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10FROM10 | Scottish Artists (Part 4)

On this blog post, both Tina and I have asked 10 Scottish Artists 10 questions each relating to their music and about their 2021 plans. 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 continue on with the blog series, as we had always planned to expand beyond Twitch. Links to each of the featured Artists social media and music websites are included below.


With playful lyrics, warm harmonies and her signature lilting voice, Alannah Moar has cultivated a powerful rawness in her music that will stick with you. From the age of fourteen, Alannah has been writing and performing her own material; teaching herself guitar and later finding her footing in the local folk scene of Aberdeenshire. Since relocating to Edinburgh, Alannah has spent time developing her sound, working alongside the likes of Berta Kennedy, Matthew Alexander and Gus Harrower. Consequently, her music has matured into a rich amalgamation of folk, pop and rock music, reminiscent of Kate Bush, Orla Gartland and Annie Booth.


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

I've always been a very creative person and when I was in primary school I was determined to be everything. Our family has always been a fan of Eric Bogle and I think that sowed the seeds of songwriting in me - I tried a few times when I was younger but was never that serious about it and it was only when my Skype boyfriend broke up with me at 14 (naturally) that I wrote a song I was actually quite excited about and had the guts to perform for everyone in my music class. I don't really remember why I did it, but from that point I pretty much decided that this was the path for me.


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

Purely the love of music and expression I think - I have such a clear picture of who I am as an artist now and I'm excited to keep creating and re-imagining my older material and just getting it out there for people to listen to. I'm trying not to be fixated on goals and be more content going with the flow.


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

Music definitely took a back seat this past year. I had a horrible case of writers' block and a complete crisis of confidence so I mostly worked and saved a little money. I did find myself coming back to my unfinished demos though, which I had put on the back burner because I was so busy trying to write the 'next' song. There were definitely pros and cons this year.


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

I think some of my composition portfolios for university were definitely challenging, particularly the ones where you felt dry of inspiration but still had to hand in something. It was quite good fun in a weird way though; all of us would end up pulling two or three all nighters back to back to get the thing finished and it would just be full of hysteric laughter and stress and then, when it was finally done, we'd get absolutely smashed together. I can't say I miss the actual workload though.


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

Absolutely! When I was growing up in the folk scene of Aberdeenshire, I had so much support from local musicians and bands like Colin Clyne and Emerald Sunday etc. who would always ask me to play with them when I was in my teens so that I could get some great experience. When I went to uni, it was such a collaborative and supportive environment, particularly within our group of friends - we still do our best to go to each other's gigs, collaborate and give advice to one another. I'm also a part of the Facebook group Popgirlz which is a fabulous space to ask questions, learn and support one another. I think I've been very lucky, I don't think I've ever come across anybody who wasn't encouraging in some way.


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

So far, the digital platforms have been the easiest for me. I had CD's printed when I was 17 and I don't think I would do that again in a hurry - it's a big investment and you have to be pretty sure you'll make it all back (which I still haven't done). I think using a digital distributor gives you the best value for money if you're not already established.


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

Money is the big one - you have to be very careful how you budget and plan for your releases/gigs and negotiate your pay. The other part I struggle with is the management/publishing etc. I haven't got a team behind me so I am responsible for plugging my owns songs to stations, blogs and other places and getting my own name out there which can be really hard to navigate sometimes.


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

I have! I've been lucky enough to be a part of a few online/zoom gigs with Renfrewshire Leisure and the National Library of Scotland - very strange not being able to see or hear an audience, but it was so wonderful to be performing again!


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

Work with, and support, other people. We all need each other right now and building good relationships with other musicians is the best way to help yourself and others (it's so easy now to be liking, sharing and commenting on social media, you don't even need to meet them in person!). I would also say, try not to compare yourself to others (or your pre-pandemic self) and do your best to accept the situation instead of willing it to be better - the past year was completely outwith our control and we have all been impacted in completely different ways so it's ok if you haven't done everything you wanted to do.


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

Releasing music (Middle of the Night is available to stream from the 14th of May) and gigging (when it's allowed)! Aside from that, I'm just going to see what happens - I don't want to make too many plans in case they're scuppered again.


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Carla J. Easton is an award nominated singer-songwriter, releasing 4 critically acclaimed albums, writing for Belle & Sebastian and BMX Bandits. Championed by BBC6 Music, she has performed at festivals across the UK and internationally (Pop Montreal, The Great Escape, Celtic Connections, Indiefjord and Pop Cologne) touring the UK with Camera Obscura, The Vaselines and Aidan Moffat.


In 2018, she released the SAY Award Shortlisted Impossible Stuff, produced by Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire/British Sea Power/Leonard Cohen) which featured singles that achieved Record of the Day, Guardian Track of the Week and BBC Scotland Single of the Week.


Her third album WEIRDO was released in 2020 via Olive Grove Records - a record that Bandcamp Daily described as “all volume needles buried in the red, glitter bursting from every chorus.” The Line of Best Fit praised its “maximalist” tendencies while hinting that Scotland has found its own answer to the pop titans Carly Rae Jepsen and Taylor Swift, with Pitchfork calling it “bubblegum pop [with] the scrappy glamour of a homemade theatrical production”. It is a commercial success, with the first pressing of vinyl selling out before release, and a subsequent second pressing features artwork from the Turner Prize nominated artist, Jim Lambie.


She has just completed writing an album with Simon Liddell (Frightened Rabbit) collaborating with musicians Jonny Scott (CHVRCHES) and Lomond Campbell (Heavenly Records).


Photo of Carla by Austin Temby


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

It's really hard to say! There has always been music in my house. I have 2 older brothers (with quite a significant age gap) and so, growing up, there was always music magazines and newspapers and the sound of records and CDs filtering through bedroom walls. My mum always encouraged me to be creative and from a very young age I loved painting and drawing. I started piano lessons at 9 as another means to be creative. Always music and art. My brother Murray had a huge Jackson Pollock print on his bedroom wall surrounded by posters from magazines/old tour posters. I honestly couldn't distinguish where the music posters ended and the artwork began. When I was 17 and deciding what to do after high school it was either to study music or go to art school. Murray said 'if you go to art school you can start a band' and that's exactly what I did. I was really lucky to be taught by tutors that loved music as much as me - at Edinburgh College of Art there was Paul Carter and Stuart Bennett and at Glasgow School of Art studying my Masters I always remember Ross Sinclair (Soup Dragons) saying to me that it was ok if I wanted to follow the path music was taking me as I would always have art in my blood.


