SongSeeds Industry Guest Gallery
A quick guide to our SongSeeds Songwriting Retreat Guest Speakers in order of appearance!
September 2020 - Carla J Easton
First with Myspace-kids Futuristic Retro Champions, then with SAY longlisted TeenCanteen, then under the alias ETTE, before her first solo album Impossible Stuff, her tunes have seen her championed by Marc Riley, play festivals across the UK, and earn a growing number of dedicated fans.
With her sharp-dressed, white-hot band, her Dreamers on the Run, 2018 saw her release the SAY Shortlisted Impossible Stuff.
Working with Arcade Fire and British Sea Power producer Howard Bilerman, it’s a record that mixes analog synths, sparkling brass and Spector-esque strings with Easton’s finely tuned ear for a hook.
‘Lights in the Dark’ was Record of the Day.
‘Dreamers on the Run’ was Guardian Track of the Week.
‘Wanting What I Can’t Have’ was BBC Scotland Single of the Week.
November 2020 - Shay D
Hailing from the stomping grounds of North London, Shay D’s upbringing and Persian heritage remains at the core of her sound.
Establishing her name within the underground UK Hip Hop circuit, the emcee has numerous levels to her name, excelling in the Grime & Spoken Word scene with her recent projects.
An innate wordsmith, her hustle, passion and drive for music are reflected through her DIY attitude. Not only did she independently release her own album Human Writes which charted the itunes Top 20 Hip Hop chart & secured radio & Spotify playlisting, she curated the first ever all female hip hop tour in the UK, ‘Queens of Art’ in 2019 visiting 8 nationwide cities.
She has featured on BBC 1xtra Live Lounge, Redbull TV & Channel 4 as well as working on projects with Nike, Harvey Nichols, Serato and Swarovski. Shay D has performed at Southbank’s WOW Festival, Glastonbury, Shambala Festival, Milan Fashion Week, and been booked to perform in Switzerland, Italy, Norway, Belgium and Greece.
Shay D champions women in music and works actively in balancing out the female voice in Rap music.
January 2021- Kris Drever
Cherished and admired in equal measure by listeners and fellow musicians, award-winning guitarist, singer, songwriter and prolific collaborator Kris Drever has been a leading light on the UK roots scene for well over a decade.
He has won multiple awards including an incredible 7 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards; two shortlist nominations for Scottish Album of The Year (with his trio Lau) and much acclaim for his solo recordings and concerts, including glowing reviews from The Herald, The Guardian, Mojo and Q Magazine.
A highly skilled guitarist who adroitly blends traditional folk and flat picking with more contemporary influences – allied to a distinctively relaxed and poised vocal burr – Drever is an astonishingly fine interpreter of others’ songs, with an increasingly frequent knack for concocting seriously smart lyrical observations and earworm melodies of his own.
Drever has played and recorded with an extensive range of artists including Mark Knopfler, Jack Bruce, Danny Thompson, Eddi Reader, Bela Fleck, Tim O’Brien, Jerry Douglas, Sarah Jarosz, Joan As Police Woman, Tinariwen, Karine Polwart and Julie Fowlis.
March 2021- Conscious Route
A rapper, originally known as Mosman from England-based hip hop crew Fugazirum, Conscious Route is now Edinburgh based releasing under True Note Records. His music and message focuses on spreading conscious awareness and sharing life experiences through hip-hop. Releases such as the 'Sinking LP' with United Front artist Sean El (2013), 'Frequency LP' with the Monosapiens (2015), ‘Back to Boom Bap’ LP with DJ Pryzmat (2016) and the most recent 'Lost Routes' with True Note (2020), have solidified his reputation as one of the U.Ks most significant underground hip-hop artists.
Also featured with French producer Marie Joly (Offering Records) on the track 'Just Be' and Mr Fox’s 'Quarantine' from Dubstep the label Simplify Recordings, Conscious Route's international reputation as an artist and collaborator is ever expanding, receiving prime time national and international radio play.
Conscious Route has supported such acts as Akala, Dabbla (High Focus Records), Dead Prez, Abdominal & Obliques, Lucky Chops as well MCing with Det Boi (Metalheadz), Dillinja, The Next Men, Mrs Magoo and more.
“I am a big fan of Conscious Route, I have been playing the debut album on repeat at home and the whole thing is outstanding”
-Phoebe Inglis-Holmes – BBC Introducing Scotland
“There’s a real depth of knowledge from this album as it tackles a lot of relevant subjects, providing an accurate commentary of this evermore politically charged environment we find ourselves in. This is not a project you want to miss!”
-Lloyd Ross – Wordplay magazine
“It’s an incredibly accomplished album, comprising 20 tracks and six short, interview-style skits. Channel 4 has already featured music from the album on its mini documentary series”
-Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon – Scotsman / Scotland on Sunday
“A landmark record. Not just in Scottish Hip Hop, but in Scottish music full stop.”
-Darren McGarvey – Rapper, Writer, Orwell Prize winner 2018
May 2021- Eckoes
Eckoes is a prolific songwriter and alongside her original music has penned songs for many other artists. Boasting a top twenty placement in the UK Club Charts with a track she co-wrote & featured on, we are excited to hear all about her creative process and how she merges cutting-edge textures with soulful hooks, in her masterclass on the retreat.
