Our Kickstart competition always brings us a lot of joy and the 2022 edition was no different. We discovered some wonderful hidden gems and watched on like proud parents as Heart Shaped and Susi Pagel released their singles into the world.
2023 has run away from us a little bit but we are finally ready to launch Kickstart 2023. Our artist development programme will once again support two unsigned bands or musicians record and release new music.
We are delighted to say that Forestside are returning as our partners for Kickstart. It really wouldn’t be possible to deliver the competition or the subsequent artist development programme without their support.
Lee Cutler, centre manager at Forestside commented:“Forestside are delighted to be a sponsor to Chordblossom in their Kickstart competition for the second year in a row. We have always been advocators of young emerging talent particularly singer songwriters and therefore we are delighted to support any project that shines the light on Northern Ireland artists. Chordblossoms’ coverage on the NI music scene is exceptional and we are only too happy to support them with Kickstart 2023.”
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.
How To Enter ►
You must meet the following criteria to enter:
- Be a musician or band originally from Northern Ireland or have been living in Northern Ireland for the last three years.
- You must not have released a full length album or be in the process of recording an album for release in 2023 or 2024.
- You must not be signed to a record label or have a record deal. This is a competition for unsigned musicians.
- 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 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
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 in 2024.
– 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 longlist, a panel of people who work in the music industry will give their opinion. In previous years this has included music journalists, promoters, recording engineers among others. This year the panel includes Nikki MacRae, Stevie Lennox, Charlene Hegarty, Edwin Mc Fee, Taylor Johnson, Francesca O’Connor & Aine Cronin-McCartney.
For the final shortlist, representatives from the organisations providing prizes will take a decision.
– When will the winner & runner up release their single?
We would expect the winner and runner up to be recording their singles in Winter 2023 with the goal of releasing the tracks in early 2024.
Chordblossom reserve the right to withdraw any prizes where the the winner or runner up fails to claim them within a reasonable timescale.
– I have a question that you haven’t answered, what should I do?
If you have any other questions, please send an email to email@example.com and we will get back to you as soon as we can.