Interview: Holly Clarke | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Summer Studios are free, week-long residencies throughout August for musicians, producers, rappers and singers of all genres to be able to create new work, develop their practice or prepare for a performance. Dedicated rehearsal studios and facilities are available to artists as well as one to one sessions and clinics with music industry professionals. This year’s Summer Studios will take place from 3rd August – 16th August and anyone wanting to apply should register their interest here by 5pm on Friday 27th March.

We talk to musician Holly Clarke who is urging musicians to apply for a free summer residency at Sage, Gateshead after her own career was propelled by the experience.

What made you want to apply for last years Summer Studios at Sage Gateshead?
I applied because I wanted to use the time and space to start working on new material and have a space to do some research on some traditional ballads. I knew that what Sage, Gateshead was offering was a really good opportunity to meet an array of different artists with different aspirations to me and that I would be presented with an opportunity to gain really good advice from industry professionals. 

Where were you at as an artist before you applied?
I had just graduated from Newcastle University’s folk and traditional music degree and I was looking to build my profile as a traditional singer and start working with organisations who support artists in their early career and get as much advice as possible. I was already performing a fair bit at festivals around the UK and gigging locally and I wanted to expand from that.

What was your experience of the week-long residency like? What were the highlights?
It was a lovely experience where I felt I had a really great place to work in. I could really get into the right headspace to be able to get into the ballads I had chosen to work on and really start thinking about new ways to sing and interpret them.
I loved speaking to the professionals and enjoyed discussing with them what I hoped to do in the future and getting some really good advice on how to achieve that. I especially loved talking to Julie Weir, she gave me some great advice and we bonded over our love of Dracula and folk horror.

How have things progressed for you, since last years Summer Studios
A lot has happened since that lovely week, I had the opportunity to be a part of New year New Artists 2019 which was really really fun and I was also given the opportunity to support the legendary Billy Bragg at Folk on the Tyne Festival and play in Hall One. An experience I will never forget.
I am now one of three artists in Residence at Sage, Gateshead and I’m working towards a showcase performance in Hall Two on 12th June. The concert will showcase some of the songs and compositions that I’ve been working on over the last two years and it’s an opportunity for people to see unique and exclusive arrangements of the songs that I perform.
During the residency, I’ve also been working on some recordings with the lovely Bevan Morris of Pons Aelius… More news about that will be coming soon.

What are your future plans?
I have a lot of plans and ideas for the future and I hope that they will all come to fruition at some point, but for now, my goal is to keep gigging and telling these stories that I find in folk songs and really explore the different ways of performing and recording them.

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