It has been a real treat to pull together our Kickstart competition after two long years away. The competition always reignites our passion and desire to champion the music scene in Northern Ireland as we are overwhelmed by fresh talent.
The judges over the three distinct stages have all remarked how high the standard was this year and they really struggled to come to narrow their respective lists down. We’d love to be able to support all the artists that we encountered during the competition but as with every competition there can only be one winner.
We are delighted to announce the Kickstart 2022 Winner is Heart Shaped. The project of Kendall Bousquet, Heart Shaped wears her influences on her sleeve and crafts fuzzy indie that doesn’t shy away from any pop sensibilities. She consistently impressed our wide panel of judges and we are confident with the fantastic selection of prizes that you’ll be hearing plenty more from her soon.
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.
Kickstart 2022 Runner Up
A huge congratulations to Heart Shaped but thanks to the generous help of our partners at Forestside, we are able to offer a runners up prize to one of the finalists as well.
Again it was ridiculously tough to select but we are thrilled to say that Susi Pagel is the Kickstart 2022 runner up. She’s been likened to the sounds of Melanie Martinez and early Britney Spears. Her productivity and verve are unstoppable, just as the music gets more assured and ambitious. There are big things ahead for this young artist.
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.