Graduate Awards

Outstanding MAP Graduate Awards 2023

Outstanding MAP Graduate Awards 2023 nominees.

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Elizabeth Wood – University of Liverpool (Winner)

Lizzy not only played an integral role in developing the university record label Merciful Sound, she also engaged in an impressive and comprehensive range of extra-curricular activity while studying at UoL. On top of the very impressive range of work that has contributed to Lizzy’s own professional development and the impact on the artists and businesses she engaged with, the fundraiser gigs Lizzy organised during her time at UoL that collected over £2000 for various charitable purposes speaks most to her generosity of spirit and positive attitude and influence.

Almost immediately after graduating with a first-class hons Lizzy, secured the A&R intern full-time position at Music Week’s ‘Label of The Year Award’ Winners Polydor (UMG), becoming one of the members of the award-winning A&R team.


Erin Millican – Buckinghamshire New University (Runner-up)

Now a location sound recordist and boom operator, with credits for Netflix and Apple TV, Erin began her audio career achieving Valedictorian at Buckinghamshire New University. 

Upon finding out that I had been nominated for the OMGs, I suspiciously asked my nominating tutor “Are you sure…? Why me?!” – a classic example of my seemingly unshakable imposter syndrome. However, supporting me as always, Paul assured me this was not a mistake, and was in fact a conscious and deliberate choice (still to my surprise)! It goes without saying that had I not enrolled at Bucks New University, I would certainly be in a very different position to the one I am in now, where I am proudly accruing credits within the Film and Television industry as part of the production sound teams for industry giants including Netflix and Apple TV. 


Laura James – University of Gloucestershire (Runner-up)

As an event freelancer, I am dedicating my work to shaping a more welcoming and inclusive industry for disabled and neurodivergent professionals and audience members. 

The support and teaching I received from UoG is incredible. Every lecturer advocates for your success, and you’re always kept on your toes debating the industry’s hot topics and innovations. This approach to learning has encouraged me to think outside the box and persist in building a career in a niche sector of the industry. The connections held are also just immense! Through these, I have been able to work with some of the UK’s leading charities and organisations as well as a whole host of local organisations in my short time here and this nomination is a testament to this. 


Tendayi Mutongerwa – Point Blank Music School (Special Mention)

Tendayi is an experimental jazz trip-hop musician, Vocalist, Rapper/Poet Event organiser and Producer. South London based & originating from Zimbabwe, an irresistible Afro UK rhythm emanates from his style. Tendayi has played with London’s most electrifying Jazz and hip-hop musicians, including, Richard Spaven, Tom Ford, Ayo Salawu, Jackson Mathod, and Nicola Guida. Since then, Tendayi has performed for fashion brands like Vans and TIP LDN. Currently working for the legendary RAK Recording Studios in London as a trainee assistant engineer, he continues to develop his network and knowledge. He has performed at London’s most iconic jazz venues including Jazz Café, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club and The Amazing Grace. Tendayi continues to grow his community, fan base and exciting career. 

During and after finishing my degree course I received an overwhelming amount of support in pursuing an entrepreneurial career. During my course I developed crucial networks which continue to help me in my developing career. I also have regular contact with lecturers. They guide me in what decisions to make in my turbulent journey. 


Ema Gazdík – University of Liverpool (Special Mention)

