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10FROM10 | Scottish Artists (Part 1)

Updated: 2 days ago

On this blog post, both Tina and I have asked 10 Scottish Artists 10 questions each relating to their music and about their 2020. With the 10FROM10 blog series continuing to be a really interesting insight into the musicians who we feature, this new post with Scottish Artists will hopefully be the start of a new series, as we had always planned to expand beyond Twitch. Links to each of the featured Artist's social media and music websites are included below.


Glasgow based singer-songwriter Caragh has been immersed in music her entire life. She has earned her stripes in church choirs and choral societies, singing in the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, before embarking on a career as a singer-songwriter.


In 2019, Caragh’s track ‘Twenty Years’ was shortlisted for the Stewart Cruickshank’s Songwriting Bursary, making the final ten and was featured on BBC Scotland's Iain Anderson Show. Since releasing her debut EP ‘The Show’ in October 2020, Caragh has received worldwide airplay, from Scotland to Australia and appeared on Trev Opie’s Lone Wolf podcast in South Africa.


Teaming up with boss-women producers Novasound Studios, ‘The Show’ EP covers topics such as #MeToo movement, what love really is, and mental health. Taking inspiration from her favourite writers John Lennon, David Gray and The Cardigans the end result is enchanting, engaging and enigmatic.


1. What was it that got you into or inspired you to become a full-time musician?

Growing up, I was always singing in choirs and from an early age I fell in love with how voices can blend together to make an incredible sound. I would say I was also quite heavily influenced by my music teachers and having the opportunity to go to concerts and experience the sound of a live orchestra or opera voice was something special.


My parents always had an eclectic range of music going on in the house or the car so I was exposed to Jethro Tull and Simon & Garfunkel as well as the mighty Beatles. When The Beatles Anthology came out on BBC, I was absolutely obsessed. I can’t pinpoint exactly what drew me to them, but their songs were infectious and like nothing I’d ever heard before. That really sparked an interest in songwriting for me and kick-started my journey to becoming a musician.


2. With the events of this year being very different now, what motivates you currently?

This year has been quite strange and seems to have jolted society out of a long slumber. All the protests and uprising against governments has certainly been a long time coming and in a way I hope that it’s the beginning of a new, more positive, cycle in human history. That has inspired me to really reflect on my own situation and have confidence to speak up about things I think are not right. The songs on my debut EP ‘The Show’ deal with topics like the #MeToo movement, the meaning of love, making the most of life on earth and mental health - all which are issues I think people have been reflecting on since being plunged into isolation.


3. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your music / life balance?

In a way this has been a good period for me, musically. Mainly because it’s given me space to explore songwriting and learn how to record myself properly at home. As a parent and working full time, it’s not always easy to carve out time to really sink my teeth into music making, so I am grateful that some of life’s distractions have now disappeared.


Plus it’s given me more time with my family which is always a delight!


4. What has been your most challenging experience, music or in general, to date?

I often talk about how this is my ‘second time round’. I started my career in my twenties and like many musicians, when the big wigs didn’t come knocking at my door promising they would ‘make me a star’, I found it really difficult to keep going. That and the financial drain it is when constantly trying to carve out your niche and grow your audience. Looking back, I now know I was approaching my career in all the wrong ways. Not because I wasn’t passionate about what I do, or because I wanted to connect with my audience – that was the best part of the job!


However, the practical elements of working in the music industry are so antiquated that they didn’t work for me and I didn’t have the clarity of mind or patience to work out how to make it work for me. Now that I’m older and have more life experience under my belt, I don’t feel the same pressure to ‘perform’ as I did before. The joy in writing is still there and I would hope that will stay with me until I shuffle off this mortal coil. And my desire to connect with people through the songs I write is now a driving factor in keeping going.


On a practical note, making music is very expensive and with the dawn of streaming, it’s even harder for musicians to make a decent living from selling music on its own. I’m not against streaming as it’s how people consume their music now and I would be a hypocrite if I said I didn’t stream music, but I guess there needs to be more transparency about how companies like Spotify don’t pay a fair rate to independent musicians for their streams. Would that change people’s mindsets? I’m not sure but the more people who speak up, the more likely it is that things will change.


It is worth noting companies like Bandcamp who have been so supportive of musicians, particularly through COVID, deserve to be praised. Their ‘Bandcamp Fridays’ have really struck a chord with working musicians, allowing them to keep an income flowing in when other opportunities have dried up and opening up a world of new independent music to consumers.


5. Have you found or had much support and encouragement from other musicians?

The music community has absolutely thrived throughout this time. What’s so uplifting is how we’ve come together and the support we’ve given each other is so encouraging. I know, certainly as a woman in music, that competitiveness is innate. Whether it is intended or not, women are especially pitted against each other making it difficult to make connections. It may not be true for all women but that has definitely been my experience in the past.


What I’ve found throughout COVID and lockdown in particular is how women are much more vocal about championing other women in music. We may be ‘competitors’ in the marketplace, but the marketplace is a huge arena and there’s space for everyone.


On a more general note, songwriting groups have really come to the fore and have been an incredible support network. I joined the Sunday Songwriting group on Facebook which operated throughout lockdown and it was a life-saver! Run by Rosie Bans and Becci Wallace (also incredible musicians and songwriters!), they created this amazing space, free of judgement, for songwriters to come together and really appreciate their craft.