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

I love creating. I can't help creating. It motivates me to be happy and nothing makes me happier than creating - whether that be drawing, writing or, recently, flower arranging/scultpures. I love collaborating and have been very lucky to have managed to work out ways to do that remotely with friends and peers.


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

Being an independant musician can often mean you take on every opportunity possible to guarantee income for the year. With touring, I'm often lucky if I can break even based on the fees I get/capacity of smaller venues that I play. I used to have a studio that I took on in 2015 when I moved back to Glasgow and have since had to give up due to rent increases and, basically, paying rent on a space each month that I couldn't use. In terms of work/life balance it's been the same - there are busy periods and quieter periods. I have been so grateful of the support of my fans this year - they have gone above and beyond whether that be purchasing my music or signing up to my Fanclub at the start of 2020. I can still often have a week where there is something to be done every day and it feels like there aren't enough hours in the day to complete all my tasks but 2020 was the year I decided not to be so hard on myself and make sure I have one day a week that is protected just for me. I can create if I want, I can read a book all day if I want, I can listen to records all day if I want - ultimately it's my choice. Post Covid (and dependant on what that looks like) I hope to continue to have one protected day a week. The introvert in me has been quite happy holed up in my bedroom listening to music, reading, writing and looking after my houseplants all year.


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

Many things, mostly accepting who I am and being happy with who I am and embracing all the things that make me me. Understanding my creative process and not being too hard on myself.


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

Massively. I have always been lucky throughout my music career to have had and still have mentors. Peer to peer support from musicians and collaborators globally is wonderful. A big worldwide musical family.


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

I will never not love holding a vinyl in my hand with my work on it. For me it is the full stop. I guess it ties in with my art school education - you have your sketchbook period working things out (writing and demoing), then the part where you make the work (recording in the studio) then you have the finished piece (holding a piece of vinyl wrapped in artwork in your hands). I don't focus on streams - I feel it's a pressure I don't need or want to have in my life. I'm happy for the support I have and with each new release I like to think it's more people to connect with through music. Bandcamp has been a fantastic platform for me (and Olive Grove Records). Similarly I love connecting with people via my newsletter and always respond if someone writes back. I don't get caught up in stats and don't want to. I'm more interested in the connections we make with one another through music. When you buy music or art you are enabling someone to create more music or art. I take great care in making sure anything I put out there for people is special - it's the music fan in me! I think of all the merch and records and zines and books that I have bought over the years from bands and musicians that I love deeply. A record collection is carefully curated. I'm always honoured when someone wants to add my record to their collection.


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

I'm always tired! You miss family occassions at times. There is always something to do. At the end of the day, I have full creative control over everything I do which is a wonderful thing to have - especially as a woman making music. It's hard work but it's work I enjoy. I don't own much but I have the most amazing memories of incredible experiences that music has brought into my life! I've been lucky to travel the world because of music and meet some truly inspiring people along the way.


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

On very few occassions! Live streaming really exacerbates my anxiety. I did a Zoom tour in 2020 though which I thoroughly enjoyed - it was so wonderful to see the people I was performing for. I think that's what I miss most about no live music - the people you meet, whether that be the team around you making it happen or the people in the audience. As a gig goer myself, I miss making new friends with people who are at the same gig as me. I love music communities. I miss the Teenage Fanclub Fanclub!


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

Don't be too hard on yourself. Do what you can but put yourself and your mental health first. Reach out to friends/peers if you need to - we are all in this together.


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

In July, the remastered 5th Anniversary of my debut album Homemade Lemonade is released (on pre-sale now), I have completed writing and recording an album (remotely) with Si Liddell from Frabbits. We are called Poster Paints and our debut single will be released in June. TeenCanteen are releasing an unheard album recorded in 2012 in August 2021 and I'm writing and recording solo material - so all go and a lot on! A mix of the old and the new and the new old.


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Ceiti is a Glasgow based singer-songwriter and artist. Her music contains elements of a variety of different genres/styles including melodic/alternative rock, ambient and atmospheric dark alt-pop and soul with elements of electronic and more. Her lyrics focus heavily on mental health and current world issues including the environment, human tragedy, empowerment and more. Ceiti's music proves that combined genres can work and fuse well effortlessly together. Her debut single, Blue Roses, is a perfect example of this, with powerful and haunting vocals, lush harmonies, dynamically drenched piano accompaniment as well as the backing of sweeping guitar lines, strong and moving bass lines, spine tingling electronic elements with the drums bringing forth more of that dramatic element.


After receiving a grant from Young Scot's Nurturing Talent - Time To Shine Fund to record her debut EP, Ceiti is currently crafting and working on each track for her first solo EP which will be released this year. The EP itself is centred around mental health and her battles with it, in particular OCD. However, the last track will convey an empowering message to end the journey from struggle to rising up.


Each track will have something different and unique and be more of a collaboration between multiple musicians and producers, but with a similar pattern and theme of mental health. Each lyric draws you in with her imagery, taking you on a journey of her struggles into some dark places and trying to find strength, hope and faith throughout it all. Relatable, emotive and very personal, she shares and bears her soul through her music.


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

I've been doing music for as long as I can remember, since I was a little girl really. I grew up in church - all my family attended church on my Mum and Dad's side. My Grandma was and my Uncle Ian is a pastor. Both play instruments and can sing. Other people in both my Mum and Dad's families can play instruments and sing, so I guess it was something ingrained in me from an early age. I used to take part in nativities, choirs, the church worship band, etc. I studied Music as a subject from 1st-6th year and during that time I took part in choirs, bands (playing trumpet and singing), and all sorts of musical ventures. The Jazz and Wind bands were award-winning bands and we travelled to play competitions and concerts in Scotland and down South, winning multiple awards. We even played in Paris which was very cool. I studied a year in Musical Theatre and studied Music for 2 years at the Academy of Music and Sound.


