I don't tend to do naming. I have worked in the Arts, the Music Scene and in Theatre my entire life and supported many people to get started. I love to do this. I don't need to tell everyone about it, it's just something I do.
Though there have been 1000's that I have supported over my 30 year career, I really want to celebrate the success of one person in particular because it is so utterly inspirational and has literally gone, stars the limit!
When I was in my early thirties, I decided to organise an Event called Women's Voices because it was very difficult back then to get gigs if you wrote your own stuff and were acoustic.
I trawled the pubs and clubs and they wanted covers and an electric band, art centres wanted named acts. When I did manage to get gigs, I was heckled or barely heard over the ring of the till. So I set up Women's Voices at Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff, to give a platform for women at different stages of their careers, to experiment in a nurturing environment.
Many of the women who took part, have gone onto have wonderful careers in the arts, music, bbc, novelists ...
I am not saying that Women's Voices was responsible for this, but for sure, I created a nurturing platform for women to try out things they couldn't do elsewhere.
I contacted the local Welsh College of Music and Drama and spoke to the Dean, asking if there were any students that would like to join us. He told me about a singer/songwriter who had been in bands but that was writing some amazing songs in her own right as a solo artist. I said okey dokes, let's meet her and give her a spot.
She was a little thing, with a big mop of curly hair and a wide open smile. Sat in the chair, her guitar was almost bigger than she was. I believe it was her first gig performing her own material. Or at least one of the first, but you wouldn't have known.
20 years later, I invited her back as our headline act at Celtic Womenfest. I was now Creative Director and Founder of a Women's Music Festival at The National Botanic Garden of Wales and she had been collaborating with a young lad called Ed Sheeran. He had just released an EP called 'Songs I wrote with Amy'.
For 2 years Amy came and took part in my Celtic Womenfest. The second year her and Ed were preparing to release a song they had written after a night out called Thinking Out Loud. Amy told us that it wasn't even originally going to be on the album, but Ed loved it and had managed to convince the record label to change the CD press and add it. I bet they are glad they listened to his instinct.
Watching Amy on facebook this last few weeks, flying off to Nashville where she is now recording her own album, gives me so much joy in my heart. Her story is evidence that the dream can happen. She has worked so hard and dedicated her entire career to her craft. She has 2 beautiful daughters and a lovely husband and juggles motherhood with a new life literally jet setting around the world.
You can read about Amy on her own website HERE
When we help each other, when we hold space for each other, when we genuinely celebrate each others successes, we are being the best part of humanity. Well done Amy. I am so proud of you. You have restored my faith in the Music Industry. Your journey shows us all that nice people, good people, great artists, dedicated artists, those who live and breathe their gift, are recognised. It is not just a big machine ... there is a heart in the music industry.