Another brilliant resource I’ve found is the Female DIY Musician where women can embrace all things tech! Recording my own music has been an aspiration of mine for a while and now I’m finally doing it. I would like to think that in the future I will have more control over recording and releasing my music to fit in with my situation.


Finally, I think it would be rude of me not to mention the incredible Novasound Studios run by two boss-woman producers, Audrey Tait and Lauren Gilmour. The three of us worked together to produce my EP ‘The Show’ pre and during lockdown 2020. Without their skills, support and encouragement, I don’t think this EP would have seen the light of day!


6. Which method of distributing music have you found to be the most effective?

I mentioned earlier that Bandcamp have been such a life-line for many musicians, promoting their ‘Bandcamp Fridays’. For me, it’s given me hope that people really do want to support independent music and with the absence of live gigs, they’re looking for something to fill the gap. Musicians are still getting the opportunity to sell their merchandise and music to connect with their audience which has opened up a new world to musicians and fans alike. I think it’s been such a positive force when the industry as a whole is really struggling.


7. What challenges have you faced as an independent musician?

Aside from the practical elements of trying to sustain a career in music, I have definitely found that being an independent musician is taxing on your mental health. You give so much of your emotional well-being to writing songs and putting them out there and although you are prepared (to an extent) that not everyone will like it, it’s still hard to ‘take that on the chin’. I’m not saying everyone should be kind for the sake of our egos and to mollycoddle musicians, you like what you like. But I suppose when you’re an artist of any medium, you are more sensitive to feedback than others. There’s a mentality that you should develop a ‘thick skin’ and ‘it’s part of the job’ to receive negative feedback now and then and whilst I understand the meaning behind that; it’s not a personal attack on you as a person, people need to remember that musicians are also human. We have families to care for, dinners to cook and washing to clean just like everyone else. As much as it would be amazing to just lull about in a music-induced coma for days/weeks on end it’s not how it really is. It is a viable job, with the same pressures and expectations as any other but does require a deeper level of emotional input than some other professions and therefore should command the same level of respect.


8. With live gigs being impacted this year, have you used social media for live performances?

I have tried out an Instagram live gig which was really nerve-wracking! It’s been a long time since I’ve gigged so I’m absolutely out of practice. I thought by giving it a go it might jolt me into perfecting the craft of online gigging. To be honest, I did enjoy it and was so pleased some people came to listen to my songs. I think I will do more of them but getting some peace and quiet (not easy with a 4 yr old running about!) is the main challenge for me.


I have also looked into Twitch as well as I see many other musicians are going down this route. I do like the idea of having a more regular connection with people but whether I can sustain that, I’ll need to work that out.


I would like to do more online gigging as I think it’s still quite fun and I’ve enjoyed watching other gigs online in the comfort of my own home.


9. Is there any advice that you would give to other musicians during these uncertain times?

My advice to other musicians is to take some time to figure out what you want to do. There are a lot of hats musicians need to wear now to sustain a career in music and it wasn’t always that way. If you can find people who can help with the parts you’re not so confident in you might find that works better for you. The musician community is so supportive and there are so many opportunities to collaborate that now is a good time to start making connections.


Also, don’t be so hard on yourself if you feel things aren’t going as quickly as you’d like. The big wigs are also suffering now because the industry itself is breaking down. This may not be such a bad thing as there does need to be a shift in the balance between industry and artist. I don’t think the industry should disappear altogether but I do think there’s room for independent music to thrive and take up more space.


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans going into the New Year and beyond?

My future plans include more online gigging and releasing more music. My EP is out now on Bandcamp and through my website. I do have more songs currently in production as well so that will be coming in 2021 and if I ever manage to get back to live gigging, I would love to perform more as well.


As well as releasing my own music, I have another project on the go. During this time where couples may be looking for something a bit more intimate for their wedding or special occasion ‘Love Stories by Caragh’ is a personalised songwriting service, where I write a song which is about the couple and their love story. More information is available on my website.


If you would like to keep up to date with all my news and such like, you can sign up to my mailing list at www.caraghmusic.com


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Drawing influence from nostalgic 90's Trip Hop (Moby, Massive Attack) and contemporary alternative R'n'B (FKA Twigs, Tinashe), Kohla is an interdisciplinary Scottish artist; a singer, songwriter, producer, fine artist and dancer.

A graduate of the world famous Edinburgh College of Art, Kohla's approach to songwriting is abstract. Self taught on all instruments, her music is emotionally driven - applying her honed techniques in visual composition into a sonic format.

Having spent the past few years training at Dancebase, Scotland's National Centre For Dance, choreographing alongside professional dancers, Kohla performs unique visuals to her music, unlike any other independent artist in Scotland. 

Kohla’s Debut EP ‘Flux’ (February 2020) received glowing reviews from worldwide press and international airplay. 


1. What was it that got you into or inspired you to become a full-time musician?

I've always been into art and music, there wasn't one defining point actually!


2. With the events of this year being very different now, what motivates you currently?

I'm just happy to be working in my home studio! Songwriting always comes before live gigs for me.


3. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your music / life balance?

I'm naturally introverted, so in a lot of ways things are the same. I do miss performing live though and catching my friends perform!


4. What has been your most challenging experience, music or in general, to date?

I suffered a vocal injury a few years ago which took a bit of time to heal! However, it led me to begin singing lessons and improve on my vocals, so I guess it was a blessing in disguise.