Originally from Bratislava, Slovakia, Ema Gazdík began her career after moving to Liverpool for her undergraduate studies. Ema’s first year studio recording module sparked her interest in audio engineering, which she narrowed down to live sound throughout her studies. During this time, she gathered experience both with touring crew and in venues across the UK. In her final year, Ema undertook a 6-month technical production placement at Future Yard CIC, a community music venue in Birkenhead. Although Ema’s involvement started as an internship, her knowledge, work ethic and engagement resulted in promotion to a managerial position immediately after completing her BA Music & Technology with Philosophy degree in 2021. Ema graduated with First Class honours and received a Department of Music Prize awarded to the highest mark Independent Project in Creative Music Technology, for recreating Oskar Sala’s Mixtur-Trautonium in software, using Max for Live and Ableton. As production manager at Future Yard, Ema created and managed all aspects of live show production. She was the lead sound engineer, advanced and staffed all shows, oversaw technical equipment maintenance, led practical audio sessions for training programmes, offered shadowing shifts for trainees and doubled as a lighting engineer. During her one year tenure at Future Yard, Ema mixed over 150 artists, including MonoNeon, GIRLI, Black Country, New Road. Ema also worked as FOH engineer for artists including Natalie McCool and Amy Michelle, mixing support sets for touring acts and festivals, including The Wombats, Latitude or Electric Picnic, and temporarily joined the Circa Waves touring crew as a backline technician. In May 2022, Ema joined Adlib, a Liverpool-based production company, as audio technician. In the past year, she has worked at major festivals and venues across the UK, including Glastonbury, Sounds of the City, M&S Bank Arena or O2 Apollo. Currently, Ema works as monitor engineer for Mae Muller, the UK representative for Eurovision 2023, while looking forward to a busy summer of festivals. 

I am honoured to be nominated alongside so many brilliant graduates. It is great to see so many young people following their passion and thriving in this exciting industry. Many thanks to UK Music as well for continuously supporting young people in the music industry, for recognising our dedication and hard work, and allowing us to hopefully inspire the next generations of music industry professionals. I am equally thankful for the support and guidance of my University of Liverpool lecturers – Dr Liam Carey, Dr Mathew Flynn, John Holmes and Professor Matthew Fairclough, in many fields within the music industry, ranging from film composition to live sound to creation of audio plug-ins, helping shape my interests and future career. 


Sahil Batra – LCCM (Special Mention)

Sahil is a musical director and keyboardist. He currently plays keyboards for Sam Ryder and Jessie J. 

My university and especially Pat Cotton had a huge impact on my career. I started playing keyboards when I joined the university about 7 years ago and my learning curve was extremely steep as I didn’t really know theory or have any piano technique. I now play gigs almost every night, and have had experiences such as working on TV and radio, touring with Jessie J, and playing Rock in Rio to 120,000 people. This has happened because of the amazing music and musicianship I encountered and soaked up at LCCM, partly from students but especially from the lecturers who are simply fantastic. I couldn’t leave so now I work there! 


Abby Meysenburg – LIPA

Abby Meysenburg is the founder and Director of Bed and Breakfast Live Music, a promotion company focused on using unconventional venues as spaces to host gigs. Alongside promoting, she works as the Music Industry Coordinator at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, tour manages across the UK and EU, and assists with the management of Netherlands-based band Mood Bored. She recently participated in Brighter Sounds’ Business Accelerator programme and is a member of the LCR Music Board Gender Equality Subgroup.


Charlotte King – Leeds Beckett University

I’m an agent for Clinic Talent, Hospital Records in-house booking agency. My main role is to book shows for the artists on our roster, ensuring they’re fully equipped with everything they need in order to perform at events. In addition to this, being able to network within the industry enables me to connect with new people, expanding my professional network. I absolutely love working in the music industry, particularly in the underground music scene, where I’m able to support extremely talented artists and help develop them further as artists.

I genuinely wouldn’t be where I am today without the knowledge, support and guidance from my lecturers, I cannot praise and thank them enough. I’d never thought I’d be nominated for any kind of award, so the feeling of being a nominee is pretty surreal, but I’m truly honoured to be nominated on behalf of Leeds Beckett University.


Elysha Clay – Leeds Conservatoire

Elysha; known professionally as Leasha C; is an eclectic producer, artist, studio technician and sound engineer based in Leeds, currently completing her MA Music degree. 

My time at Leeds Conservatoire has not only shaped the trajectory of my professional career but has simultaneously navigated the turbulence of my early-20s, instigating the exploration of my identity as a woman in music. The creativity I’ve unleashed, the people I’ve met, the support I’ve received, and the unique opportunities explored, have set me on a path of limitless discovery. Equally, to be nominated for the OMG’s is monumentally exciting; as a young-professional seeking to make an impact on the industry, and as a young woman seeking to make my mark on the world. 