July 2021- Jo Mango
Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jo Mango has performed internationally, collaborating on performances with David Byrne, Vashti Bunyan, Devendra Banhart, Roddy Woomble, Midge Ure and many others in venues varying from the Carnegie Hall in New York to a subway station in Tokyo. Her co-writing includes notable collaborations with Scottish bands such as Teenage Fanclub (Baby Lee), Admiral Fallow (The Beetle in the Box), RM Hubbert, Rachel Sermanni, and most recently Siobhan Wilson (Little Hawk). Her second album, Murmuration (2012), was released to broad critical acclaim and more recently her notable series of socially conscious EPs has gained airplay across the BBC network with those airing them including Guy Garvey and Stuart Maconie. She is a Dr of Musicology and a Reader in Music, teaching songwriting students at the University of the West of Scotland.
July 2021- Julie Fowlis
Julie Fowlis is a multi-award winning Gaelic singer who is deeply influenced by her early upbringing in the Outer Hebridean island of North Uist. With a career spanning five studio albums and numerous high profile collaborations, her ‘crystalline’ and ‘intoxicating’ vocals have enchanted audiences around the world. Nominated as ‘Folk Singer of the Year’ at the 2018 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, and ‘Best Artist’ at the Songlines World Music Awards, Julie is an engaging live performer who has graced stages around the world, from village halls in the Highlands to Carnegie Hall in New York, from The Philharmonie de Paris to Shakespeare’s Globe in London. With performances at the World Festival of Sacred Music in Fez, Morocco, to collaborations with the BBC Concert Orchestra at the Proms in the Royal Albert Hall, Julie is in much demand as an exponent for her native traditions. She sang live at the closing ceremony of the Ryder Cup in Chicago in 2012 to a TV audience of 500 million, an event that was only eclipsed by singing live at the opening ceremony of the Glasgow XX Commonwealth Games in 2014, to a TV audience of over 1 billion people. Since of the release of her otherworldly album ‘alterum’ in 2017, she has been touring with the world-class Transatlantic Sessions, performing sell-out shows in London, throughout the UK, the US, Canada and Europe and has recently completed work on a major 14-18NOW commission with Highland musician Duncan Chisholm, which commemorated 100 years since the ‘Iolaire’ tragedy. She is also currently working on the much-anticipated project ‘Lost Words Spell Songs’ - a collective and collaborative musical response to the intriguing and powerful book by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris. She will forever be recognised for singing the theme songs to ‘Brave’, Disney Pixar’s Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA winning animated film, set in the ancient highlands of Scotland. It was a worldwide smash hit, and the song ‘Touch the Sky’ was long listed for an Oscar in 2013.
January 2023 #Residential 1
//Masterclass from... Karine Polwart
KARINE POLWART is a multi-award-winning Scottish songwriter, folk singer, composer, theatre-maker and author. Recent projects include her Scottish Songbook re-imaginings of classic Scottish pop; The Lost Words: Spell Songs, a multi-artist response to environmental loss and climate breakdown; and Wind Resistance, her peatbog-inspired theatre show for The Royal Lyceum/EIF.
She has worked previously with the BBC SSO, author James Robertson, documentary-maker Anthony Baxter, and indie composer RM Hubbert.
2021 saw both the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra commission new works, in collaboration with sound designer/composer Pippa Murphy, and in the lead up to COP26 Karine wrote “Enough is Enough”, a participative piece, commissioned by Oi Musica for massed voices & street bands, and performed by ensembles from Glasgow to London, and Brussels to Accra.
‘One of the finest singer-songwriters in Britain’
The Guardian ★★★★★
Honesty, passion and self-awareness are the key markers of a great storyteller. Without these qualities, stories can disappear into the ether, losing their power in the process. Matt Hickman has been innately aware of this push and pull throughout his career, viewing his role and responsibility as a creative to respond on an emotional yet wholly relatable level.
Brownbear’s 2014 debut single ‘Dead Or Alive’ was the initial spark that led to positive attention from radio and other media outlets, resulting in support slots with The Libertines at venues like the Barrowlands and Alexandra Palace, as well as several European dates. From this point until the release of debut album ‘What Is Home?’ in 2018, Matt worked on building up a solid fan base for Brownbear in Scotland and further afield
In 2020, Matt was selected as one of the awardees of GMAC Film’s Little Pictures development fund, which gave emerging filmmakers the funds to complete their first short films.
By the time that next single ‘One More Night’ came along in 2022, Matt had reached a whole new trajectory with Brownbear. He credits this to his work in film and how this has impacted how he structures a narrative, visually and conceptually.
Having positioned himself as a firm promoter of the work of other creatives of colour in the country from the start, he hopes to inspire others to similarly expand their horizons and discover new means of storytelling.
JO D'ARC is a musician, producer/DJ, artist and writer based in Glasgow where she is also a community worker and activist.
Jo sings and plays bass guitar in alternative art-punk band The Twistettes. The band have toured across the UK and East Asia making an almighty noise wherever they go. Jo's latest project is experimental electronica in Minerva Wakes which mixes lush trip-hop and gritty dubstep. The multi-arts project, released in March 2021 includes an album, book and art collection.
DJ Jo D’arc has performed at raves, gigs and festivals across the country.
Jo is also a published poet, releasing her pamphlet ‘Minerva and the Whir' in 2021, now being developed into a script with help from the Tron Theatre in Glasgow.
She has created two collections of abstract photography ‘The Goddess Awakes’ and ‘Flowers in the Dark’.
All of Jo’s artistic works address wider social, political or societal issues. This has been influenced by her upbringing in a mining family with Romani heritage in a particularly politicised area. They were always passionate about the rights of the every-day person and challenging oppression which has influenced Jo’s interest in class-based discussions and identity politics.