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BEHIND THE SCENES: SOUNDCAMP

Soundcamp 2022 started this month, kicking off with a two week Bootcamp which just wrapped up. Filling the space with the best up and coming musical talents across Manchester. For those of you that are not familiar with Soundcamp, it’s a 12-week training and artist development programme that we started back in 2018, funded by the lovely Youth Music and in partnership with Thirty Pound Gentleman

Joining Soundcamp once again, facilitators and artists Jenna GWerkha and Anna Mcluckie kicked off the project and got the ball rolling, offering their industry knowledge and mentorship to those involved. At the end of the Bootcamp, twelve artists were selected to progress onto the 12-month mentorship programme, granting the opportunity to take their craft to the next level. 

If you don’t know our fabulous facilitators, let’s get you acquainted. Jenna Gis a vocalist and MC who has worked with the likes of Danni Minogue, Aleesha Dixon and Chase & Status. Werkhais a DJ and producer, who has recently dropped an album, ‘All Werk Is Play’. Last but not least, Anna McLuckie is a singer, songwriter and harpist based in Manchester, who you can catch playing at the Deaf Institute at the end of the month.

Participants such as Manchester-based Atha, who is an aspiring events host and musician, touched on how it has been working with industry professionals, commenting that the facilitators have been “caring, giving us the space to ask them questions which is comforting and beneficial”. Freelance actor, open mic organiser and poet Boshra adds that the environment created by the facilitators was “welcoming, which is important and they genuinely want to help”, whilst guitarist Fabio explains how each artist seemed to be “well-rooted in the industry”.

As always, we strive to maintain an aura of inclusivity, encouraging those involved to be their authentic selves. Beatrix Dexter a self-proclaimed ‘authentic, innovative and daring’ artist and participant says how the experience of working with the likes of Jenna, Werkha and Anna was insightful and ‘every day was enlightening and very focus driven’.

As a music course and artist development programme, collaboration is thoroughly encouraged throughout. One of the collaborative tasks during the Bootcamp was to create a piece on either nature or identity, spurring creations of beautiful spoken word pieces, whilst other activities included musical creations. During the second week, one group wrote a dreamy three-part harmony on one side of the room and on the other side of the room, there was some high energy rapping going on, proving just how eclectic each person’s style is.  

It was great to see those involved appearing comfortable, honest, supporting one another, and having a bit of a laugh. People shared their work, from poetry to lyricism, creating blends of genres. One group, including Fabio, created a track fusing Folk, EDM and gritty Rap, surprising themselves with an original song that worked incredibly well. This narrative led the rest of Soundcamp’s journey, with Atha commenting that she’s ‘met at least five different musicians, five different instrumentalists and five producers, so it’s like a network of people with different skills and it’s amazing’.

With creative energy flourishing within the group, we set out to find out who was inspiring the group. 

WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION?

BOSHRA, ACTOR & POET. ‘Myself. As humans, we go through so much in our lives and I feel like our stories, our past, our struggles and our successes are inspirational in themselves. We as humans inspire ourselves constantly and being creative in this industry is difficult. You have to fail, learn, fail, learn and be okay with rejections, whilst keeping on going and finding alternative ways to bloom, expand and develop.’

FABIO, GUITARIST. ‘I try not to have idols because I don’t believe in having them, but I do have people I look up to who trigger parts of my brain and make me feel inspired. Casey Edwards and Mic Gordon, who are more on the gaming side of things with soundtracks, are incredibly inspirational to me. The experimental side of their gaming works is great, especially as someone who likes electronic and distorted sounds.’

JOY, MODEL & SINGER.  ‘My Mother. She gave me life but she also taught me life. My mother came to the UK from Africa and made a life for us, she worked so hard for me and my siblings and that’s something I admire so much.’

IF YOU COULD COLLABORATE WITH ANYONE IN THE WORLD, WHO WOULD IT BE? 

SOPHIE, JAZZ MUSICIAN. ‘If I could collaborate with anyone living, it would be the legend, Beverly Knight. She is an incredible vocalist and hands down an amazing person. I take lots of my writing inspiration from her. And of course, Ella Fitzgerald. A Jazz legend who means so much to so many people and her legacy lives on. I like to think I take a leaf out of her book every single day.’

FABIO, GUITARIST. ‘While they were alive, Prince or Jimi Hendrix. That would have been pretty cool.’

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE FROM SOUNDCAMP? DID YOU SET YOURSELF ANY PERSONAL GOALS FOR THE BOOTCAMP?

BEATRIX DEXTER, MUSICIAN. ‘To make more connections, network with people and improve my confidence. I wanted to learn more about the industry and what next steps I should take as an artist. ‘

JOY, MODEL & SINGER. ‘A voice for myself. I wanted to get a bit more confident in the talent that I have. Now I feel I’m in the right headspace, I just needed to meet the right people and be in the right space.’

SOPHIE, JAZZ MUSICIAN & MINDFULNESS TEACHER. ‘I joined Soundcamp to collaborate with local people and make connections.’

There was a great variety of performances at the showcase and an incredibly supportive environment was encouraged throughout. What began with nervous energy, soon transformed into laughter and self-confidence. First up was Toby with a very pure and heartfelt spoken-word piece, resulting in a crowd of applause and wooing. Toby fist-pumped the air and faces of joy populated the room, setting the scene for the performances to follow. Soundcamp 2018 alumni IORA played a number of tunes. Their music is electronic-based, so it was great to hear it played differently live. Flavours of Drum N’ Bass with vocals on top, acoustic Indie with spoken word and swing influenced pieces with a jazzy soulful feel.

As the Bootcamp came to an end, friendships had been made and wonderful artistry created, with those involved leaving on a high.

To find out more about our upcoming projects, please drop us a line at projects@reformradio.co.uk – come get involved, meet people and get creative! 

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