Music Hothouse 2017 is just around the corner! The Nerve Centre's five day music creation and performance programme is coming back from April 17-21.
Young artists aged 11- 18 years old will have the opportunity to meet with other musicians, focus in on their talent and let their creative juices flow! Apply now so that you can get in on this event and be mentored by music industry professionals.
But don't just take it from us, hear from one of past participants, Niamh McCourt aged 25- a Project Manager at Smalltown America attended Music Hothouse in 2007.
What did you enjoy most about Music Hothouse?
The thing I enjoyed most about the Music Hothouse was the camaraderie, it was the first time in my life that I was surrounded by like minded people; people who didn’t necessarily view their future in the cookie cutter style, people who thought a little more outside the box, who felt more comfortable against the grain than with it and who felt compelled to be a part of this industry.
'It wasn't so much a conscious choice, as an automatic reflex'
And what did you learn? Was it a good introduction/gateway into the industry?
At the time I don’t think I fully comprehended how much I learned in those few days, I simply soaked everything in in the hopes of one day being able to put those skills to use. I think the thing that stood out to me the most was the structure. I was playing in bands at the time but having a mentor who showed me how to structure a rehearsal, to achieve a goal or being shown how an event (at that level) is structured is information I use to this day. With sound checks, stage times, break down / set up times, to name a few, brought a professionalism to the field that I had never seen, it sort of legitimised it all for me.
The Hothouse was a great gateway for me, I vividly remember coming home from the experience and declaring that music was what I was going to do, it ignited something in me that’s still burning. I don’t think I would have had the guts to take a leap into this business had I not had that exposure to likeminded people and seen that there is opportunity to thrive here. It was also my first exposure to just how male dominated this industry can be, especially 10 years ago when I was one of less than a handful of girls which is a theme that followed me through until I began working at Smalltown America (STA). Standing out for me has meant that people have always questioned my motives and so in retaliation I’ve worked harder and learned more than I otherwise would have - use it as your fuel.
'If you’re holding back for fear of being the odd person out for any number of reasons that have nothing to do with purposely making a statement, don’t.'
How did Music Hothouse prepare you for work in a professional business arena?
It taught me that it was possible to have a career in this but that it was going to take a lot of hard work to get there and I wasn’t going to get there by following a straight forward plan of action like most other careers. It also showed me that in the creative industries we rarely have one job title, we’re rarely just a musician or just a teacher or just a manager, we’re usually all three! That isn’t something to worry about - it gives you a strong foundation to jump from, an anchor point.
Tell us about some of the work that you have been involved in at STA?
I’ve worked in a few different positions for STA, starting as an intern on the record label side of things I then want on to mange the store - Independent Music. I also project managed the build of both their new websites. After this I went to Belfast to work as a Music Publishing Assistant with the music publishing branch of the company which led placing music to moving image for some prolific N.I artists such as PORTS, Ciaran Lavery and Our Krypton Son as well as international artists such as HIGHS and Talisco. After that apprenticeship ended I moved back to Derry and fell back into the label side of things, running artist campaigns which entails vinyl pressing, single releases, video releases, press, radio and social media for artists such as Broker and Our Krypton Son. I have also put my hand to numerous other projects such as our live @ STA gigs which most recently featured Robocobra Quartet.
What would you say to someone who'd like to take part but hasn't yet registered for 2017s Hothouse?
I would say take the leap. If you’re considering a career in music then this will certainly help you to feel out your options and whether this is truly for you. And, if you’re already sure, then you’ll take home a few life lessons that will serve you well in the coming years and a few contacts both in the mentors and lecturers and also in your fellow Hothouse-ers. I can promise you, you will be bumping into a lot of these people again through courses, events, jobs and conferences in this part of the world for a long time to come - so jump in and just start enjoying it!