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Ten musicians performed in front of industry experts, spent time in Strongroom Studio 1 and received business advice

What is the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award? 

Since it began in 1990, the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award has supported jazz musicians at a tipping point in their musical journey. It recognises artists and groups poised to achieve their ambition of building a career in music. Previous winners of this prestigious award include Help Musicians Ambassador Soweto Kinch, Xhosa Cole, Errollyn Wallen and Roller Trio.

After submitting an initial written application, ten musicians were shortlisted to attend an artist development day at Strongroom Studio in the heart of Shoreditch. The artist development day was not only about performing live for the Peter Whittingham panel – it was designed so that all musicians would learn valuable lessons and advice, regardless of whether they were eventually supported financially or not.

Strongroom’s team were instrumental in the artist development day’s success, giving up time and space to host, and special thanks must go to Jake Murray and Georgy Moore for their efforts.

Artist Development Day 

One week prior to the event, all musicians had the option to speak for one hour with performance anxiety specialist Lucy Heyman. They were given the opportunity to put what they learned into practice on the day, performing in front of a panel of jazz experts. 

The event was also an opportunity to learn more about the wide range of support Help Musicians offer, as well as gain practical advice to use moving forward in their careers.

With that in mind, each applicant had a Get to know Help Musicians’ meeting with a member of our Engagement Team. This was in addition to a 1:1 business advice session with industry experts Justin McKenzie and Celetia Martin, where they discussed topics such as how to create and achieve long term career goals and develop sustainable income streams.

The artists then spent half an hour in Strongroom’s Studio 1 with Drew BANG, an award-winning engineer and producer with more than a decade’s worth of experience working with artists such as U2, Royal Blood and Haim. Drew tailored his sessions to each musician’s interests and needs, discussing anything from demo feedback to mixing techniques and sound quality.

The emphasis of the artist development day was for every musician who attended to have a meaningful outcome and not just those who were award winners. London-based pianist and composer David Kofi (Website, Bandcamp, Spotify) was one of the shortlisted musicians and learned things throughout the day that will be invaluable as he progresses in his career.

I really enjoyed attending the Peter Whittingham artist development day. My 1:1 business advice session with Celetia was especially beneficial. It was great receiving advice and learning more about what Help Musicians do alongside their funding
David Kofi

Meet the Development Award winners 

In the current climate when musicians face more challenges than ever, we are pleased to offer vital and timely financial support to four artists through the Peter Whittingham legacy; Tyrone Isaac Stuart, Nishla Smith, John Pope and Nicola Guida.

The panel felt these four musicians demonstrated the potential to sustain a career within the jazz industry and therefore the decision was made to make each of them a Development Award winner. The four awardees will receive £2,500 each to pursue musical projects, as well as 1:1 business advice sessions, tailored to specific needs and delivered via experienced music industry professionals.