Gemma Chester – Leeds Beckett University

Leeds Beckett 2020 Music Production graduate and JAMES Outstanding Achievement Award recipient. Studio Engineer with credits including Shania Twain, Sam Ryder and Years & Years. 

The tutors at Leeds Beckett always encouraged us to be active in the industry from day one. They inspired us to seek advice from peers and industry professionals to improve our work and build a network of contacts. It was having to seek feedback from an industry professional for an assignment that led me to get my first job at a studio after graduating. I feel very honoured to have been nominated for the OMGs, being recognised alongside other incredible graduates inspires me to keep working to progress my career. 


James Jarvis – Leeds Conservatoire

James is a film composer and in 2022 became assistant to composer – Matthew Slater. James has also worked in music preparation for major UK/US films. 

I am so incredibly grateful for the ongoing support I have had from Brian Morrell since the day I started on my degree to today! Brian’s knowledge of music, harmony and it’s relation to image is incredible. His lectures were challenging, but in all the right ways. Without his guidance I certainly wouldn’t have found the success and opportunities I’ve had since graduating. Brian has put me forward for many opportunities professionally and has invited me back to do classes at the college on many occasions. I never would’ve expected to be nominated for an award like this, but I am incredibly grateful and thankful for such a wonderful blessing like this. Thank you! 


John Connearn – Coventry University

John Connearn is a guitarist, producer, and artist from The Midlands, U.K. While collaborating with brands and musicians worldwide, John continues to release music, tutorials, and demos online most notably for Andertons and Neural DSP. 

Both on an individual basis, and between myself and the staff at Coventry university as a whole, my University tutors always had time for me and were willing to support me when I came to them. Whether it was part of my course, or in my own personal pursuits, they helped and facilitated support for me during my time at University and this has without a doubt shaped me and my path that has led me into the career I have today. 


Kamila Bawol – BIMM

Campaign Coordinator at Absolute Label Services. Previously worked at Sony Music UK in the International Marketing Team. Latin music aficionado. 

The MA Popular Music Practice course definitely kick-started my career in music. The constant support from the tutors in such a difficult time was invaluable; they made every effort to provide us with the best possible experience while studying amid the global pandemic. During my year at BIMM I gained all necessary knowledge to move on to a professional career in the music business and was lucky enough to be presented with some great opportunities. Being nominated for this award feels equally strange and amazing; it’s a perfect moment to pause and reflect on the past couple of years, to then move forward with even more drive and motivation. 


Kathleen (Fitzpatrick-Milton) Frances – LCCM

Kathleen Frances is an artist from Bristol. She first emerged with her debut EP, Through the Blue, released last Spring . Since then, Kathleen has gone on to play festivals across Europe including Pitchfork Paris and a sell-out headline London show at Servant Jazz Quarters. 

Pat Cotton has been incredibly supportive during the start of my career. He is always so passionate about sharing his musical knowledge and really encouraged me to develop my musical abilities. He is patient, calm, passionate, approachable and always fair. In my opinion he possesses the most desirable qualities in a tutor. 


Keely Liptrot – University of Gloucestershire

Keely works at social media agency CYOA and is the founder of Sass and Snarl where she hosts music industry networking events to creatives internationally. 

Because of the pandemic, the last three years of university has been undeniably tricky for any student or lecturer and that’s an understatement. Wanting to start a career in music whilst so much of the industry was and still is struggling seemed like an impossible task. I am therefore incredibly grateful for the support from the lecturers at The University of Gloucestershire and their guidance to helping me build a career in music. I’m also delighted to be nominated for the OMGs alongside so many talented graduates making an impact in the industry. 


Leah Tolksdorf – Solent University

Leah Tolksdorf, an R&B, Lo-Fi singer-songwriter is known for her honest approach to songwriting and storytelling lyrics. It’s her soulful tone alongside the smooth, chilled vocal delivery that keeps audiences captivated. 

The support I received from my uni and tutors made me feel like my dreams of becoming an original recording and performing artist were achievable. My tutors always gave honest feedback on my music, which encouraged me to work hard to fulfil my potential. I always felt that their interest and time investment in my success was genuine. My commitment and hard work was never unnoticed, and pushed me to continue working harder. Being nominated for the OMGs seriously makes me feel so happy, grateful and proud. 