5. Have you found or had much support and encouragement from other musicians?

Yes! Particularly the women in the scene. I founded the social group Popgirlz Scotland which features 70 Scottish female artists who all encourage and promote each other.


6. Which method of distributing music have you found to be the most effective?

I think Spotify is a really great way to discover new artists.


7. What challenges have you faced as an independent musician?

I've found the main challenge is being self-organised and funding my projects as it's super expensive!


8. With live gigs being impacted this year, have you used social media for live performances?

Unfortunately I was just gearing up for a year of performing, as I had spent the second half of 2019 in rehearsals with my backing band and backing dancers choreographing my live show. I was looking forward to gigging nationally and UK Festivals. I've been adding some clips of me performing online, but it's not quite the same!


9. Is there any advice that you would give to other musicians during these uncertain times?

I think it would be beneficial to use this time to learn a new skill - such as learning piano or how to produce.


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans going into the New Year and beyond?

I'm hoping to release a new single every 8 weeks in 2021!


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Misty Galactic is a dark alternative dream pop singer-songwriter originally from Dundee but now based in Edinburgh. Misty's musical influences include Lana Del Rey, Banks, Velvetears, Mazzy Star and Baby Goth and her songs are of love, lust and liars. With three tracks, Issues, Lucifer, and The Worst, released during 2020, new material is expected as we move into 2021.


1. What was it that got you into or inspired you to become a full-time musician?

Growing up, I couldn't be kept off a stage. Singing, acting, dancing - I did it all, and I adored it. I had thoughts about doing music, but at that point music was dominated by boys in indie bands, and I had major impostor syndrome - I worried that if I couldn't play guitar, or if my music sounded too pop, then it just wasn't 'good' and I shouldn't think about doing it. 


Cut to several years later. I'd survived an abusive relationship, and I felt like I had been robbed of a couple of years of my life. I never wanted to waste another second, and resolved to do all the things I'd longed to do. I was also in the midst of a growing realisation that actually, maybe I could do my own style of music and be taken seriously, and I could do electronic music and make it on Ableton and perform to backing tracks if I want to, like so many other singers/rappers do. I started playing around with things, and now a couple years later, here we are!


I'm not a full-time musician yet (still gotta pay them bills!), but that's definitely the goal, and I'm excited for the journey that will take me there.


2. With the events of this year being very different now, what motivates you currently?

I think I've still got pretty similar motivations - no matter how locked down we are, that feeling of not wanting to waste time and wanting to find a way to be creative and make something that moves people. I think this year has demonstrated the significance and importance of the arts as well as the need to fight for them, so perhaps it's just put a really fine point on why that matters in life on a societal level as well as personally. 


Further motivations include gin, the oddities of Tinder during a pandemic, and never wanting to hear the phrase "you're on mute" again.


3. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your music / life balance?

My day job workload has gone through the roof which has made it frustratingly hard to get the time and mental space to focus on music. Saying that, I've released my best singles to date through Covid and just recorded two more for release early 2021, so maybe I'm just being hard on myself!


4. What has been your most challenging experience, music or in general, to date?

In general, losing my grandad - he was like a father to me. In music, I'm lucky that one doesn't stand out as such yet, though I will give a special mention to every time I've tried and failed to learn guitar.


5. Have you found or had much support and encouragement from other musicians?

I have! I'm really lucky to be friends with so many supportive (and super talented!) musicians. Music can be a pretty lonely existence, especially when you're a solo artist, so I think it's really important to have a supportive network of people around you who understand the struggles as well as the things you're getting excited about. I'm very fortunate to have that.


6. Which method of distributing music have you found to be the most effective?

In terms of music distribution I think it's important to be on as many platforms as possible so your listeners can find you where they prefer to listen. Beyond that, building your network and getting to know people. Getting to know bloggers and journalists and forming relationships with them is important, especially because you're being respectful and supportive to them in doing so rather than being demanding. It's a necessary evil at this point to set aside budget for regular social media ads too. 


7. What challenges have you faced as an independent musician?

I think it's the sheer amount of money involved if you're going to give releases the best chance for doing well, and how if you have the support and backing of a label then all that gets a whole lot easier. When you're totally independent, that can be challenging, but also gives you a nice sense of control over your own music so I guess that's the trade off.


8. With live gigs being impacted this year, have you used social media for live performances?

I haven't! I've loved watching everyone else's though.


9. Is there any advice that you would give to other musicians during these uncertain times?

Release music, don't release music. Do shows on social media, don't do shows on social media. Record from home, don't record from home. Whichever routes you want to do are completely okay and acceptable - try not to feel pressured into thinking that you aren't working hard enough or you aren't doing enough if you choose not to do these things. Try not to feel guilty that you're having super productive times and feeling like lockdown might actually be good for your music. We're all just out here trying to survive and vibe!


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans going into the New Year and beyond?

I've got some cool collaborations in the works, and I'm releasing a couple of singles which I'm feeling very excited about. Apart from that, just planning on focusing on staying healthy and sane!


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New Artist Roma Rose is a pop-folk, singer-songwriter from Scotland.

After a short hiatus from the music scene, Roma returns with a new name, new sound and brand new perspective. Her songs have a fresh thrumming energy, are lyrically vibrant and fun, as well as raw and unapologetically honest, as she intricately weaves the experience of early motherhood into her music. 

Her first two tracks have been championed across multiple online publications and playlists, as well as gaining support from BBC Introducing and Charlie Ashcroft's Fresh Finds. Her third single, Stay Like This, is set for release on November 27th. 

