BBC Introducing had an electric atmosphere and provided numerous invaluable opportunities for aspiring musicians.
BBC Music Introducing Live was unlike any other event i had attended or heard of – in the best way possible.
This year, it was situated at the Tobacco Dock in Wapping, an area towards the east end of central London, not far from Whitechapel and easily accessible from all areas of the city. Upon arriving on the first day, I was in awe of the stunning views of iconic buildings such as the Shard and the Gherkin, yet the venue was nestled in an area of cobbled streets and corner shops. The venue itself was amazing; a grade 1 listed building that was built in 1812 to receive cargo from the New World, it maintained aspects of its original architecture and décor to create an overall semblance of old meets new. Various areas of the site are open top, so be sure to take a warm coat if visiting in colder weather!
Although it is definitely worth drafting a timetable of events you would like to attend by using the easy to navigate BBC Introducing Live app, I would recommend setting aside some time to simply explore, as there is so much on offer that you might not have considered. For me, a highlight of my visit was testing out guitars, keyboards and recording microphones in ‘Sound Technology’. Furthermore, there is constant live music performances dotted around the venue, even if you haven’t heard of the artist, check them out – you might discover a new obsession!
The event also hosts a multitude of fascinating talks about creative industries, from how to plan tours as a new artist, to discussing how Brexit might affect the music industry. I particularly enjoyed watching Phil Taggart’s interview with Jamie Oborne, founder of Dirty Hit, in the discovery theatre. The conversation was natural and authentic, with time at the end for questions from the audience. I also loved Spotify and Headspace’s collaboration with their talk: ‘Keeping It Together’, featuring Nina Nesbitt and Jordan Stephens, as it tackled the growing issue of mental health, particularly within the music industry. Once again, the audience were given the opportunity to ask questions; a theme that ran throughout the event as a whole.
Another aspect of the event that I enjoyed was watching aspiring artists perform at the two open mic venues: The Podium and The Basement. Honestly, I could have spent the entire day watching the range of talent and genre that was on offer from people yet to be signed. It was in The Basement that I discovered Aiva, who blew me away with her stunning singing voice and self-crafted songs (check her out on Spotify!) Aside from being a fantastic source of entertainment, the open mic stages provided opportunities for these artists to be spotted by members of the industry who could help them kick-start their career, or provide them with invaluable feedback and advice. Artists are also invited to bring along demos to the Feedback Centre for 1-on-1 expert advice, so the trip can be as productive as it is fun!
In general, I would recommend BBC Music Introducing Live to anyone who is interested in a career in the music industry, as these people are the event’s target audience – although there truly is something for everyone, and I would recommend the event to those who do not fit into this category, too! There is so much to explore and enjoy, whatever your agenda; this event was truly a unique and unforgettable experience.