Now our Peter Whittingham Award applications are open for 2017, we caught up with last year's winner, Fergus McCreadie.
"The first time I heard of the Peter Whittingham Award was through my friends in the band Square One, who had won it the year previous to me. By coincidence, the bassist and drummer from my trio play in that band as well, and they said I should go for the award.
"I’d thought about recording an album before auditioning for the award, but I was never sure if I was ready. Help Musicians gave me the incentive to go for it – with the funding and help it was fairly easy to make plans for recording. The first part of the funding was going up north to rehearse, so that we could get familiar with the music, before going down to QuietMoney studios in Hastings the next weekend to record the album. Help Musicians were very helpful in putting me in touch with a really good engineer and producer, who helped to make the album sound great. I’m now just in the process of sorting out artwork and printing for the album, with the hope to launch it this December. None of this would have been possible without the funding from Help Musicians, never mind the advice that they gave me throughout the process.
"The recognition from gaining the award was also very helpful – not long after receiving the award I was lucky to have a mention in Jazzwise as ‘One to watch,’ and having it under my belt has made a lot easier to get in touch with venues to organise gigs, as they’ve been a lot more willing to reply. Overall, I’ve had a great year after receiving the award, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to build on what I’ve achieved in the years to come. I would highly recommend anyone who can to apply for an audition, as the whole process is a very positive one, and there’s a lot to be gained from the experience."
If you'd like to apply for the Peter Whittingham award, the deadline for applications is Friday 3 November 2017 at 5.00pm. The applicants shortlisted for auditions will be notified by Tuesday 14 November 2017, with auditions taking place at The Premises Studios, Hackney, on Monday 27 November 2017.
To find out more about making an application please visit the dedicated Peter Whittingham Jazz Award page at helpmusicians.org.uk/peterwhittinghamjazz