I've fallen in and out of love with music so many times - I've left it and came back to it. But despite everything, it's always been there, always been a constant in my life. I had always written my own songs but never thought to do anything with them, just always felt I'd maybe go into musical theatre or teaching or community work or something. But it was only a couple of years back when I became inspired to fully pursue music full time whilst I was studying a Photography course at college. I love Photography, but at the time I was either focusing on one or the other which meant one would suffer. I made the decision to pursue music once I started working with a producer on my debut single which I released last year, which sparked something inside me that I really could do something with my songs.


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

You just gotta keep going don't you? I have said it before but I do feel this pandemic really does separate 2 different types of musicians right down the middle; those who will use this time to write as much music as possible, plug away at their instruments etc - you know, those kind of sickening people who can play 3+ instruments and can practise for 8 hours a day, the prodigy musicians, haha! Then there are those musicians who really struggle with motivation and can't bring themselves to write, play, record, or do anything musical at all. I'm definitely the latter - I SERIOUSLY struggle with motivation, but, I made a conscientious decision somewhere a month into the first lockdown that I couldn't let myself sink financially, mentally, spiritually. I've come to accept a lot of things about myself and tried to keep consistent with things like meditation, yoga, outdoor walks, etc., and try not to get angry at myself if I don't manage to practise AT ALL during one week. I guess what motivates me is the hope that things will get better. I have a tattoo which says 'Faith' one way and looks like a cross the other way. I always look at that tattoo and try to remind myself that life won't always be like this and that one day, life will resume and get better. But for now, we must adapt and keep going, even if it's just a little bit everyday - that's still better than nothing.


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

Kinda related to the question above, but it's had a massive effect on music/life in so many ways. It's been super difficult at times as I've lost and gained work - being self-employed means nothing is ever consistent so you're always worrying about your income. I've had to make some difficult decisions about whether I stay at home during lockdowns or stay with my boyfriend in Livingston. For the first lockdown, we were apart for almost 2 months and it was super difficult - definitely had a detrimental effect on our relationship during that time. It's always been a case of, do I stay at home and miss him or stay with him and miss my family. Not easy decisions to make. Then there's the anger, frustration, anxiety and numbness that this whole situation brings. Musically, I do feel like it's been a lot easier. I managed to convert all my tutoring and recording work to online which helped. Although I have lost work, since this time last year I've been involved in a lot of musical projects, released my debut single, a collaborative charity single, a 6-track album with my duo and another single, a music video and a lyric video, written new music, etc. I've also kept up regular teaching and recording work and am currently working on my EP. I've recorded podcasts, done several interviews, and got to the semi-finals of a songwriting competition. I've discovered some places I never thought I would by going out on long walks. I FINALLY passed my driving test and got my first car, so honestly, it's been a complete rollercoaster of positives and negatives. Mentally, I've been all over the place with anxiety, depression and OCD, but I've learned a lot about myself too.


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

With music, I guess it's a few things like motivation, self-belief, feeling absolutely alone as an independent artist doing everything yourself. I've really struggled in motivating myself to practise my instruments and trying to teach myself things like production. I've really struggled with, admittedly, comparing myself to other artists and feeling so inferior to others, feeling like I'm never getting anywhere, like no one cares about my music, etc. I struggle with consistency, putting out interesting content every week, building my fan base, I just don't have the skillset to do so. Lifewise, my biggest challenge to date has definitely been my battles with mental health, most recently OCD. It started around about 2019 and it's stayed with me ever since. It has made me become a shell of who I used to be, it's changed me, it's made me much more self-aware and anxious. It has affected my relationships, my outlook on the world, made me think I was going crazy and like I didn't want to be on this planet anymore. But it's also made me a much stronger individual with the ability to use these horrible experiences with OCD to push me to live a better life. I still seriously struggle with it still to this day, but I try to use it to my advantage in terms of raising awareness about it, spreading the word, advocating for those too afraid to reach out.


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

Yes and no. Yes in the way where some people have been so so genuine and have made an effort to listen to my music, share it around, buy it, follow me on my social media pages etc. People I didn't expect have popped up to me saying how much they like my music and my duo's music too. Some people are not so genuine unfortunately, people who come across like they're supportive or care or are just genuine people, but they either let you down in some way or disappear from your life. Those are the people you don't want in your network, the people who let you down on a consistent basis, aren't reliable and aren't very genuine. I just don't have time for people like that anymore - I'll just cut them out of my life straight away as I guess I'm just numb to it now and have more respect for myself.


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

I've been using Distrokid. I really like them because they send out your music to loads of stores, more than you'd think, they have some really cool features i.e. they add your music to clips from movies or TV shows so that you can promote your release in a fun way. They've got some other really cool features and they have totally affordable payments. I don't have any complaints about Distrokid, it's so easy to use and feel it's been a much more pro way of doing it. I've found Instagram to be a lot more useful than Facebook in terms of algorithms, I think more people pay attention on Instagram. That's definitely been more useful in promoting my music.


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

I've talked about it before but so so many things. I've really struggled to build my social media following on my pages and keep consistent with interesting content. I've struggled to get streams on Spotify and really get my music out there and heard by any big names or companies. I do feel on my own with it a lot of the time, I'm doing absolutely everything myself aside from things like production, etc. Honestly, if I could produce all my own music, I totally would. The other issue about being an independent artist is that you have to make smart decisions about who you work with. I've been too impulsive at times, jumping into working with producers or other people just because I wanted to get the ball rolling with something, without really learning or knowing much about them, and then being completely let down by them due to their unprofessionalism, unreliability and their lack of interest or commitment. I've wasted money unnecessarily due to this. It's definitely no man's land at times being an independent musician.


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

Yes, I've done a good few live streams on Facebook and also pre-recorded videos that have premiered on Facebook, Zoom, Twitch and YouTube for different projects and my own music. I'll probably aim to do a live performance of the songs from my EP once it's released either pre-recorded or live streamed.