Created with an exciting all female team, Roma's debut tracks have been co-written and produced by Jessica Sharman (Ward Thomas/Hannah Grace/Sarah Darling) and mixed by Isabel Gracefield (Tom Walker/Christine and The Queens).


1. What was it that got you into or inspired you to become a full-time musician?

I've wanted to be a singer for as long as I can remember! I grew up in the countryside in the Scottish borders, and it was a long drive to school every day and we would always be listening to music on the journeys. I think I started dreaming into it then. 


2. With the events of this year being very different now, what motivates you currently?

It's been a bit of a strange one for me! I actually took a bit of a step back from music when I fell pregnant, but since having a baby I felt more creative and driven than I have ever been, which I didn't really expect. Lockdown actually allowed me the space to use this energy and connect back to music. Writing and recording this series of tracks from my bedroom, remotely working with some incredible people, has been a real Covid silver lining for me.


3. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your music / life balance?

It's made me properly appreciate how short life is and how the things we take for granted can be whipped away in an instant. So I guess it's given me a new perspective and made me go for it a bit more, in terms of putting myself out there musically. I'm not allowing myself to overthink or delay things, like I probably used to.


4. What has been your most challenging experience, music or in general, to date?

I had a really challenging recovery after having my little one and I sort of lost myself for a bit. It's been cathartic to put that experience into this project and also to embrace the joy and euphoria that came when things got better! 


5. Have you found or had much support and encouragement from other musicians?

Yes, absolutely. Musicians can be the most supportive champions to each other and I've found that if you extend a bit of that to fellow musicians, you get a lot back. Other musicians understand the highs, lows, and challenges of the industry, so to get feedback from each other on work is invaluable.


6. Which method of distributing music have you found to be the most effective?

Getting blogs and music writers interested has been amazing to get the music out there to a wider audience.


7. What challenges have you faced as an independent musician?

There is just so much out there! There's so much being released every week from indie artists, so it's hard to get heard (especially without a massive PR budget!). I find the focus on social media a bit overwhelming at times too. I do love a bit of Instagram sometimes, but then I also go through periods where I'd happily bail on social media for weeks. But you can't really do that if you want to compete with all the noise! 


8. With live gigs being impacted this year, have you used social media for live performances?

I haven't yet - but definitely something I'm thinking about!


9. Is there any advice that you would give to other musicians during these uncertain times?

I think probably to take the time off to take the pressure off. If you create in this time, great! - But it's also OK to use this time to reflect and take stock. It's been relentless and we are all collectively exhausted!! 


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans going into the New Year and beyond?

My next single comes out on November 27th, which I'm really excited about! After that, I'm going to take my own advice I think and chill a bit over December and maybe film some live acoustic versions of the tracks. It's been an amazing few months and I'm so happy to be getting music out there again. Bring on 2021!!! 


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The power and energy that emanates from Edinburgh-based Rebecca Shearing is undoubtedly evident, but so too are the cadences that flow at times with a shimmering sadness. SHEARS is pop music with a dark edge.


Growing up in Ayr, Scotland, she was singing opera from the age of five, taking on piano, flute, and guitar through adolescence, all the while burying a deep love of Christina Aguilera and Destiny’s Child under stacks of notation and music theory. Having spent her formative years as a notable early star of the YouTube music community, which saw her build a vast online following, she moved to the capital aged 17 to study vocals at university, where she began writing the songs she wanted to sing. Since breaking onto the scene in 2019, SHEARS has been heavily supported by BBC Introducing in Scotland and was named in The List Magazine’s Hot 100.


The four tracks, which comprise SHEARS debut EP When You’re Around, brings vocal dexterity and finely-honed songwriting set to a backdrop of dark electronic textures. The first single, Circle Line, is a brooding meditation on living life in a loop, followed up by Just Like You - a blast of stuttering synths and power pop melodies, targeting the ways in which women are set up to compete with one another. In most recent single release, Ideas, a bass-driven electro pulse sets the scene for a full-on fireworks display of SHEARS’ performing range.


The EP also features brand new title track, When You’re Around, which builds over an atmospheric backdrop of synths into a rousing outro chorus with layer upon layer of rich vocal harmony. The track is accompanied by a dark and disconcerting video, providing a sparse visualisation of a sense of self being lost amidst competing voices.


1. What was it that got you into or inspired you to become a full-time musician?

I started singing lessons at the age of 5 and piano at 7, so music was always a huge part of my life. To be honest, it was the only thing I was properly good at, so I just kept going with it and eventually felt like it was something I would love to do full-time. I don't really remember a significant switch - I think music has always just been a constant. 


2. With the events of this year being very different now, what motivates you currently?

My general day-to-day would be along the same lines regardless of this year as I'm making so much music in my home studio. I'm getting better at production and writing as much as possible, but it means I'm working alone at home quite a lot. My motivation lies with my aspirations as I want to become a better producer. 


3. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your music / life balance?

I'd love to be at a gig right now (like everyone else), but I'm writing music everyday regardless so it's already a huge part of my life. It's quite difficult to know when to switch off though, I have to be quite strict with myself sometimes. 


4. What has been your most challenging experience, music or in general, to date?

I find release days quite hard. You have something you make that's yours for months or years, and finally comes the day where you let them go into the world and other people can own it. It's a really strange feeling but I'm getting much better with it the more music I release. It also sounds like such a first world problem now I see it written down! 


