We are down to the final stage of the 2023 edition of our Kickstart competition. We had an incredible longlist of twenty artists and our external panel of music industry experts have spent the last two weeks debating and narrowing down that list into a final five.
The standard was incredibly high and it was intensely difficult to narrow the list down but we are pleased to announce our shortlist.
Through a unique blend of vocally driven alt -folk and pop, singer-songwriter Garrett Laurie explores layers of the queer experience. Their EP, Can I Play Too Or Is it Just For Boys? released late last year invites us into a world that feels somehow Lynchian yet comforting in their radio-friendly pop formatting.
LipGloss are a splash of 80s glamour and 90s edge. Think an artsy blend of Alanis Morrissette meets The Cranberries with hints of Cocteau Twins and Nirvana. They are a grunge band with a catchy pop grip, pretty sounds and gritty undertones. Formed in the Autumn of 2022, LipGloss are progressive in their musical compositions and introspective lyricism and feature vocals by Roma Trisolini, bass by Cerys Ziritt, guitar by Paddy Silver and drums played by Aaron Patton.
Makeshift Art Bar
Makeshift Art Bar are a Belfast based post-punk trio, that formed a year ago. They draw influence from the explosive noise of Gilla Band and the unsettling atmosphere of The Birthday Party, combining them into our own defining sound; bringing a new energy to the Belfast music scene.
AOIBHA is an independent songwriter and musician based in Belfast. Originally trained in classical music, AOIBHA writes music that weaves across several genres including indie, folk, and pop music. With over a decade of experience composing music, AOIBHA writes with a raw vulnerability that translates into soft, haunting melodies and thought-provoking lyrics.
Moon Landing first appeared in 2021 with the single The Room is Spinning, which encapsulated the isolation experienced during worldwide lockdowns. Experimenting with musical textures, The Room is Spinning created a soundscape that peeked into the deep void of space and called out for signs of life, paying homage to Spiritualized’s Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space.
Over the next two weeks, the organisations that are providing prizes to the eventual winners will review and listen to the shortlist.
They will vote for their preferred artist(s) and those with the most votes will win the main prizes and the artist with the second most votes will win the runners up prizes.
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 Manor Park Studio
Situated in the relaxing rural surroundings of Moneyglass, Northern Ireland, Manor Park is the main base for Producer/Owner Neal Calderwood. His studio has been running since 1998 and he has worked with a plethora of our country’s biggest artists. His resume includes Fighting With Wire, Making Monsters, General Fiasco, A Plastic Rose & Mojo Fury to name just a few….
► Video for your Single – Courtesy of Broken Film NI
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. Check out his fantastic video for last year’s winner here.
► Festival Slot – Courtesy of Stendhal Festival of Art
Stendhal is the biggest and best festival on these shores and their line-ups are crammed with the cream of top international, national and local talent. Our winner will find themselves on the bill with the opportunity to make their mark in front of a huge audience. Due to timescales of this competition, it will be the 2024 edition of the festival that you’re playing.
► Festival Slot – Courtesy of United Tribes Festival
A relatively new festival on the block but United Tribes Festival have had two wonderful iterations and will be looking to improve on that in year three. Our winner will slot into the 2024 line-up of the Omagh based festival.
► Single PR Campaign – Courtesy of Butter Wouldn’t Melt
Butter Wouldn’t Melt is a boutique PR and artist management agency and consultancy. Founded by broadcaster, journalist, event promoter, publicist and artist manager Dwayne Woods. Their management roster currently consists of Irish/Brighton based vocalist and producer Meljoann and Northern Irish prog rocking-noise merchant Drew Makes Noise.
► 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, Brand New Friend & 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 Joshua Burnside to future prospects Chalk, Dark Tropics 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.
Timeline For The Competition ►
– Monday 7th August 2023 – Competition announced and entry opens
– Sunday 3rd September 2023 – Entries Close at 5PM
– Monday 18th September 2023 – Longlist Announced – Monday 2nd October 2023 – Shortlist Announced
– Monday 16th October 2023 – Chordblossom’s Kickstart 2023 Winner Announced