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

Just don't give into that voice in your head saying it's not worth it, you're not going to go anywhere, music is dead etc. DON'T LISTEN TO IT!!! Even if you have zero motivation, do at least a little bit everyday and don't make yourself feel bad if you don't. Learn to accept things that are outwith your control, try to adapt as best you can and find ways around situations that are outwith your control. Go easy on yourself and do things that make you happy whether that's long walks, watching your favourite TV show, cooking, yoga or running, painting, reading, playing XBox etc. Whatever that may be, spend time working on music for a bit then reward yourself with chilling and doing something else. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed by everything and need to take a break, go outside for a walk, listen to some music whilst you're walking or do some exercise - something to take your mind off of it. Don't compare yourself to others, just focus on your stuff, you are where you're meant to be and there's no point rushing anything. Work and collaborate with other musicians, it opens up another world for you and it really does help with motivation if you have something to work on with other people to help keep you accountable. Try and stop yourself from feeling like giving up if you feel you're getting nowhere, just keep going, all those days doing bit by bit will pay off. When you climb a hill to reach the top, you don't know what's just over the brow of the hill, there could be more hill or there could be the apex - either way, you can't stop, you gotta keep going until you reach it.


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

I've got loads of plans, haha! I plan to work and build up live sets with a band for my own music as well as my duo's. I plan to release my first EP and more music with my duo. I hope to get out gigging as much as possible and hopefully maybe do some festivals or even tours. I hope to build up more recording work and do some more music projects whether that's collaborative or community work such as music workshops/classes, performing at care homes, hospices etc. I hope to get back out with my function band and get some more weddings booked. I hope to someday achieve my Music Degree and a Masters in Music Therapy. I hope to start my own music business which I have written plans for, get more into production and produce my own music as well as get into voice acting. I hope to travel, learn more languages, become better at my instruments and learn new ones. I hope to write a book or books, do yoga teacher training, spend more time working outdoors. I hope to become a much more well-rounded musician, person and learn to love life again! I have lots of ambitions and plans to keep me going and dreams to chase and I don't want to stop until I achieve them even when it feels like the world is against me!


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emaé is a Scottish born soul/R’n’B, singer-songwriter who grew up in Aberdeen before she moved with her family to Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana. The versatile lyricist and vocalist is now based in London, where she released her first album Old Heart (2018), which includes Northern Lights, an ode to her hometown. Hailed as ‘one to watch’ by many, including BBC Introducing and the MOBO Awards, emaé has recently been awarded the PRS Foundation - Women Make Music award, and has been working on new music, which promises to be a rich and arresting addition to the musical landscape in 2021.


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

It’s funny because I can pin this down to one pivotal moment but now looking back, it’s also really clear that my whole life has been leading me towards music… corny as that sounds. I have a musical story for every chapter.


The defining moment was when I was maybe 17? 18? I mentioned to my choir leader that I was thinking of taking up the piano and the next time I saw her, she was carrying a small, old church keyboard and a massive brown box full of worship music. So I went home that Sunday with the keyboard under one arm, all this music under the other and no real idea what to do. I remember sitting on my parent’s bed googling how to play the chords A, E and D because, from what I could tell, that covered about 80% of all modern worship music (!) I’ll never forget this day because the next time I looked up from the keys was maybe 7 hours later. I hadn’t eaten all day, if I was hungry, I hadn’t noticed. It felt like 30 minutes had passed, tops. I was probably playing horrendously but I knew immediately who I was. I’m not sure how to describe it, but it felt like everything in the whole world made sense.

Shortly after that came writing my first real song and, having recently moved to London with my family, it was easy to gravitate towards the creative scene. Before long I was spending all my time going to gigs and open mic nights and the rest is history.


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

Actually, if I’m honest, I feel like I’ve come full circle back to being in love with music without any expectations. For all of us, the industry disappeared overnight and when it did, I had to pause and think about what I really wanted and where my career was going. I had started to tour internationally at the end of 2019 and some amazing opportunities came my way, which were sadly cancelled, but although I was disappointed, I realised that being in the music industry had definitely made music a job to me. I was always thinking of my career agenda and actually… most of the time, I wasn’t fully enjoying myself. So when all that was stripped away, I was able to rediscover a much purer motivation for music, to practise and play, which I’m so grateful for.


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

I’ve felt so overwhelmed and drained that I didn’t have the mental strength to create. During the first few months of this nightmare, I was just focused on getting through the day. My day job went completely crazy because I’m a pharmacist, so as soon as the first Lockdown started, I went to work for the Government in the Department of Health.

I mentioned before that I feel like I’ve rediscovered the love I had for music, and that’s very much because I was forced by Covid to almost put my music career to one side. So the moments that I did steal away to play my piano or sing, it was to escape reality, not to achieve some grand music career master plan. Instead of forcing myself to be productive and keep writing new songs or planning campaigns, I spent time learning new things. I decided to pick up the guitar again and really start learning how to master my voice. Over the last few months, I’ve learnt more about myself, who I really am as an artist than any other time in my life.

So Covid has definitely had a massive impact on me, but not only on my music/life balance, but also my music/life perception and what I’m really out to achieve.


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

My biggest challenge has always been balancing my day job with my music. That infamous transition into becoming a full time artist.


I never had the option of focusing solely on music. My parents have always been supportive of me but there wasn’t a universe where I wouldn’t go to university to study a ‘proper’ degree. So although being a pharmacist is very interesting, and it’s allowed me a lot of freedom from a financial perspective, it’s also a massively demanding career and there are times where I’ve almost lost myself in it. Between work, the constant studying and trying to find the energy to write music or go straight to the studio after a long day, at times it’s felt impossible to keep up both but over time I’ve found I always find the stamina to keep going.


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

This is a difficult one… I feel very fortunate because so far, all through my journey, I’ve been in one group of really supportive musicians or another. I’ve always had mentors and like-minded friends in the arts (and outside) to encourage and cheer me on. Adding to that, I’ve also had formal support from PRS for Music, Help Musicians UK and other organisations, so I definitely can’t say that I haven’t found support in the industry. But I still think as a whole, we have a very long way to go. The music industry is an extremely cliquey and elitist place, if I didn’t have friends who were on the same journey as me, doing music would be very, very lonely. I still find access to some circles completely air tight, even though they claim to be inclusive on the surface. So yes I have found support, but I count myself lucky and I don’t really think it should be that way.


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

I think I’m still figuring this out, I’ve had moderate success with the streaming platforms… a couple of my songs have been playlisted internationally on bigger streaming platforms but going for those playlists kind of feel like trying to win the lottery… there’s a competition there that doesn’t sit quite right or feel very healthy to me, so I don’t put too much hope into that system.


These days I think I’m moving more towards the Bandcamp philosophy of reaching people directly, so actually the next music I put out will focus less on the big numbers, and more on reaching people who really just love my sound.