5. Have you found or had much support and encouragement from other musicians?

Yes! So much. I was added to the BBC Introducing UK Hot List on BBC Sounds and I found out on Saturday before the BBC had told me by some of my music pals messaging me all excited for me. It's lovely to know they've got your back. 


6. Which method of distributing music have you found to be the most effective?

I've only digitally released music as SHEARS (for now). 


7. What challenges have you faced as an independent musician?

One of the main challenges an independent musician faces is funding, but I've been very lucky with the people that I've been working with so far in that I've been able to carry out and make everything I wanted to this year. I'm also very lucky to have supportive management to answer all my silly questions and to help me with releases. 


8. With live gigs being impacted this year, have you used social media for live performances?

I did two live-streams a few months ago where I went full-on with lights, sound mixed through a desk, strobes and the full works. It's not quite the same when you finish a track and there's silence and you're in your bedroom, but it was nice to do at the time. I think I'd rather get back to real shows now. 


9. Is there any advice that you would give to other musicians during these uncertain times?

Keep going, keep making music, but do it for yourself. Don't release music you don't like to please other people. 


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans going into the New Year and beyond?

I had a show this year that was cancelled due to Covid, so hopefully we can arrange a few more shows (fingers crossed). Otherwise, pick what music gets to go next, and keep making it!


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Shuna Lovelle is a soul inspired artist that mixes her deep vocals with pop, dup-step and breakbeat grooves to mould her sound. Having a father who owned a studio, she landed doing backing vocals from the age of seven for break-beat duo Scuba Z. Other influences came from Nina Simone and Aretha Franklin, with influences later stemming from Amy Winehoue, Alabama Shakes, as well as dance acts Rudimental, and Chase & Status. Her latest tracks have all been championed by Nick Roberts through BBC Introducing. Please check out Shuna's website for more info: www.shunalovelle.com


1. What was it that got you into or inspired you to become a full-time musician?

I’ve always been brought up in quite a musical home. My dad’s a drummer and was signed up 20 odd years ago. He had a studio as well so I was really used to seeing session musicians coming in and out and ended up getting roped in for backing vocals for peoples tracks from the age of about 7 or so. I was quite shy when I was younger though and would always be writing my own songs. But my dad was definitely someone who pushed me to go out gigging and now I can’t think of doing anything else!


2. With the events of this year being very different now, what motivates you currently?

This year has been so strange for everyone I think. Musically it’s really made me focus on writing and I’ve been getting more into the production side as well. I think finding motivation to write can be hard - I found in the first wee while of lockdown, I did next to no music and then I think something clicked. If I’m going to be stuck indoors a lot, I want to make the most of that time and not just come out of lockdown in the exact same place as I was before it started. Also there’s still some great music being released and that always motivates me when there’s new tracks coming out that I love.


3. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your music / life balance?

My music life balance - honestly it’s probably helped it! Because you really are restricted to what you can do, I’ve found myself really busy with a lot of different music projects recently. I do think writing with different people is also really important, especially now as you get to bounce ideas off each other and we’ve kind of been trapped to keeping to ourselves, so having a few different projects on the go helps you stay motivated and it’s social as well.


4. What has been your most challenging experience, music or in general, to date?

My most challenging experience to date - I would say in this last year. I’m sure it’s the same as a lot of people, but we had two beautiful family members pass away in a very short space of time. But that also kind of motivates you to try and not sit around wasting your time, because you just never know what’s going to happen. I think as well spending a lot of time on your own was something I wasn’t very used to, but now I kind of enjoy it to a certain degree. I’m a lot more comfortable being by myself and setting myself little tasks rather than always wanting to be around people. Also choosing the people who you actually want to spend your time with. Everyone's time is very precious.


5. Have you found or had much support and encouragement from other musicians?

So much! One thing I love about the females in the Scottish music scene is that everyone is so so supportive of each other. There’s no competitiveness about it. Everyone's music and styles differ and the girls are genuinely just so happy for each other when someone is doing well. We have a group which is of about 50 girls who work within the Scottish music scene called @popgirlzscotland and it’s just such a lovely and motivating environment.


Also in general everyone I’ve come across so far in gigging/releasing music etc. are just such positive and supporting people which is so lovely. As a whole I do think the Scottish music scene is really supportive of each other.


6. Which method of distributing music have you found to be the most effective?

I only use digital distribution. For my own stuff I’ve been using EmuBands, but I know one of the DJ’s I work with uses Believe Digital as well. I don’t know if I could really comment on the most effective.


7. What challenges have you faced as an independent musician?

Getting people to listen to your music for gigs etc. Networking is so important - and something I still need to work on - but who you know really matters. Scotland is also a small place really so everyone kind of knows everyone in some capacity. I think the more you keep putting your name out there/ slowly things should hopefully progress - but who knows, ha!


8. With live gigs being impacted this year, have you used social media for live performances?

I haven’t really! I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing! I did one live stream as part of a performance evening with a group of other acts. It was actually really fun - a bit weird as well as you can’t see your audience. I’ve really just tried to focus on promoting music I already have out or things I have ready for release.


9. Is there any advice that you would give to other musicians during these uncertain times?

I honestly just think to stay positive and keep working at your own pace. If you have little goals and releases ready to put out, or videos etc., just keep making the music you love. I think it’s even easier now to see what other people are doing and compare yourself to them and thinking that you’re not doing enough etc. but just don’t! It’s so important to be inspired by people putting their stuff out there to motivate you to keep going and take some ideas from rather than making comparisons. 


