Ed Sheeran is one of the biggest names in British popular music today. A young and talented musician who appeared to come out of nowhere to take the UK charts, Radio 1, UK festivals - and now the Brit Awards - by storm.
However, behind his meteoric rise to fame is a lot of hard work rooted in his music education with Access to Music. Ed studied on the Artist Development course in London, where he learned a set of skills which has benefited him in his growing music career. Below is a video of one of his performances at our London centre from 2009 when he was studying with us:
Of Access to Music Ed says: 'This was a wicked course. It gave me the first push and I loved the freedom. Obviously you are there to learn, but they understood that half of the learning you needed for the industry was outside of the classroom with gigs and studio time. It gave me the first push - the opportunity to move to London and the freedom to gig and record whenever I could'.
For more info on Ed Sheeran visit his website.
Former Access to Music student Rita Ora's debut release RIP (featuring Tinie Tempah) went straight to number one in the UK singles chart.
Rita studied with Access to Music London on a Music Performance course and has gone from strength to strength ever since. Her first taste of chart success was with DJ Fresh, on the drum and bass anthem 'Hot Right Now', which also went to number one. RIP was written by Canadian superstar Drake and produced by Chase & Status - Rita is no stranger to collaborating with big names these days as she's signed to the Roc Nation label, brainchild of none other than Jay-Z.
RIP was promoted by Radio One DJ Greg James' Big Thing and Rita also performed the hit live on Later with Jools Holland. She's the first singer to have two number ones in the UK in 2012 and is set to break the US charts.
Tom Flynn is an international DJ, producer, engineer and remixer and is renowned as one of house music's most-respected forward-thinking producers.
Access to Music caught up with him between tours of America and Russia to have a chat about his music and to offer up tips to aspiring producers. He also talked about his days as a Music Technology student at Access to Music Birmingham.
Since leaving Access to Music, Tom has been awarded Best Break Through Producer by Pete Tong. He has released tracks on labels such as Mobilee, Circus Recordings and Hypercolour, gaining praise from the cream of the worlds best DJs, including Yousef, Carl Cox, Guy Gerber, Richie Hawtin and many more.
> More info on Tom Flynn
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Let’s Eat Grandma have signed to Transgressive Records, who describe them as the most unique and fascinating duo to have come out of the UK for some time.
Best friends since the age of four, multi-instrumentalists Rosa and Jenny (aged 16 and 17) create imaginative and original music that crosses the worlds of experimental pop and progressive weirdness. The pair are currently studying on a Music Performance course at Access to Music Norwich.
Watch the video for 'Deep Six Textbook' below, which is available now on iTunes and look out for their debut album set to be released in summer 2016.
Laura Welsh has featured on a top ten single via her collaboration with North London production duo, Gorgon City, on the hit track Here For You. The song moved to the top of the charts in late June 2014, ahead of her own single release, Break The Fall in August.
Laura also performed with Gorgon City on the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury 2014 and has a track featured in the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack released in February 2015.
Laura is a former Music Performance student from Birmingham, who moved on to the Artist Development course at the British Academy of New Music in London.
Have a listen to Laura's track Undiscovered from the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack:
Watch Laura perform Here For You with Gorgon City:
Watch Laura perform Break The Fall:
Electronic duo Blonde are a huge name in the house scene, with regular exposure on BBC Radio One and international tours under their belt.
They started out when Leeds-based student, Jacob Manson, was looking for an outlet for his production work. He drew up a list of like-minded blogs to approach and ultimately picked Eton Messy, a Bristol-based YouTube channel which promotes new electronic music - it's now a mini-empire encompassing events and a label with over 300,000 subscribers. Adam Englefield of Eton Messy, a former Access to Music Bristol student, liked what he heard and was impressed enough to post the track. This was the start of what is now Blonde.
Both agree that Bristol is a huge influence, with its multi-genre music scene and iconic artists such as Massive Attack, Portishead and Roni Size. 'They’re just very talented people with no pretentious to them.' says Manson. 'It’s a really inspiring place and spiritually somewhere that you’ll always have a connection to'.
Blonde's music combines house, elements of R&B, an occasional garage influence and a whole lot more. As Adam explains: 'We wanted to do something more upbeat and happier. We work at different tempos and in different time signatures. It’s pretty hard to pigeonhole us. Our music is more about the vibe rather than the genre and I think that’s true about a lot of acts right now'.
