Lancashire music hopefuls have been working with industry professionals to produce lockdown singles

It may not quite be on the same scale as Abbey Road but a tuneful project underway in Preston is set to launch a group of young musicians onto the national stage

Friday, 6th November 2020, 9:12 am

Throughout November a group of students, past and present, from the University of Central Lancashire will be releasing four singles after working with industry professionals at their in-house record label.

It is all part of a ‘four singles in four weeks’ project by students at different stages in their development, ranging from a first-year student’s live lounge style, guitar and vocal track, to a recent MA graduate.

Starting this Friday, David Shurr, Ike James, John Kirby and Matt Hall will be showcasing their musical talents to the world via the UCLan Recordings Group, based on the city centre campus.

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Tony Rigg helped to set up UCLan’s music industry masters’ programmes and UCLan Recordings.

The first will see BA (Hons) Music Practice graduate David, who self-published four singles over the lockdown period and has an an album in the pipeline, release a re-arranged and re-mastered version of Black Magic while current second year BA (Hons) Music Production and Performance student Ike is debuting City Lights next week.

Singer and songwriter Ike, 20, from Lytham, said: "It’s amazing to think my song will soon be out there for anyone anywhere in the world to listen to.

"I have learned so much in the first year of the course and it has also given me the opportunity to receive guidance and advice from really accomplished music industry people."

John, who recently graduated from the MA course, is airing Annalise on November 20 while Matt, a recent graduate from the BA (hons) music course, will be releasing All My Life, a song he recorded with his former band Rosa, on November 27 .

Ike James from Lytham is among the UCLan team releasing four songs over four weeks

The university has strong links with the music industry and chart topping producer and songwriter Lee Monteverde, helped put on this latest project.

Lee has been involved with many hit records and successful music projects including the number one hit from LMC vs U2 ‘Take Me To The Clouds Above’.

Lee, who has also produced for a wide variety of music over a long and distinguished career, said: "I was delighted to be invited to get involved with this UCLan Recordings project. I got to listen to a lot of student music and have been very impressed with the standard across the board.

"I really enjoyed discussing the work with the students and providing feedback. The students were very professional throughout and I’m thrilled their hard work has paid off. It is a great thing to be able to help support future generations of music makers."

David Shurr.... photo courtesy of John Middleham

Music industry professional Tony Rigg, a former operations director for Ministry of Sound, helped to set up UCLan’s music industry masters’ programmes and UCLan Recordings.

He said: " We are really pleased these students and graduates have been fortunate to benefit from our very strong links with industry.

Lee Monteverde has been involved in the music industry for decades and tapping into that knowledge and experience is of massive benefit to our students."

He added: "As well as supporting UCLan students and alumni, UCLan Recordings was set up to help support Lancashire’s musical eco system. Previous releases include a then 17-year-old Preston teen and rising star Harvey Brittain, who released his debut track, ‘It’s My Paris’ last year on the label. There is a huge amount of talent in Lancashire and we would love to hear from any budding artists and musicians out there."

Tony said that while the live music has been badly affected by the coronanvirus pandemic the business continues to reinvent itself adding: "Last year our MA music industry management students reacted quickly and focused their attentions on the digital music environment, setting up a number of successful projects, releasing and promoting music online.

“One of our international students set up two successful digital projects whilst studying the MA, one being a UK orientated response to Covid, keeping people occupied during lockdown, and the other based on Chinese digital platforms which is heading towards making its first million (pounds). We continue to lead research in this area and prepare our students to be resilient in the constantly evolving music industry.”

You can listen, stream and download the four tracks from the wide range of digital platforms, including iTunes and Spotify, throughout November.