Lily-May Symonds – Point Blank Music School

It was clear from her time at Point Blank that Lily-May was destined to bring positive energy to working in the radio/audio industry. She was focused and upbeat with a friendly presence during her studies, and has progressed to producing high-quality radio/podcast content for multiple outlets including the BBC. She has produced an impactful range of radio/audio content focusing on important social issues including tackling domestic abuse and breaking down taboos around discussing hysterectomies/fibroids and provides an important voice to those in the Black community in the home counties.

Lily-May is currently a Broadcast Assistant for BBC Three Counties Radio, has a BBC Sport Podcast, and her own radio show on BBC Three Counties on Sunday nights focused on the Black community in Beds, Herts and Bucks.


Louis Coupe – Birmingham City University

Louis is a song-writer and film-maker based in London. Following performances at Radio 1’s Big Weekend and the Royal Albert Hall, Louis is currently developing his debut album and a creative film series about creative process and personal growth. 

I am very surprised and honoured to be nominated for this. I never considered myself a particularly academic person, however Matt and his fellow tutors really helped me channel my own personal experiences in touring and releasing music into my university studies, and this has massively encouraged me to continue exploring these ideas, making the idea of creating other mediums of work (documentaries, books etc) a more realistic and exciting possibility. 


Meg Shaw – LIPA

Meg Shaw is a Liverpool-based artist, session musician, freelance teacher, and director of ‘Local and Live’ – a community platform working within the Liverpool music scene. 

After graduating LIPA’s music course in 2021, I’ve gone on to work in local community radio, build my own community platform ‘Local and Live’, establish myself as an artist, session musician and music teacher… all thanks to the support and education I gained at LIPA. They allowed me to grow my platform during my studies, and have since promoted my services to current students, so I can now help LIPA students grow their audience, showcase their talents, and give their music airplay on the radio and podcasts. 


Sarah Lee – Coventry University

Sarah finished her BSC last year and she has been very active by doing a placement year, she was an outstanding student who excelled in her studies. After interning with Hotvox as a live sound engineer, she was recently accepted by ITV as a Sound Assistant on the iconic British soap Emmerdale, which is set in a fictional farming community in the Yorkshire Dales. Sarah ,who is based in Leeds, is enjoying her new job.

She is also a Music producer, pop artist and music creator with strong output.


Scarlett Thomas – Buckinghamshire New University

Currently working for Palm Artists / Three Six Zero as day to day on Sonny Fodera & Gorgon City Previously worked – Day to day Joy Anonymous Other work includes – MDL Beast, Saudi Arabia Reading Festival, Wirless Festival, Liam Gallagher – Knebworth 

I’m not sure where to begin with the continuous support I have received from Paul Fields since the day I stepped foot into university. As cliche as it sounds, I really owe him for the belief he has always had in me. He has always encouraged me to go the extra step, even since graduating, and without the opportunities he provided me with while I was at university, I wouldn’t be where I am now. 


Sophie Photiou – Birmingham City University

Since graduating from Birmingham City University in 2020, I was lucky enough to receive my first job in the music industry as a Marketing Assistant at AWAL. As the assistant, I help support the marketing team on their artist campaigns, whether it be an EP release or full album campaigns. My passion for music began at a very young age, from being influenced by my parents and sisters but it has continued to grow since studying and working in the music industry. I take pride in the artists and music that I help represent and love that I am apart of the evolution of music, just as much as those artists are. 

I feel extremely grateful and special knowing that I have an amazing support of music industry professionals advocating for me. I’d like to thank Dr Matt Grimes, an incredible lecturer at Birmingham City University, for putting me forward for the OMGs and for always championing my work during and post university. I’d also like to mention Dr Asya Draganova my dissertation / project supervisor, who throughout my studies taught with such enthusiasm and devotion. She is a true lover of music and always challenged me to grow and develop in the field. The support Matt and Asya continue to give me, has in fact inspired me to want work with other young music industry professionals, to connect on our passion for music and learn from each other to continue to perfecting our skills within this industry.