Approximately nine months after debuting their first track, Blonde signed to Parlophone. 'It’s a healthy gestation period for a human baby, but quite quick in industry terms,' quips Adam. Since then, the duo’s focus has been on creating material for inclusion on their upcoming debut album. Mixing electronic genres at will, the material largely focuses on the changing fortunes of romantic relationships.
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Access to Music students go on to work in all areas of the industry. Archie Lamb and Jack Foster came to Access to Music Norwich to develop their music skills. While there they got hooked on the business side of music and in 2006 they decided to set up their own artist management company.
The new company's coup was to sign and mastermind the phenomenal rise of UK grime artist, Tinchy Stryder. They signed him to a joint publishing deal with EMI and the result was a string of best-selling singles and live appearances.
More recently Takeover Entertainment signed a joint-deal with Jay Z and Roc Nation to create a European record label called Takeover Roc Nation. Takeover Entertainment also manage Giggs, Dappy and ex-Access to Music up-and-coming star Ria Ritchie.
Since 2009, The Saturdays have become one of the biggest girl-groups in the UK with their third album, Notorious, producing some of their biggest hits of 2011.
Vanessa White from Somerset studied with Access to Music in London before auditioning to join the group.
Vanessa says: ‘I always knew I wanted to sing since as long as I can remember, it didn’t matter whether I was in a pop band or not. I was always going to sing no matter what, I’m just lucky enough to have this opportunity’.
The Saturdays have now sold over 5 million records in the UK and Ireland.
Hotly tipped rock outfit Knock Out Kaine feature two former Access to Music Lincoln students – guitarist Jimmy Bohemian and bass player Lee Byrne.
The band first came together during their time at our Lincoln centre and have gone from strength to strength ever since. After winning Kerrang!’s Best Unsigned Live Act in 2008, their flamboyant and outrageous style led them to play at prestigious events such as Download festival 2011, supporting Steven Adler of Guns n' Roses in his solo band Adler’s Appetite, on a month long European tour and achieving a final spot in the Battle for Bloodstock Festival. Since self funding and releasing a debut EP, Knock out Kaine have wowed audiences in venues across the UK and Europe including successful tours with well known bands from Sweden/Italy and the USA including the band Where Angels Suffer, featuring Chris Holmes (ex W.A.S.P).
Knock out Kaine have also gained many positive reviews in respected music publications such as Classic Rock Magazine, Kerrang!, Fireworks and Black Velvet. As well as being aired on many digital rock radio stations around the world, Knock out Kaine's music has also been featured on various cover mount CDs including Classic Rock Magazine. Since signing a deal with DOTT Records/MIG Music in early 2012, the band has released its debut album ‘House of Sins’ in several major territories worldwide, which has been welcomed with great critical acclaim from radio, online publications and print media. The album was recorded at the famous Chapel Studios in Lincolnshire, and engineered/produced by Ewan Davies (who has worked with The Darkness, Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs) and mastered by Ray Staff from AIR studios London. Ray Staff has mastered countless huge bands such as AC/DC, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.
The band have hit the road again on a mini UK tour with German heavy metal band The Ordeal who are signed to the same label. Knock Out Kaine have been confirmed to play the Hard Rock Hell AOR Festival 2013 at Rotherham’s MAGNA Centre, but this has recently been overshadowed by confirmation that the band has been invited as special guests to support British rock legends Status Quo at Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow on 6th December.
The album has already been released in the USA and Canada and has been receiving excellent reviews in Germany and Sweden.
Guitarist Jimmy says of his time with Access to Music: "After leaving college, all I wanted to do was to learn more about music and playing guitar so I felt very privileged and lucky enough to be able to get a place at Access to Music. It was a great place to meet like-minded musicians and the connections I made there!"
Everyone at Access to Music wishes the band every success for the future and looks forward to following their career in years to come.
Astar Studios is a recording facility located in Greater Manchester which shot to fame in 2010 as the studio used to record a Mercury-nominated album.
Jazz musicians, The Kit Downes Trio, chose the Heywood-based studio because of its acoustic properties - it also combines beautiful design with state-of-the-art equipment. The quality of the recording of the resulting album, Golden, was enough to get it nominated for a Mercury prize alongside albums by Dizzee Rascal, Paul Weller and Corinne Bailey Rae.
Astar Studios is the brainchild of former Access to Music/Trafford College student, Andy Ross. Andy came to Access to Music to study Digital Music and he is an internationally-recognised songwriter in his own right, working for publishers Clippers Music. The studio was created in 2008 and has since gone on to establish a national reputation among artists and labels.
