It was a difficult decision not to run Kickstart in 2020 and 2021 with the competition being an ever present feature in our ten year history. But the pandemic with all its challenges and restrictions put too many obstacles in place to run it in the manner it deserved.
With the country starting to open up it seemed only right that we get stuck back in and do our bit to give a musician or band a great opportunity to Kickstart their music career in 2022. We are very pleased to announce the return of our artist development program Kickstart for 2022.
This year we are delighted to bring on board Forestside as our partner for the competition. It has been refreshing to work with an organisation that has so much passion and desire to support the burgeoning arts scene in Northern Ireland.
With their support, we have teamed up with a host of wonderful organisations to provide an incredible collection of prizes for one lucky band or musician. Since we were unable to run the competition in 2020 or 2021, we are also throwing in a runner’s up prize for the first time.
If you want to join the ranks of our former winners SOAK, Brand New Friend, Omonoko and Lauren Bird then don’t delay, get your entry in today!
Prizes For Winner ►
► Professional Career Advice – Courtesy of Third Bar Artist Development
Third Bar Artist Development is run by Davy Matchett and Gary Lightbody with the objective of supporting artists from Northern Ireland and helping them achieve their ambitions. They have helped shaped the careers of many local artists including A Plastic Rose, Sister Ghost, Strange New Places, Brand New Friend and The Florentinas. You will get an opportunity to sit down with Davy and discuss how best to utilise your prizes and take the next steps in your career.
► Single Recording – Courtesy of Big Space Studios
Big Space Studios is the brain child of Declan Legge and his recording studio has been the birthplace of tracks from a long list of our favourite artists. With the likes of Owen Denvir, Silences, SOAK, Ciaran Lavery and Jealous of the Birds all spending time there, you know your single recording is in good hands.
► Video for your Single – Courtesy of Broken Film
Broken Film is the latest endeavour of Jamie Neish. After years spent drumming for the legendary More Than Conquerors, Jamie has turned his hand to video work in recent years. His portfolio is stunning and his client list reads as a who’s who of the NI music scene.
► Festival Slot – Courtesy of Stendhal Festival of Art
The sun always seems to shine when we visit Limavady for Stendhal (mostly…) and you can take your place among Sister Sledge, The Wood Burning Savages, Hayseed Dixie & Sasha Samara as you join the impressive line-up for Stendhal 2022.
► Festival Slot – Courtesy of Sunflowerfest
We await the first line up announcements for this year’s Sunflowerfest but if you’re successful in Kickstart then your place on the stages of Tubby’s Farm this July will be assured.
► One Month PR Campaign – Courtesy of Thrill Merchants
There is no point putting all the work into creating an incredible single and breath-taking video if no-one sees or hears it. Thrill Merchants will do their utmost to ensure you secure both written coverage and radio airplay of your new release.
► Professional Photoshoot – Courtesy of Avcunningham Photography
Aside from doing a sterling job as deputy editor at Chordblossom, Aaron Cunningham is an excellent photographer. His work with Joel Harkin, Big Daisy & the mighty New Pagans has seen his shots featured on album covers, gig posters and music publications here and beyond.
► Single Launch Gig in Belfast – Courtesy of Chordblossom
We know our way round a launch gig at Chordblossom and we’ll work with you to create an event to remember as you launch your new music out into the world.
Prizes For Runner Up ►
► Professional Career Advice – Courtesy of New Champion Management
From established artists like Ryan Vail & Joshua Burnside to future prospects CHERYM, Laytha and Lemonade Shoelace, NCM hold arguably the finest roster of artists from these shores. You’ll have the opportunity to sit down with head honcho Ben Magee to flesh out a plan to develop your career.
► Single Recording – Courtesy of Half Bap Studios
Tucked away in the Cathedral Quarter, Half Bap Studios celebrated their tenth anniversary last year and are firmly planted as one of our prolific studios. Recent highlights include their work on the NI nominated album for Dani Larkin and recording Lemonade Shoelace’s winning entry for the Vans music competition.
How To Enter ►
You must meet the following criteria to enter:
- Be a musician or band originally from Northern Ireland
- You must not have released a full length album or be in the process of recording an album for release in 2022.
- You must not be related to or have a family member work at any of the sponsoring organisations or organisations that are providing prizes.
If you meet these criteria then please follow the link below to complete your entry.
Timeline For The Competition ►
– Monday 7th February 2022 – Competition announced and entry opens
– Saturday 5th March 2022 – Entries Close at 8PM
– Monday 21st March 2022 – Initial Longlist Announced
– Monday 4th April 2022 – Finalist Shortlist Announced
– Monday 18th April 2022 – Chordblossom’s Kickstart 2022 Winner Announced
Frequently Asked Questions ►
– How do you define a musician or band from Northern Ireland?
For the purposes of this competition, you will be considered eligible if you were born in Northern Ireland; or at least 50% of the band’s core members were born in NI; or alternatively if you have made your creative base in NI for the past three years and will continue to be based in NI for the rest of 2022.
– I have entered the competition before, am I still eligible to enter this year?
Yes, as long as you meet the normal criteria. However, please send through a different song.
– Is there a restriction on the genre of music for Kickstart?
No, we welcome applications from musicians and bands of any genre.
– Is there an age restriction for entries?
No, we welcome applications from musicians and bands of any age.
– I don’t have a studio quality recording, can I still enter?
Yes, we aren’t looking for the most polished of singles. We will listen to all tracks and demos that are sent in.
– Can I send through a link to my music on Spotify/Youtube/Soundcloud/Bandcamp or WAV file rather than an MP3?
NO! We are only able to accept an MP3 version of your track. If you have a file in a different format, please convert it using software available like media.io.
– Is there a showcase gig this year?
No, there will not be a showcase gig this year.
– Who will judge the different stages of the competition?
For the initial shortlist, the decision will be taken by the Chordblossom team of contributors.
For the final four, a panel of people who work in the music industry here will take a decision. Previously this has included local promoters, journalists and other industry professionals.
– I have a question that you haven’t answered, what should I do?
If you have any other questions, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you as soon as we can.