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

Hmm, this definitely goes back to what I was saying earlier about balancing my time. But also, I think being able to forge my own lane in the industry is a constant challenge. Being strong enough to make the music I want to make, not the music I think will be popular. Having the conviction to work towards a 20 year career or even a 50 year career… how amazing would that be (!) Yeah, just not losing myself and getting swept up in the trends, especially when it seems like that’s the only way to make progress.


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

I’ve done a couple of live events but it’s always been because someone asked me to as part of a larger project. I have to admit I haven’t done a live gig just for my audience… mostly because I’m so close to releasing new music. The next time I gig will be to show everyone what I’ve been working. Which, I can’t wait for!


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

Musicians and the industry have been hit so hard by this pandemic… honestly, I think that just managing to make it though this thing is a huge achievement. So I think anyone reading this should just be easy on themselves. The artistic journey we’re on is our own. It has no rules, there are no time limits and we don’t get disqualified because we weren’t productive every second of every day. So, rest. Well… at least that’s the advice I’ve given myself.


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

I’ve been back in the studio now for the last few months and the music I’m making now is so exciting to me. Back in 2018, at the end of Old Heart (my first album), I was proud of my work but I had been so caught up in making sure everything was perfect that I think I robbed myself of the joy of making music. So this time around, I’ve taken a complete 180 and I’ve committed just to have a lot more fun. I really hear a difference in my sound! I’ve just been given the Women Make Music grant by PRS so over the next few months so I’ll be releasing some really exciting projects with their funding. I’m super, super close to being able to share my new sound with everyone.


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Jordan Phillips is a Scottish vocalist who combines an instinctual focus on lyrical content with subtle textural moments, and an intense vocal vulnerability.


Jordan performs with function band Juniper usually in venues across Scotland but most recently, in livestream concerts with Gilded Balloon and David Tennant. Performing with Juniper has strengthened her love for music and the release that comes with collaborating with close friends. In addition to this, she is regularly involved in session work and capable of finding her own truth in other musicians’ projects. Through establishing her own writer’s voice, Jordan’s compositions draw inspiration from artists like Angel Olsen, Phoebe Bridgers, Hayley Williams and Faye Webster. Themes of home; comfort and discomfort; grief and shy optimism shaped the writing that materialised in her final year at Edinburgh Napier University.


Photo of Jordan by Charlotte Cullen


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

I've been singing and performing from a young age and attended a stage school where I studied musical theatre for a while. Music has always been a release for me, so I decided to focus on what aspect of performing made me happiest, and it was singing. I then went on to study Popular Music at Edinburgh Napier University and specialised in vocals.


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

Probably the fact that we still have music to listen to and enjoy when everything else seems to have grounded to a halt.


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

I really miss seeing my friends everyday and being able to play music with them in person. I'm hopeful that we're able to do that soon though. One thing the pandemic has allowed for is collaboration through recording, but it doesn't replace the social aspect that comes with making music. For example, Erin Ferguson and Finlay Mowat played on my debut release, Something Otherworldly, and it's mental that we all recorded remotely and haven't had that experience of playing it together.


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

I went through a period of bad vocal health when I was overusing my voice and not supporting it correctly. Singing was the only thing I wanted/needed to do and I couldn't. It reinforced the importance of looking after my voice and not burning myself out.


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

Yeah, and it's been great to hear all the new Scottish releases that have been coming out recently. I think there's a real sense of a virtual community that's aided with playlists and social media content that allows you to connect with other musicians even in times like this.


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

I distributed my single digitally through EmuBands and they couldn't be more helpful. Platforms like Spotify and Apple Music are accessible but not the most supportive of artists, so really, distributing anywhere you can is effective. I collect vinyl and love actively searching for a record and playing it in full. It seems more personal I think, and it's something I'd like to do in the future.


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

I think imposter syndrome is a feeling known all too well to musicians. We tend to be among the shyest people. It can be difficult to claim the space as your own, especially when that space is dominated by people who look or sound nothing like you.


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

I've been involved in creating videos for social media and streaming pre-recorded content which has been fun, and without the pandemic, I might not have had the chance to work on these things.


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

I would say try not to get caught up in the negativity that the pandemic has imposed. It's obviously easier said than done, but I've tried to look at it as a chance to write more and work on different skills like production and video editing since I'm not able to gig. That led to me releasing my debut single and having more material lined up, which I didn't really have at the beginning of the pandemic.


However, on the back of that, I'd say don't feel pressured into releasing or posting content because you see other people doing it. Your involvement in music should be exactly that, yours.


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

If we're able to, I'm looking forward to performing live and meeting people involved in the Scottish music scenes. I'm a newcomer and whilst I've had great support online, I can't wait to actually get out and meet people and watch live gigs.


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Jordan Stewart is a singer-songwriter and student from Paisley, Renfrewshire. She first appeared on the local music scene in 2016 at the annual 'Spree Festival' held in Paisley where she performed two of her original songs along with James Grant and Michael Cassidy to round off their songwriting workshop facilitated by Create Paisley. After this, Jordan went on to perform with Grant again at his 'Paisley the Untold Story Show' held in Paisley Abbey in 2017 and since then she has been performing regularly. One of her most rewarding gigs was playing with Carol Laula at her 'Wicked Women' shows along with a fantastic line up of other female singer-songwriters from across Scotland. At the end of 2019, Jordan released her single and debut music video, X-Ray Vision, with the help of Erskine Music and Media Studios which made it to number 9 on Radio Havers 'Christmas Tap 10'. Throughout 2020, Jordan began studying Commercial Music at the University of the West of Scotland and is enjoying furthering her education and developing her skills even further and is looking forward to sharing more music in the future!


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

I have always been a huge music fan and really loved to sing! I remember always being surrounded by music at home and in school from a young age and thought it would always be really cool to work within this field in some capacity. I’m still trying to figure out where exactly I want to end up, haha, but I’ve been really lucky to have such a supportive group of people around me that really encourage me to follow my heart.


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

Motivation is something that I honestly find really tricky sometimes, but I would say that trying to embrace the current situation has helped! For me, coming to terms with what is going on and trying to find the silver lining each day has been really beneficial in motivating myself to continue creating and working. I think that there is so much negativity in the world right now, understandably so, and trying to find the positives inspire me to keep going!