Talking of the Mercury nomination Andy commented. 'Personally I feel so proud that the quality of my recordings and sound from Astar Studios has been judged at the highest level as worthy to sit alongside those of the other more established and big budget album nominees'.
In September 2012, Jamie Morrison took over the drum stool for top indie act The Stereophonics, replacing Javier Weyler. However, Jamie didn't just land the job by chance. He played a pivotal role in the rise of The Noisettes, playing on the 2009 number one album Wild Young Hearts with its hit Go Baby Go (Don't Upset The Rhythm). With The Noisettes he appeared on top TV shows including Jonathan Ross and Jools Holland.
Jamie left The Noisettes in January 2010 to work on the recording of KT Tunstall's Tiger Suite album. He then went on to drum for Welsh star Duffy, as well as Motown legend Martha Reed and the Vandellas. He has also toured with upcoming UK artist Rebecca Ferguson. He is endorsed by Premier drums.
Jamie started his career by coming to study at Access to Music, initially at our centre in Cambridge, and then on the Artist Development course in London. He arrived to us with an upbringing in jazz, but through his work with other musicians at Access to Music, he began to broaden his repertoire and style to become the internationally-renowned musician he is today.
Despite losing an arm in a moped accident in Crete in 2011, DJ Matt Howes, has continued to grow his DJ career. Most recently he joined the team at Radio 1 Xtra hosting shows throughout May 2013 as part of Xtra Talent. He commented 'I feel really blessed to have the opportunity. Out of all that I’ve been given in life, this is up there with the best, so I’m just trying to make the most of it'.
Matt started DJing at the age of 14 and came to Access to Music Norwich to further his DJ and music production skills. After winning a local DJ competition, Matt was inspired to take his skills abroad and became a resident DJ in the renowned party resort of Maiia on Crete. There he worked with the likes of Tim Westwood and Tinie Tempah.
He has also undertaken a tour of nine countries working with London rapper Devlin.
> Find out more
Hauswerks is a producer who, after spending a decade engineering for globally-recognised names such as Steve Lawler and Anthony Pappa, has stepped into the dance music limelight.
Last year saw Hauswerks debut at major festivals including the UK’s Lovebox and Global Gathering as well as holding down DJ residencies and shows all over ibiza.
But his success doesn't stop there. Pete Tong has featured all of his Moda Black EPs on his infamous Radio 1 show and he has received big club support from the likes of Stacey Pullen, Steve Lawler, M.A.N.D.Y, Disclosure, Huxley, Edu Imbernon, Lee Curtiss, Richy Ahmed, Hot since 82 and Jozif.
The root of his acclaim lies in Hauswerks’ music - unforeseen fills, off-kilter samples and warping vocals effortlessly flow from his insanely infectious grooves.
But how did it all start? Hauswerks (aka Colin Barratt) learned the tricks of the trade on a Music Technology course at Access to Music Lincoln. He explains, 'My career really started to take shape towards the end of my time at Access to Music in Lincoln - the knowledge gained there has proved to be invaluable ever since. It was definitely the stepping stone to taking my career into the music business to the next level'.
Watch this great video showing how Hauswerks remixed Goove Armada's I See You Baby:
Drummer, Tom Page, met Neneh Cherry in December 2012 around a campfire on a rooftop in East London. This strange encounter led to Tom and his brother, of hip London duo RocketNumberNine, being offered a full collaboration on her new album, Blank Project, recorded in Woodstock, home of the eponymous festival.
RocketNumberNine first gained attention via the legendary Kieran Hebden, aka Four Tet, and Gilles Peterson, resulting in a session for Gilles at Radio 1. Since then they have supported Radiohead in New York and have appeared on the Jools Holland Show and the Mercury Music Sessions on Channel 4 with Neneh Cherry.
Tom learned the tricks of the trade on an Access to Music Music Performance course in London back in 1999-2001. He says, 'I have fond memories of my time with ATM'.
Tom also plays with James Holden, a well-respected electronic musician and he recently toured the US and Mexico with Atoms for Peace on their arena tour.
> More about Tom and the recording of Blank Project with Neneh Cherry
> More on RocketNumberNIne
Producer and DJ, Dan Van (Daniel Vanhinsbergh), is now a worldwide resident DJ and producer for Hed Kandi.
Dan started out DJing at the age of 14 and discovered a love for house music. He then came to Access to Music London to develop his Music Technology skills.
In 2011, he took up the offer to become resident DJ at Play2, Ibiza, whilst also taking bookings at Eden, Es Paradis, Hush and Hed Kandi Bar. This led on to his official collaboration with Hed Kandi.