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans going into the New Year and beyond?

We have a new release coming out on the 6th November with DJ Alex Tronic. It’s called “The Strangest Times” and coincidentally is based around the pandemic. It’s a really cool chill track that I loved the first time Alex Tronic played me the instrumental. We also did a video for it as well which I’m excited for people to see. I’m also guest hosting a radio show on EHFM with friends from DJ trio Handmade in November so I’m looking forward to playing some unreleased tracks on the show. Into the New year and beyond I’m just going to keep writing and producing. We have a few songs almost ready for release so I’m sure they will be out in the New Year. And lets just hope we can all get back out to gigs very very soon after!!


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SIIGHTS are a Scottish/Irish songwriting duo made up of Toni Etherson from Glasgow and Mia Fitz from Dublin. Since meeting in LA while Mia was touring with Hozier, they have both been writing and producing music together as SIIGHTS. Earlier this year the duo released their debut self-titled EP, which has had over 1 million streams on Spotify, and they are already working on EP number 2. Their latest track, A Little Lonely, was released on November 6th.


1. What was it that got you into or inspired you to become full-time musicians?

Mia: I'm very lucky to have come from a musical family - music was all around me growing up and my dad is an amazing pianist. I took up piano and guitar when I was a kid and started trying to write my first songs when I was around 9 years old. I don’t think I even realised what I was doing, I don’t remember ever setting out to write a song I just started doing it as a way to express myself and get my emotions out. I won a songwriting competition in this music school called ‘Newpark’ in Dublin that someone entered me into when I was 12 - I remember I was so nervous at the time to actually sing and play something I had written in front of people, but I think that gave me a lot of encouragement. I then took up Bass and Drums and sang with a bunch of choirs. I was obsessed with harmony and different music styles. I began playing as a session musician professionally when I was around 18 and also studied sound engineering & music technology. I was writing songs all the time, but also started producing them and I got to work alongside Brian Masterson (an amazing Grammy award-winning engineer/producer). I think everything kind of fed into each other and I just felt like I could express myself through music in a way that was different to anything else it was almost therapeutic. I then started writing and producing for other artists and got to tour the world playing with Hozier - by that point I already knew that all I wanted to do with my life was music and I was ready to take the ups and downs as they come (of which there are many as any creative I’m sure will know!), but it is so worth it when it is something you are so passionate about.


Toni: Growing up I was always interested in writing - initially it was poems I wrote but eventually they grew into songs. Ironically I was always really shy and not the best at saying how I felt so I guess expression through music has always been a huge comfort for me. My uncle works in the music industry too, so growing up we were always taken to the shows for the acts he worked with (Westlife/Busted/Five), so I think seeing that from such a young age also gave me a very tangible understanding of music as a career, which i'm really grateful for.


2. With the events of this year being very different now, what motivates you currently?

We're definitely motivated by the idea of what comes next - as a band we're in a really exciting place and really cant wait to release this new music, also to finally get to play live again for people hopefully. Its been a crazy year and with a lot of things seeming out of our control we realise its super important to shift our focus onto the things we can control, along with what we're grateful for. We’ve had tours cancelled and lots of trips cancelled too but at the same time we've had more time to spend with family and in the studio so we're always reminding ourselves of how lucky we are. 


3. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your music / life balance?

As we mentioned we had a lot of our tour/travel plans cancelled, so it meant that we've had a lot more time in the studio to write and create. It's been challenging at times because as creative people we're definitely sensitive to our surroundings and travel is a huge part of how we keep ourselves inspired/collaborating with people. We've just had to adapt, we did a staycation in Ireland for Toni's birthday with some friends, we took a camper van and drove down to Dingle. It was so much fun and much needed.


With a year as unprecedented as this it's pretty normal to not feel OK or be as productive as usual so we're really reminding ourselves of that on the harder days too. 


4. What has been your most challenging experience, music or in general, to date?

I think for both of us and any creator will know how challenging the industry can be at times - trying to balance promoting what you do along with the ups and downs of the industry in particular this year whilst trying to make sure you are really giving yourself time to be creative and make the best music possible.


5. Have you found or had much support and encouragement from other musicians?

Yes definitely, there is a real sense with this that we are all in the same situation this year. I think hearing others share their own experiences with it and how they are coping has helped with perspective also.


6. Which method of distributing music have you found to be the most effective?

I think it can be different for every individual artist - we released our debut EP with LAB records and love working with the team there. They're great.


7. What challenges have you faced as an independent musician?

Honestly the biggest challenge in the creative industry probably hit when Covid came around - all of our live tour dates were either moved until 2021, or cancelled completely. That was hard, and with no real clarity on what really comes next, we've really put our focus on being in the studio. We know we're not alone and that this won't last forever so we're working hard to give our fans as much as we can remotely until we can get out and play this new music for them again live. :) 


8. With live gigs being impacted this year, have you used social media for live performances?

Yes we definitely have, we released our debut EP in April this year and that was a really busy time where we did a lot of live sessions including ones for the fashion brand River Island and Sennheiser :) We definitely will be doing more of that before the year is out!


9. Is there any advice that you would give to other musicians during these uncertain times?

Music is one thing that people are really relying on to get through these times, so keep on creating, be kind to yourself, this won't last forever.


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans going into the New Year and beyond?

