About Chordblossom Kickstart

One of our aims as a local music site has been to try and help musicians here in Northern Ireland stand out and get noticed. While positive reviews and being featured on our site should be beneficial, we wanted to do more! Originally this set out as our Double A-Side competition where we gave one artist/band the chance to record a single but subsequently transformed into our annual Chordblossom Kickstart competition.

Our prizes each year include vital things like a single recording, a summer festival slot, a music video and a whole heap of other exciting things to help ‘Kickstart’ a musician’s year. You can have a read about the previous editions of the competition below, as well as listen to the tracks the finalists submitted.

Kickstart 2023

Chordblossom Kickstart 2023 in association with Forestside

Chordblossom Kickstart 2023: Initial Announcement & Entry Details

Chordblossom Kickstart 2023: Longlist Announcement

Kickstart 2022

chordblossom kickstart 2022 poster banner

On Chordblossom’s 10th Anniversary, we were delighted to welcome the return of our Kickstart competition. With the brilliant support of our friends at Forestside, we were able to offer another huge selection of prizes to a lucky musician or band from Northern Ireland.

Chordblossom Kickstart 2022: Initial Announcement & Entry Details

Chordblossom Kickstart 2022: Longlist Announcement

Chordblossom Kickstart 2022: Shortlist Announcement

Chordblossom Kickstart 2022: Winner and Runner Up Announcement

Chordblossom Kickstart 2022: Susi Pagel’s Single Release (runner up)

Chordblossom Kickstart 2022: Heart Shaped – Single Release (winner)

Kickstart 2020 & 2021

Due to the implications of the global pandemic from Covid-19, we took the decision not to run Kickstart in 2020 or 2021. It was not a decision we took lightly but given the restrictions in place and the financial pressures of many of our usual prize donors, we could not run a competition to our usual high standards nor would the winners be able to fully enjoy the benefits.

We would like to thank everyone as always for their support and hopefully we will be able to bring Kickstart back for 2022.

Kickstart 2019

Chordblossom Presents Kickstart 2019 poster landscape3

Chordblossom Kickstart 2019: Initial Announcement & Entry Details

Chordblossom Kickstart 2019: Shortlist Announcement

Chordblossom Kickstart 2019: Finalists Announced

Chordblossom Kickstart 2019: Omonoko come out on top

Kickstart 2018

kickstart 2018 shortlist

Chordblossom Kickstart 2018: Initial Announcement & Entry Details

Chordblossom Kickstart 2018: Shortlist Announcement.

Chordblossom Kickstart 2018: Finalists Revealed

Chordblossom Kickstart 2018: Pale Lanterns Crowned Winners

Kickstart 2017

Chordblossom Kickstart 2017 Cover Photo

For 2017 we are pleased to announce the return of Kickstart and are delighted to be partnering up with Help Musicians NI.

Chordblossom Kickstart 2017: Initial Announcement & Entry Details

Chordblossom Kickstart 2017: Shortlist Announcement

Chordblossom Kickstart 2017: Finalists Announced

Chordblossom Kickstart 2017: BRØR Declared Winners

Kickstart 2016

Chordblossom Kickstart 2016 facebook cover

Over 90 bands and solo musicians applied for the 2016 edition of our competition which made it really difficult to  simply choose one overall winner. After a variety of panels narrowed the entrants down to four finalists, the shortlisted bands played a packed show in the Eglantine Bar. After much deliberations it was decided that Brand New Friend were the worthy winners of Kickstart 2016. Full details of this year’s competition are below:

Chordblossom Kickstart 2016: Initial Announcement & Entry Details

Chordblossom Kickstart 2016: Shortlist of Twenty Acts Announced

Chordblossom Kickstart 2016: Four Finalists Announced

Chordblossom Kickstart 2016: Brand New Friend Win Kickstart 2016

Kickstart 2015

Chordblossom Kickstart 2015 Facebook cover photo

As always we received an astounding number of quality entries and narrowing them down was extremely difficult. After an intense public vote the entries have been whittled down to just four. These four acts played a special showcase gig on Friday 27th February 2015 where Lauren Bird was declared the winner.

Chordblossom Kickstart 2015: Initial Announcement & Entry Details

Chordblossom Kickstart 2015: Long-List & Voting Details

Chordblossom Kickstart 2015: Finalists Announced 

Lauren Bird Wins Chordblossom’s Kickstart 2015 Competition

Lauren Bird ‘Goodbye Good Luck’ Single Launch

Stream: Lauren Bird’s Kickstart Single, ‘Goodbye Good Luck’

Kickstart 2014

Chordblossom Kickstart Cover 1

As Rob took over running the site in December 2013, the decision to run Kickstart for 2014 was quite the last minute decision. It turned out to be a good one though, as yet again over 100 Northern Irish bands and musicians threw their hat into the ring  for another host of prizes. After members of Chordblossom whittled the entrants down to a long-list of twenty, the public had to vote for their five favourites. After a grueling week of voting and campaigning the final shortlist of five was complete and we unveiled they would play a special showcase gig. On 19th March over 250 people crammed into the Speakeasy Bar for Chordblossom’s first ever live show with a little help from RADAR and Queen’s Radio. After some tough backstage discussions by our panel of judges, it was decided that the 2014 winners of Kickstart would be In An Instant.

Chordblossom Kickstart 2014: Initial Announcement

Chordblossom Kickstart 2014: Shortlist Announcement & Voting Details

Chordblossom Kickstart 2014: Shortlisted Arists Interview

Chordblossom Kickstart 2014: Finalists Revealed

Chordblossom Kickstart 2014: Judges Announced & Stages Times

Chordblossom Kickstart 2014: In An Instant win Kickstart 2014

Chordblossom Kickstart 2014: Kickstart 2014 Showcase Photo Gallery

Chordblossom Kickstart 2014: We Have a Winner Podcast

Chordblossom Kickstart 2014: In An Instant Debut Single

Kickstart 2013

chordblosso kickstart 2013

The  christening of Kickstart really began in 2013 when we decided to go bigger and bolder in our ambitions to help local musicians. With an amazing array of prizes and a lot of buzz among the music scene, it was no surprise that we were hit with stacks of entries. After a few sleepless nights and plenty of grey hairs the team managed to whittle them down to twenty entries, who would be subject to a public vote to decide a shortlist of ten. A panel of local music experts then sat down and debated who would be worthy winners. In the end they plumped for Strabane’s Those Ghosts, with Sara Crockett and Howl finishing second and third respectively.

Chordblossom Kickstart 2013: Initial Announcement

Chordblossom Kickstart 2013: Shortlist of 20 Announced

Chordblossom Kickstart 2013: Shortlisted Artists – Part 1

Chordblossom Kickstart 2013: Shortlisted Artists – Part 2

Chordblossom Kickstart 2013: Final Ten Announced

Chordblossom Kickstart 2013: Winners Announced

Chordblossom Kickstart 2013: Those Ghosts Debut Kickstart 2013 single

Double A-Side

Chordblossom was launched on 1st February 2012 and on that day we also decided to launch a competition to give new local talent a helping hand. With the prize being a recording at Big Space Studios (amongst a collection of other music must haves such as a website etc.) CB saw the entries fly in. The eventual winner was a young, relatively unknown singer-songwriter from Derry called Bridie Monds-Watson. Or as you probably know her, SOAK. She used the studio time to record a little song called ‘Sea Creatures’ and it’s safe to say the rest is history!