We’ve helped some of the region’s most promising original music artists to grow their music, by providing free expert support which includes recording, live showcases, music releases, master-classes, radio sessions and professional mentoring as part of our Breakthrough artist development programme.
During our 3-year Help Musicians UK National Grants funded Programme, with match from Arts Council England we supported 60 developing and emerging artists intensively to achieve significant successes, such as involvement with major initiatives and festivals, including BBC 1xtra festival, Tramlines (main arena), Live at Leeds, Long Division, Liverpool Sound City and a range of smaller festivals. The programme has even featured in a Parliamentary debate, praised by Louise Haigh MP when promoting the work of Higher Rhythm describing the programme as a regional asset, which helps artists ‘tangibly progress in their careers’.
The artists who engaged with the programme all demonstrated a positive trajectory in terms of distance moved from the baseline data established in our diagnostic sessions. The music business support clinics that we delivered effectively enabled musicians to recognise how to operate as a freelance professional and small business, how to track revenue and royalties generating by registering and releasing works, and how to calculate the financial implications of music industry activities such as touring, releasing a record, marketing and promo, and self-assessment tax returns. We also worked with artists to build their capacity to manage future investment, including grant funding such as HMUK’s – ‘Do it Differently’ and PRSF ‘Momentum’ programmes, as well as investment from record labels such as our own label, Circuit Records.
The following are just some of the artists we have supported through our Breakthrough Artist Development Programme.
Starting out as a young artist in various bands recording at Higher Rhythm, then graduating from our Breakthrough artist development programme in 2016, Skinny Pelembe’s stellar success followed, signing with Brownswood Recordings, playing sell out tours and major festivals, and, being championed by BBC Radio’s Lauren Laverne, Mary Ann Hobbs, Giles Peterson and Tom Ravenscroft (to name but a few…). Skinny still records his music at Higher Rhythm Recording Studio. Good egg…
Floodhounds were successful applicants to our Breakthrough Artist Development Programme in 2017. Festival appearances at Live at Leeds and Long Division (Wakefield) followed, alongside BBC Introducing airplay and sold out local live shows in Sheffield. Floodhounds also won an ‘Honorable Mention’ for the Sensoria Festival ‘Beats working for a living’ Music Commission Award in 2018, awarded with a grant to support further career development presented by Richard Hawley, and ended 2018 playing international dates.
The Harriets were selected for our Breakthrough Artist Development Programme in 2017. The band landed festival appearances at Live at Leeds and Long Division (Wakefield), alongside a BBC Introducing live radio session, playing live at Doncaster Rover Football Stadium, and rounding off with a sold out headline appearance at 360 Club, Leeds, and a performance at the Brudenell Social Club. The Harriets are a hard working band that never stop pushing themselves and typify what being a self managed artist in the modern music industry is all about.
Bi:Lingual, fronted by the energetic Dylan Cartlidge, were a band that took the phrase ‘power trio’ to a whole new level… They won a place on our first Help Musicians UK and Arts Council funded pilot year of the Breakthrough Artist Development Programme, and took the roof off Maida Vale when they played live at our artist showcase event. All members are still making music, as new acts, and the frontman Dylan, is excelling as a music artist, signing with Universal and definitely being another one to watch.
Successful applicant to Higher Rhythm’s Help Musicians UK and Arts Council England funded Breakthrough Artist Development Programme in 2018, no fixed ID, is a unique musical talent that almost manages to sneak into the gap between the boxes of ‘alternative rap pop’ and ‘art rap’. With appearances at HerFest, Live at Leeds and The Big Boulder Festivals, being selected for a physical single release through Come Play With Me, and being a speaker on a music industry panel at the Yorkshire Music Forum annual conference, 2018 was definitely a productive one for, no fixed ID.
Joe Russell-Brown, a 19 singer songwriter from Scunthorpe, was selected for our Breakthrough Artist Development Programme in 2018. Joe developed as an artist, turning out a self-recorded EP with a fair label of ‘lo-fi dream pop anthems’ being attached. Gathering a list of 9k fans, playing gigs across the region and selling his music in 62 countries, perhaps Joe’s own description of “a reet ole year” summarises how things have gone for him on 2018.
Elle Call is an electro pop artist from Leeds who was selected for our Breakthrough Artist Development Programme in 2018. Elle has appeared on live showcase events at Cafe INDIEpendent (Scunthorpe) and The Big Boulder Festival (Sheffield) this year as well as debuting new music for independent arts and music mag, Delinquent Magazine. With an increasing crowd of followers in her home town of Leeds, 2019 has potential for being an exciting year for this talented song-writer.
Let Man Loose, from Hull were selected for our Breakthrough Artist Development Programme in 2018. With a sound bridging indie and desert rock, they can really play live, and they do… a lot! Summarising their year in their own words: “We’ve had a blast! We’ve played on the ferry to Amsterdam, recorded and released our second EP, received increasing support from BBC Music Introducing and have just wrapped up our UK tour…” Other highlights in 2018 for Let Man Loose included supporting Black Honey, playing Sheffields Big Boulder Festival and Nottingham’s Dot to Dot Festival, and the pretty awesome, Humber Street Sesh in Hull.
LIO is an ambient alt-pop band fronted by Leonie Sloots from Sheffield, and were selected for our Breakthrough Artist Development Programme in 2019. Having enjoyed festival appearances at Outlines, Tramlines, and Y Not Festival and radio play on Amazing Radio and BBC Introducing, LIO took part in our PRS Foundation Open Fund project in 2018 and progressed from this onto Breakthrough with the ambition of releasing more music, building artistic profile and growing their fan-base.