We're going to be releasing our second EP, which we're finishing in the studio as we speak, some exciting collaborations and touring as soon as that's possible. We did just get our first ever UK and IRL support tour opening for an artist we love - that has been postponed to next year but hopefully we get that confirmed and announced asap. :)


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Like all great bands, swim school are musical magpies, absorbing influences from across genres, time and a wide swath of artists and turning them into something that is their own, making swim school everything a modern progressive pop band should be.


Their debut release, sway, is an anthem to youthful reminiscence and long hot summers, with take you there dealing with being in a bad place with someone, breaking the cycle and living your best life, while too young to know addresses the frustration of having something to say that's not being heard. Their new single, how it should be, is an expression of the true happiness that comes with leaving a dark time behind.


The Edinburgh band are made up of Alice Johnson (vocals/guitar), Lewis Bunting (guitar) with Matt Mitchell (bass), and 2020 has been a massive year for them already having made their TV debut on the BBC and a sold out debut headline show at Sneaky Pete's back in February.


1. What was it that got you into or inspired you to become full-time musicians?

Lewis: Sadly we aren’t doing the band full-time yet - we balance our full-time jobs with the band. It can be a struggle at times but we get there. Sounds cheesy but we all just love playing and writing music together and that keeps us inspired to hopefully one day turn this band into our job.


2. With the events of this year being very different now, what motivates you currently?

Lewis: We’ve been writing a lot of new music over lockdown - it’s really given us a chance to

improve our songwriting skills. The fact we’ve been playing around with our sound a lot too is making us super excited each time we go into our practice space.


3. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your music / life balance?

Lewis: In terms of creativity it’s done us wonders. In terms of myself and Matt learning how to

refinish and mod guitars, it’s been amazing. All these things don’t quite live up to a live show

though. In terms of life we’re all just working away really, there isn’t much to do just now!


4. What has been your most challenging experience, music or in general, to date?

Lewis: Again sounds really generic, but lockdown was definitely a pretty hard thing to do, not

being able to work, see your friends or anything, isn’t something humans are good at.


5. Have you found or had much support and encouragement from other musicians?

Lewis: Other bands and artists have been great - we did a few co-write sessions with other

Scottish acts over lockdown. It was always really good to speak to other musicians during that time - definitely made us realise that everyone is in the boat just now regardless of the size of the band.


6. Which method of distributing music have you found to be the most effective?

Lewis: We’ve always used EmuBands for distribution in the past.


7. What challenges have you faced as an independent musician?

Lewis: Up until lockdown we haven’t really faced many challenges as musicians. But more

recently, like many other musicians, financing the band hasn’t been easy. Our band makes its money from live shows and sadly we don’t have that now. There is funding out there though that we’re excited to hopefully be apart of.


8. With live gigs being impacted this year, have you used social media for live performances?

Lewis: As most people have seen who follow our socials, we played Leith Theatre as part of wide days as a full band. That was amazing to do - sadly it made us crave live shows for months after though. During the peak of lockdown our wonderful and amazing Alice performed lots of live streams on Facebook and Instagram which was great.


9. Is there any advice that you would give to other musicians during these uncertain times?

Lewis: Honestly, the best advice I can give is just try and chill out, and don’t stress yourself out about not being productive, or wish you were doing something because another band did it. Everyone is in the same boat just now and it will pass - just keep writing when you feel like it and when gigs come back and we get our industry back you’ll be playing some of the best music you’ve ever written, because you’ve had the time to make it perfect. I’ve been telling people that when (hopefully) shows come back next year, they will be some of the best gigs we’ve ever been to, regardless of your playing or watching someone. Things will get better.


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans going into the New Year and beyond?

Lewis: We have lots of plans for next year, can’t wait to share it all with you :)


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The Girl Who Cried Wolf is the vibrant live project of singer-songwriter Lauren Gilmour and drummer Audrey Tait. Both women are producers and artists in their own right and have combined a love of fierce female vocalists and anthemic production to create their own brand of powerful alt pop.


1. What was it that got you into or inspired you to become full-time musicians?

Both of us have always loved music and, after studying it at University at separate times, we built our own networks and started making a living within music whether it was playing, writing, producing or teaching. Our favourite thing about what we do is its fluidity. We’re always looking for opportunities to learn, improve our skills and collaborate with other musicians.


2. With the events of this year being very different now, what motivates you currently?

We’ve found a real fire in the studio this year. We run Novasound together and, even though we can’t play on stage right now, we’ve been developing a new sound inspired by artists and producers we really love. Sometimes, the energy of new music can rival the buzz of a live show.


3. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your music / life balance?

Other than the obvious adversity when it comes to income stream that all musicians are facing this year, we’ve both found a brilliant music/life balance. Lockdown definitely left lots of creatives feeling lost and uninspired but, for us, we inspired each other to write more and utilise the time to focus on our own music. As producers at Novasound, we’re used to working with other artists so lockdown really gave us a chance to devote time to The Girl Who Cried Wolf and we’re so proud of the 2 EPs we’ve released.


4. What has been your most challenging experience, music or in general, to date?

I think for most artists or creative freelancers, this year in general has been a huge hurdle. The uncertainty of our industry against a backdrop of the world basically falling apart has been tough. We feel extremely lucky though to share a band, a business and a partnership where we’re each other’s support network. We always try to turn challenges on their head and create new opportunities and that’s what we’ve been doing this year.