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

It’s been a bit of a mixed bag to be perfectly honest, haha. On one hand last year during lockdown having a lot of free time to work on myself and my music was really beneficial as I suddenly had all this time to really try and improve on my skills and learn new things. However I definitely found that my mental health took a huge dip like many others I’m sure, so actually trying to find motivation to work on music was certainly a struggle. I think I really needed my mental health to dip though as strange as it sounds in order to really acknowledge the problems and actually make an effort to essentially get better which I am extremely grateful for!


In terms of where I am now, I have started to really make an effort each day to reach out to the people who mean the most to me in my life and form new friendships and a relationship which has been great. I’ve also been writing a tonne and starting to properly enjoy creating music again!


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

As I mentioned in the last question, I’ve really struggled with anxiety and depression for a number of years and I think trying to get to a better place mentally has probably been my most challenging experience to date. It’s difficult because it really infiltrates into all areas of your life and takes over in a way. I lost interest in everything that I used to love and isolated myself away from family and friends which made trying to create music seem almost impossible for a while. I am really happy to say that I’m doing much better now though and have got to a place where I am excited about life and the future!


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

Yes! I have been so incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to work with some amazing people who have always been so kind and supportive to me throughout my career so far and have made so many new friends! I think that the local scene in Scotland is so supportive of others and is really welcoming to anyone just starting to get into music!


I have played with Carol Laula a couple of times now for her ‘Wicked Women’ shows and all the women on the line-up including Carol are so lovely and always offer so much encouragement to each other! A special mention to Marie Collins, Linzi Clark, Marina Rolink, Lisa Kowlaski, and Kodak Ghosts!


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

I usually distribute through EmuBands which I find super easy to use and effective! They distribute your release to all major platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music and it’s a pretty quick process!


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

For me, content creation has probably been the biggest challenge. I’m quite clueless when it comes to visual production and am often stuck when it comes to what to post, haha! I think I’ve gotten better over time though but I’m definitely still learning the most effective content creation methods.


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

I have a couple of times! I played live for the Paisley Songwriters Guild’s most recent event which was really fun! I have also been hosting Create Paisley’s monthly open mic online which has been a great experience as well!


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

Better times are coming! We will get through this and come out stronger at the other end! Please make sure to look after yourself both physically and mentally and reach out for help when you need it.


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

I am hoping to release my debut EP over the next year or so which is really exciting and hopefully get back to gigging as soon as it is safe to do so!


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KAIT is a Scottish singer-songwriter living in Glasgow. Originally from Inverness, KAIT moved south to study at the Glasgow School of Art to pursue a career in design. She has always had a flair for songwriting and has been in bands through the years, but never released any of her own music until last year.

Her debut EP, FIVE, explores the experiences of life through a mix of genres and haunting lyrics, and a little bit of sass.

Keep an ear out, as there is a lot more to come from KAIT...


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

Music has weaved its way in and out of my life since my teens. I've always written songs but in the past couple years I've started recording and sharing it. My step-dad is my biggest inspiration, he's got such a varied music taste and I definitely picked that up. Growing up, I was always in awe of the new sounds, lyrics, and riffs dancing through the house and I think you can hear that in my music as I don't stick to a specific genre. I wouldn't describe myself as a full-time musician, more a part-time bedroom musician!


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

I'd say I'm motivated by the down-time we've been forced to have. Being away from friends and family has been tough, so expressing those feelings through music has been fundamental for me. That being said, motivation comes and goes very quickly and sometimes Netflix is the tastier choice for my brain.


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

I'm very fortunate to have a steady income and job, so have relished in the uninterrupted time I've had with my musician boyfriend, spending hours locked in our recording studio. It's been amazing to detach from literally everything and re-assess who you are and what you want to do. I'd say being forced to slow down and switch off actually gave my life balance.


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

Em, apart from crippling anxiety and imposter syndrome..? In seriousness though, I'd say the fear of sharing my music has been the most challenging experience for me. FIVE was an emotionally turbulent child of a very tough couple of years where I was struggling with family life, relationships and lack of self love. My lyrics are very personal, but I needed those songs at that point in my life and if that helps others then I felt I had to put myself together and share it.


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

I've a lot of musical friends and they have been amazing in pushing my music and getting it heard. The feedback from musicians I don't know online has been great - it boosts your mood when those in similar situations to you reach out and let you know how it impacted them. I have an incredible support base, my family and friends really hold me together; they're my biggest cheerleaders.


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

Spotify is definitely the biggest interaction, it's fun seeing all the countries the tracks are being played. Super insightful.


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

I guess the biggest challenge is being heard? But, I have been taken back by the amount of attention FIVE has had and it's really cool to see people reaching out to let me know they're enjoying it. Apart from that, I'm not sure as I'm only starting my journey. I'll let you know when they arise!


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

I haven't yet, no! I've been contacted for a couple so am working on getting a set together. Watch this space..


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

I'm one of the lucky ones being able to work from home, so I'm not sure my advice is very valid. I'd would say, stay honest with your music because people are listening. I can't wait to get out and support all of the local musicians I've discovered online this year.


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

I'm going to keep making/release music and start performing live, whether that be from the bubble that is my studio or in the real world, who knows. Most importantly, I'm hoping my 2021 is full of beer, hugs and catching up on lost time.


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Linzi Clark was born in the historic textile town of Paisley. The singer-songwriter has been building her legacy from a young age, soaking up inspiration from the people and places around her and channelling her experiences into beautifully crafted songs that soar and yearn with love, warmth and curiosity.


Having already made an indelible impact on the Scottish music scene as one of half electro-pop duo DRIFT, the singer is ushering in an auspicious new chapter of her musical story with the announcement of new solo material. Bringing her own unique individual talents to the forefront once and for all, the new project presents her in an entirely different light – pairing her deep, soulful vocals with striking arrangements that balance the rich storytelling tradition of artists like Julia Jacklin, Regina Spektor and Kate Bush with modern Americana hues.


Never one to take herself too seriously, there’s a generosity to her songwriting; a gorgeous simplicity and inherent modesty that exudes a universal relatability. They are songs that aim straight for the heart and don’t miss. Having spent the last year holed away in her home studio, Linzi Clark is all set to emerge with her most personal project to date. That she has emerged from lockdown more creatively inspired than ever, is testament to her unwavering commitment and infectious imagination.


