Following the successful inaugural year of the OMGs in 2016, MAP institutions had the opportunity to nominate another graduate each for their outstanding contribution to music in 2017. The nominations were judged by UK Music’s Skills Programme Board that is chaired by Paul Latham, COO of Live Nation and has representatives of all UK Music members. The judges looked at their university career, their career following graduation and their potential to make an impact in the future. This is an annual award to identify and recognise some of the most dynamic and successful individuals to come through MAP institutions.
1. Brendan Johnson – Southampton Solent University WINNER
Brendan graduated from Southampton Solent University in 2014 having consistently demonstrated his strengths to his lecturers. Following on from his hard work he was put forward for various opportunities, eventually leading to tour band leading roles for The Voice, Shayne Ward (X-Factor winner) and most recently, West End star Ryan Molloy, and has bigger plans for the future. Since leaving Solent University, Brendan has been asked back as guest lecturer on multiple occasions, and has been teaching guitar at Coda Music Centre, whilst freelancing in transcription work, recording sessions for clients including Red Triangle Productions and function bands for Tailored Entertainment. Brendan has also been playing for up and coming artist LST, who has been busy on the summer festival circuit, BBC introducing sessions, having also supported Jamie Cullum, Akala, Kano, P Money, Wretch 32, Devlin and many more.
2. Satin Chousmer-Howelles – LIPA – SPECIAL MENTION
Satin is an Essex-born Liverpool based R&B cellist-singer-songwriter. She has worked as a session musician, featured performer, string arranger and solo artist across a range of genres. Most recently she has worked with award-winning blues singer Connie Lush, platinum selling indie pop band Space, award winning producer Steve Levine (Boy George, Pet Shop Boys) as well as recording her Soul/R&B and Grime infused debut album with producer Jon Withnall (Coldplay, Space, Louis Berry).
She graduated from LIPA in 2015 and is currently studying Psychology of Education at masters level with a particular interest in popular music & education. She prepares to tour her debut album around the UK later in the year and will be supporting Roachford on his UK tour.
3. Sophie Lucken – BCU
Sophie graduated from Birmingham City University with a BA (Hons) in Media and Communication (Music Industries) in 2015.
From attending gigs from a young age, Sophie has always had a passion for live music, which led her to set up her own promotions company, On The Rocks Promotions, where she put on several shows in the West Midlands.
Alongside her studies, Sophie also carried out work placements at a variety of different music corporations such as Kerrang!, IFPI and BPI. Within a few months of finishing her degree, she then went on to work for BPI, who represent the UK’s recorded music industry, within the Content Protection team.
During her time at the University, it was very clear that Sophie appreciated the importance of networking and was constantly engaging with the music industry in some form to help further develop her career. This led to her winning the Ozzy Osbourne award for academic development in her final year.
4. Laura Mills – BIMM
Upon graduating from BIMM Brighton with a first class honours degree in Music Business in 2016, Laura became a co-founder of the newly established Brighton Music Office, where she continues to work as the Futures & Innovation Director. The Brighton Music Office was created to conduct research into how Brighton’s music industry operates and to build a music strategy for the city, with an aim of boosting the local economy and creating new opportunities for musicians and industry professionals alike. Laura’s work includes a research project for SoundCity, on progression routes and pathways in music education. Laura and the Brighton Music Office will be succeeding this endeavour by facilitating future projects, such as implementing music industry knowledge into music education at an earlier stage, to encourage progression and circulate awareness of opportunities.
5. Ben Spurgeon – University of Hertfordshire
As part of Ben’s University of Hertfordshire degree, he took a year out to work with Sound Technology. This placement year developed his industry knowledge and experience and he continued to work with the company whilst finishing his final year. After graduating with a first class degree in Audio Recording and Production he became a full-time Application Engineer with Sound Tech. His role sees him supporting, designing and mapping sound systems for a range of venues across the country. Specialising in high-end studios, he is the UK technical representative for both Apogee and Solid State Logic which leads to him working with many high-end clients. His degree with Hertfordshire taught him a vast quantity of knowledge and to be able to apply this within the industry is something he’s really grateful for.
6. Alexandra Marshall – Leeds College of Music
Alex is an English/Zambian freelance Cellist and Vocalist originally from the South-East, now based in Leeds after graduating from Leeds College of Music working internationally under both disciplines.
An acclaimed performer, arranger and manager (Adelia String Quartet), Alex has a varied portfolio of work for various high end ensembles including Urban Soul Orchestra, Wired Strings, London String Group and Parallax Orchestra, with whom Alex has performed for Annie Lennox, Enya, Andrea Bocelli, Marc Almond, Deacon Blue, Bring Me The Horizon, Tom Odell, Tinie Tempah and Don Broco at venues and events including The Royal Albert Hall, The Royal Festival Hall, and London Fashion Week.
As a vocalist, Alex has fronted the London Electronic Orchestra, has provided lead and backing vocals for various studio sessions across the UK and also fronts the luxury entertainment band Kudos Functions UK.
Alex was the recipient of the Principal’s Prize at Leeds College of Music in 2014 for her contribution to the conservatoire and enjoys promoting specialist HE music provision to aspiring young musicians wherever possible.
7. Cara Smith – Bucks New University
Cara graduated from Bucks New Uni in 2015 with a BA (Hons) Degree in Audio & Music Production. Throughout her time at university, Cara worked as a sound technician at the Students’ Union running the live events, as well as working for Sony recording artist Kelvin Jones as part of his management team. As a result of her hard work at university, Cara was put forward to work at Glastonbury Festival 2015 as part of their ‘Next Generation’ scheme, which saw her working for NEG Earth Lights on the Pyramid stage. Now working full time for Delta Sound as a Project Manager on the Royal Albert Hall account, Cara overlooks the sound requirements for incoming productions at the hall, which have included Bjork, Juan Diego Florez, the IMG Champions Tennis and the BBC Proms.