get started,” she added.
The young acts will showcase their raw talent in a performance and interview at a ‘Getting to Know’ event on February 7 at the Oh Yeah centre. They will write and record a track during the year and perform it during a professional showcase.
Brian Dolaghan from Invest NI said: “We are delighted to support this scheme which offers artists a platform to increase their skills and gain valuable insights into the business side of performing and recording.
“This will enhance their chances of success and in turn add value to the economic landscape in Northern Ireland.”
The acts out to make a noise
Hannah McPhillimy (22) is from Coleraine. She describes her music as “piano-driven, jazz-influenced, melodic pop that almost always contains a story-telling aspect”.
Basic Translation are a four-piece band of 17-year-olds from Belfast, still at school. They are inspired by punk and grunge, in particular Nirvana.
Howl are another four-piece band from Belfast, this time aged in their early 20s. They hope to be Belfast's answer to Arcade Fire.
Go Wolf are a Belfast four-piece band, aged between 17-25. The group released their debut single Voices in October and recently supported Belfast band Ed Zealous.