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

I think probably watching music videos when I was little and thinking they were the coolest people I'd ever seen and discovering my own taste in music was a big inspiration when it came to experimenting with my own sound. I think the first time I wrote my own song, I was surprised at how easy it was but also how 'right' it felt, from that moment I knew that music was going to define a big part of my life.


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

I'm definitely motivated to write about themes of change in general and so the last year provided lots of opportunity to reflect on that in my writing. I also felt a big urge to try to not second guess everything, I always struggle with that, but I found a new motivation in trusting my instincts when writing. By having more time to reflect, I've realised how much songwriting helps me to process things and I've found that I've been able to fully get into the creative zone over lockdown. It's been comforting knowing that there's no pressure to immediately release music or to be out gigging, it's nice to write songs for the joy of writing songs with no big plan or agenda.


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

I think having time to write has been a big motivation for me, it's been nice to have time to indulge in the songwriting process. Normally I try to squeeze in writing around my busy schedule. I think having the time to miss live music and gigging, has also made me realise how important that aspect of my life is, it's given me back a fire to push to keep doing that. I've realised how boring life is without it.


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

I think not giving up is always a challenge, it's really easy to get into a negative head space in this industry. There's something about having to be vulnerable and putting yourself out there that can be equally as terrifying as it can be rewarding. Having to dig deep to continue to believe in yourself and your own abilities can be difficult sometimes. As an independent musician it can feel impossible to keep going off your own motivation and self belief especially when trying to manage a work/music balance. I find it challenging to get out of the 'just get a real job' mentality sometimes, but surrounding myself with like minded and supportive people really helps to take the edge off.


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

I've been really lucky in that regard, I've had great support from other musicians and from the local music scene in general. I also received funding from Renfrewshire Leisure 'Cultural Development Fund' in January to record and release The Kitchen and lots of other songs which have still to be released and so there's a general consensus of supporting local musicians in my hometown, that level of support really helps to motivate you to keep going!


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

I enjoy releasing music on Bandcamp as it feels more like a community space with not as much pressure as Spotify (which consistently gives you streaming data that you mostly don't want to hear). Bandcamp feels a bit more tangible in a way. Financially, it's nice to be able to offer fans the option to pay if they want to. I'm always surprised by people's generosity. I've found it's a great way to raise money for issues I care about too.


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

When you're not naturally the kind of person who likes to self promote or has a business brain, it can feel like a bit of a minefield trying to get your voice heard in the online space. With that, you need a lot of self belief and forward planning to be able to have the financial means to fund your work. It can sometimes be hard to reign in creative ideas in order to not put yourself in debt. The freedom to do what you want and when you want is nice though, and the pay off when you make something your proud of and know it was all down to you can feel pretty great.


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

My band DRIFT have taken part in some online gigs over the past year which were actually really fun to film. I'm not a big fan of livestreaming just because it fills me with fear. I'm hoping that my first gig for my solo music will be in front of real humans, that would be lovely.


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

If you're a bit like myself, try not to overthink things and remind yourself why you're doing it. It fills me with so much joy knowing my friends and family are enjoying my music. To then know that strangers are taking the time to reach out and say they've been listening too, is such a lovely experience, that's what it's about. When the algorithms chat becomes too much, just remember it'll be worth it when your songs are out there flying free!


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

I'm really excited for the rest of this year as I have lots of new music to share very soon. I'm looking forward to playing my first live gig with a band too, very excited to share what I've been making over lockdown!


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Scottish musician and vocalist Megan Black is a young aspiring artist bringing her new innovative takes on blues, pop and rock music to the forefront of the up and coming Scottish music scene. Gathering an array of inspiring sounds from Kate Bush to Stevie Nicks, Megan is conjuring a sound for timeless music that keeps the sounds of generations to come ever connected to what galvanised them. After self-releasing her debut single, Fur Coat Queen, in April 2019, Megan has caught the attention of many in the music scene within Scotland. This song brought her into the top 10 for the new BBC Singer Songwriter Award. Megan has recently released her third single, Hang Out Dry, and is currently working on new music for 2021. All of her music is available on all usual streaming sites.


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

I think for me, the idea of doing something creative and liberating made me want to go down the route of being an ‘artist’ of some sort. If you meet me in person, I’m a bit too ‘hippy-dippy’ to be an accountant or some shit like that (or really have any real responsibilities), and as I got into music, something just clicked for me that this is what I should be doing with my life.


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

This year has been very difficult for everyone, especially people who rely on being around others to make money or get new opportunities. Performing is one of my most and least favourite things. This lockdown has given me a chance to reframe my mindset and learn to enjoy performing a bit more – I was far too self-critical before, so it has been nice to learn to appreciate how fortunate I am to be able to do what I do with the support network I have around me. I’ve also had the chance to be more creative with my writing and enjoy that process more. I guess what motivates me is creating new things and looking forward to performing/seeing others perform again.


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

Covid has made me re-evaluate my approach to writing and to my own mental state. Like I say, before I was too anxious and full of ego to enjoy doing what I do, so having that reality check that I actually do it because I love it and not to please other people has been pretty refreshing. In terms of my life itself, things have slowed down, and I’ve caught up on my reading list that I never got round to before – overall I can’t really complain too much.


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

My most challenging experience has probably been coming to terms with being who I am in front of other people. I have a tendency to want to make people like me and when they don’t, I take it way too personally. From coming out as queer and using my music to reflect that, I’m starting to own who I am a bit more and actually go with what I want to do. If people don’t like my music, there’s not too much I can do about that. I’m now starting to look at it as though the right people will enjoy my music. Plus, I’m never really going to be cool and I’m kinda okay with that now (I’d still have preferred to be cool but it is what it is).


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

Yes. Other musicians are possibly my biggest supporters. I’ve also met some of my favourite people through gigging. I find women in music supporting each other to be a beautiful thing as there still is an obvious gender divide in music. Overall, I think all musicians and artists should be supporting one another - we’re all trying to do the same thing at the end of the day.


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

Because I haven’t released too much music yet, I’d live to try a few more options such as vinyl and CD’s (which may or may not be happening in the future *wink wink*) so no comment for now.


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

I find it challenging to be paid fairly for gigs all of the time, to sell tickets well without paid advertising and to get my music out to more people. It’s hard to increase your following without having a bigger budget or a label but I still feel as though I’m attracting the right audience slowly but surely.