5. Have you found or had much support and encouragement from other musicians?

I think the pandemic has created a renewed sense of solidarity between artists across the creative industries. We’re lucky to have a network of really talented people who have given us huge support along the way. We both took part in an online songwriting group during lockdown too, which was a great opportunity to build a new creative community of writers.


6. Which method of distributing music have you found to be the most effective?

We’ve taken advantage of Bandcamp Fridays this year - our last two releases have coincided with them and we’ve really benefited from keeping 100% of sales from new music and merchandise. Especially this year, I think audiences are more supportive of DIY artists and want to support through platforms that genuinely have the artist at their heart while we can’t all be connected at live shows.


7. What challenges have you faced as independent musicians?

I think the biggest challenge is balance; ensuring you make time for your own artistry and value your creativity as well as the work you carry out for other people or on other projects. We’ve both been really lucky that our work has always been in music from running the studio to composing for theatre. So every day, regardless of what we’re doing, we’re improving musically and staying immersed in it.


8. With live gigs being impacted this year, have you used social media for live performances?

We’ve not used social media for our own gigs, but we've watched some brilliant stuff online. It’s been great to see artists stay so resilient during the pandemic and find new ways of reaching their fans. Looking forward to getting back in a venue for sure!!


9. Is there any advice that you would give to other musicians during these uncertain times?

Take it one day at a time. Believe in your ability. If there aren’t opportunities for you, make them yourself. Be relentless. Take it seriously. Make time for your own work. Don’t give yourself such a hard time. Listen to music you love and remind yourself why you do it.


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans going into the New Year and beyond?

We’re going to keep writing. We’ve been experimenting with new sounds and production styles and the EP format has allowed us to let loose a bit. We’re really proud of the tracks from both, so we’d love to work on a couple of videos to share them with our audience in the New Year. I guess right now, we can’t really plan ahead because the world changes on a daily basis but it would be amazing to see the return of live music. Fingers crossed we’ll get back on a stage sometime soon :)


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Raised in Lanark, a small town between Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scottish artist thisisNAMASTE (aka Natasha Marie Stewart) was captivated by music and songwriting from an early age. Taking her childhood pop influences and a love of Scandinavian artists such as Robyn and Tove Lo, her first few releases have been catchy, concisely-written pop songs that linger on the mind way past the listen. Future pop beats, blended with dizzying choruses, result in promising first offerings from the rising new artist.

Earning her stripes touring as a backing vocalist for the likes of Rita Ora, Ella Eyre, Bebe Rexha and Martin Garrix, she has performed on some of the world’s biggest stages whilst developing her solo career under the moniker thisisNAMASTE. She is also an experienced songwriter and frequently joins sessions as a topliner on other projects.


With raving reviews from the likes of Billboard, Clash Magazine and The Guardian, get ready to hear a lot more from this exciting new artist.


1. What was it that got you into or inspired you to become a full-time musician?

I always loved music from an early age - my mum used to play artists like Whitney Houston and Celine Dion in the house and I loved to try and mimic them. Of course then the ‘Spice Girls’ game out and I was OBSESSED and that is what started my love of music moving forwards.


2. With the events of this year being very different now, what motivates you currently?

Well obviously live music has become pretty much non-existent this year which has been a hard pill to swallow. On the other hand, its allowed for more time in the studio and writing. Music is an escape for people, including myself, so writing new material is what motivates me. I’ve also released 3 singles this year that I am super proud of. 


3. What impact has the current situation with Covid-19 had on your music / life balance?

Its definitely been hard - like everyone, Covid has had a massive impact on all of our lives. I'm super fortunate that I live with my partner who is also a musician and we have a home studio. It's been amazing as its allowed us to still be creative during the lockdowns.


4. What has been your most challenging experience, music or in general, to date?

Again like lots of people, I’ve had lots of ups and downs. One of the challenging experiences that comes to mind is when I was trying to balance touring the world as a backing singer with Rita Ora, whilst also battling with my own mental health. It was a hard balance and I was ashamed of how I felt which definitely cast a shadow over the whole experience. Thankfully, I sought help and I am in a much better place today.


5. Have you found or had much support and encouragement from other musicians?

Yes, definitely!


6. Which method of distributing music have you found to be the most effective?

In the age of streaming services, distributing through digital platforms has been most effective for me personally. It’s a great way to get your music out there on a worldwide platform and to gain new fans across the world.


7. What challenges have you faced as an independent musician?

Rejection, competition, low self esteem, criticism, online trolling, these all play a part in every musician's journey I think, but it’s from these challenges that you learn to have the resilience to learn and keep going to achieve your goal. 


8. With live gigs being impacted this year, have you used social media for live performances?

Yes I have, particularly Instagram live.


9. Is there any advice that you would give to other musicians during these uncertain times?

My main advice would be just keep faith and keep going. We are viable.


10. Looking ahead, what are your future plans going into the New Year and beyond?

Releasing more music is a definite, but I'm most hopeful that we will be able to tour and get out and perform music to the people who are listening to it at home!


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Tina and I would both like to say a huge thank you to each of the Scottish Artists: Caragh, Kohla, Misty, Roma, Rebecca, Shuna, Toni & Mia, Alice, Lewis & Matt, Lauren & Audrey, and Natasha, for being a part of this blog post and for taking the time to answer our questions and allowing us to share their replies. We hope to continue this blog series over the coming weeks and months so please keep checking back for more updates in the very near future.

Please click on the image below to check out all the other posts in this amazing blog series...


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