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

If I’m being completely honest, I hate live streaming. It feels very artificial without an audience or any real vibe. I have been posting on social media but tending to use it for new ideas or to support charity events. I know some people love posting online gigs or making music from their own home and it’s been great to see; it’s just not for me.


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

I would say just do what you’re comfortable with. Try to stay creative and pick up a little hobby or something too as that may keep you feeling a bit calmer and possibly strike up some ideas. Write down ideas when you get them, play as often as you can but don’t force it! People expect because we have more free time we should have written a few albums by now, but it’s not that simple. My advice: be kind, enjoy what you’re doing and trust in your own creative process – everything will fall into place the way it should.


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

I think my plans would be to learn from this whole experience and be grateful for how fortunate I am in my life. I’m healthy and safe, my family are healthy and safe, and I have a roof over my head. I have to take time when I need it, enjoy being a big hippy, and not taking things too seriously. I can’t wait for gigs again, I want to try new things and, of course, go to the pub 😊.


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Serena Sophia is a 26 year old singer-songwriter from Glasgow who released her debut single, Diary of Thoughts, in December 2020, with the video released on February 20th 2021.


Serena has been in the music, theatre and acting industry for a number of years - mainly in theatre and musical theatre, studied music at the University of Glasgow and then went onto study a Masters in Musical Theatre at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, but this year decided to take the leap of faith and release her own music!


'I have always written lyrics and music, but it was throughout 2019 and 2020 I finally found my sound and discovered who I was an artist and was finally ready for my first release'.


Diary of Thoughts is a song about heartbreak, loss, love and also strength. The lyrics were derived from sections of diary entries from 2018 which was an especially difficult year for Serena due to a toxic relationship and break up. The song began production whilst stuck working on a Cruise Ship in 2020 and was finished when Serena was finally home in Scotland.


'The song is so personal to me as it describes the emptiness, pain and heartbreak I felt throughout that time but also the moment I decided to finally take care of myself and control of my life and my own happiness'.


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

I have always been involved in music and musical theatre from a very young age. I went to dancing first of all and then my dance school turned into a theatre school and I found out - I could sing! I then started to play instruments - saxophone, piano and guitar and began to write songs. I got my first guitar at the age of 14 and I fully thought I was Miley Cyrus - I learned literally every song she had released. The guitar was pink and I had a matching Hello Kitty strap. It was EPIC! I then became fully involved in the musical theatre world which I have an agent etc. for in London - LOTS of love to Debbie <3. I have been working for a few years in jobs to do with that - my most recent was working on a Cruise Ship which I actually got stuck on due to Coronavirus for 80 days! CRAZY! Throughout 2019 and 2020 I really found my sound as an artist and I began to write more seriously. I was living in Ibiza and I started to write music all the time, I think I left the island with about 40 demos, haha! This was when I started to work with my producer and we began to write good stuff that I would be happy to release.


There has never been a time where I have thought I could ever live without music. It is something that is a part of me and who I am - it isnt just a hobby, it is 100% my life and I cannot wait for the journey ahead.


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

I think in this current climate it is very difficult to stay motivated and find the energy to get up in the morning, nevermind write music, but saying that, I have never felt more motivated than I have over this past while. 2020 was the year I fully emerged myself into my music career and I have the pandemic to thank for this. As I said I am normally really busy doing other jobs in musical theatre and I don't live in the UK ever, so to be able to have the time has been amazing. What I keep saying to myself is this time is valuable, when are you ever going to have this amount of time again?


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

Covid-19 has been a complete PAIN, especially in terms of my actual career. Like I said, I have an agent and I was supposed to be working on a cruise ship as a singer the whole of last year, however this was obviously halted due to the pandemic. But it has meant my music/songwriting career has flourished so much more which is something I have always longed for.


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

Releasing my first single was so challenging. I had no clue about lots of things such as marketing, promotion, streaming, etc. but I have learned along the way. Of course these are things I do wish I knew before releasing my first song - but you've got to start somewhere! Also no one realises but the money aspect when releasing your own music is insane. If you don't have a manager - it is SPENNY!


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

Yes, actually - the support has actually been amazing! Everyone has been so kind and lovely! I am also a part of this group called 'POPGIRLZ' which is for female Scottish musicians where we share knowledge and our work - it is a great community to be a part of! I have also had people contact me from all around the world aswell. It has been truly amazing!


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

Definitely Spotify is where I have had my biggest support - basically all of my streams have been there. I don't find Apple Music or iTunes that effective, but I don't use these services myself therefore this could be the reason why. I have also had a lot of support for my music video for my song on YouTube - it reached nearly 1000 views in like 2 weeks - it doesn't seem a lot but I had virtually 0 subscribers before and now I have a good few, which I'm chuffed with! Also Soundcloud was great to release my song on - I had people who followed me already on there.


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

One of the biggest challenges is my social media - Instagram is literally the biggest pain in my behind. I have a fair few thousand followers on my social media, but Instagram's new algorithm makes it impossible for people to see it. Sometimes out of my 3300 followers about 600 people see my posts - it sometimes makes me think what is the point, especially when you are releasing something like a music video/single or something like that. This is something I have definitely had to try to overlook and not get too worried about, if people want to see my stuff - they will! It is one of those things, it doesn't determine who you are as an artist/your creativity/progress.


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

I haven't used my social media for live gigs, but I post a lot of covers on my Instagram which get a good following, which I want to continue to do. Live gigs is something I am definitely looking into!


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

I would say use this time, use it wisely, be productive, find it within yourself to get up and write music, write lyrics, find things to inspire you. This is time which we will never get back, use all the free time you have to progress as an artist, grow, achieve your full potential!


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

This year I am going to release more music. My second single is actually getting mastered as we speak which is exciting! I also have a few exciting things in the pipeline which include overseas work which will all be revealed soon! I am also looking for management to help me as things get a little big bigger and exciting on my end - but we will see what happens!


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Tina and I would both like to say a huge thank you to each of the 10 Scottish Artists: Alannah, Carla, Ceiti, Emaé, Jordan P, Jordan S, Kait, Linzi, Megan, and Serena 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 even more over the coming months so please keep checking back here on the website and on Twitter for all our future updates.

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