In the Spotlight 2024 – MUSIC!

This mentorship programme is open to all aspiring singers, singer-songwriters, instrumentalists, musicians, composers and music performance artists living across the North of Scotland aged over 16 (no upper age limit!). It is important that the chosen acts are able to come to the Universal Hall in Findhorn, not only for the live performance on Friday 28th June 2024, but also for the technical rehearsals which are currently scheduled for Thursday 27th June. Those wanting to get involved simply need to film an audition-style performance of up to 3 minutes length and submit it by uploading to YouTube and emailing the url link of their video to uhallspotlight@gmail.com. You can also use this email for enquires or questions. (Please note that this programme is not sponsored, endorsed, affiliated with or administered by YouTube.)

The programme is open for video submissions from 1st March 2024 – 31st March 2024, when the mentees will be selected by the judging panel. We are looking for performances that are creative, unique and showcase your talents and will make an impact as part of a bigger show.

Chosen mentees will be notified via the email address used to to submit. Each will each receive mentoring from a professional artist and be encouraged to create a brand-new piece for inclusion in a live stage show which will take place on Friday 28th June, 2024 (with tech/dress rehearsal on Thursday 27th June, 2024).

How To Enter

What are you going to present on your video?

Choose either a cover version or original song/piece of music that will best show off your talents. Just remember your performance can’t be longer than three minutes but can be less. The technical quality of the video isn’t so important, as long as we can get a clear idea of your work. You are advised to use a microphone separate from your recording device to give better quality audio, but please remember that performers are not going to be judged on technical quality of the video. Bands – please remember that your sound mix needs to be simple to set up in advance – you may need to strip down your sound into the basics – the more acoustic the better!

How to shoot it?

Think about where to shoot your content. Consider using interesting locations to form your backdrop and add a style and flair to your performance. A simple method would be to film on a phone or tablet (and remember you can get attachments to mount your phone on a tripod). More sophisticated methods using video cameras with separate microphones will help if you have access and know how to use them. What is more important though is to give a fresh and lively performance no matter how you record it. There are a number of helpful videos available with tips on how to create your video. We like these:

Share It

Upload your entry video on YouTube and then email the url link to the video to uhallspotlight@gmail.com for your chance to be involved. Remember that it’s open to entries between 1st March 2024 – 31st March 2024.

Meet the Mentors

Josie Duncan (Mentor)
Photo: Euan Robertson

Josie Duncan is a captivating folk-inspired songwriter and an award-winning singer from the Outer Hebridean Isle of Lewis. With a voice that radiates warmth and vulnerability, Josie effortlessly weaves together soulful melodies and heartfelt lyrics, captivating audiences worldwide.

Growing up surrounded by the rich musical heritage of the Western Isles, Josie’s passion for music was ignited at an early age. Inspired by the folk traditions passed down through generations, she immersed herself in the captivating stories and melodies that defined her homeland’s cultural tapestry.

Josie’s extraordinary talent and dedication to her craft have not gone unnoticed. In 2017, she received widespread recognition when she won the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, this accomplishment solidified her position as a rising star in the contemporary folk scene. She has since gone on to receive AirPlay on prime time radio and her versatility was showcases in 2021 when created a brand new work for Celtic Connections’ prestigious ‘New Voices’ Commission followed by an album of self-penned songs. The acclaimed album saw Josie’s songwriting venture confidently into new ground, drawing comparisons to Phoebe Bridgers and Maggie Rodgers.

Over the past few years her songs have been showcased at Celtic Colours, Canada, National Celtic Festival Australia, Tönder, Denmark and festivals closer to home such as Hebridean Celtic Festival Opening Concert (writing comission 2022) & Sidmouth Festival.

Embracing her creative spirit, Josie fearlessly dives into explorations of self-discovery in her songwriting. With lyrics that resonate deeply, her introspective compositions capture a kaleidoscope of emotions, from longing and introspection to joy and empowerment. Her authenticity and vulnerability shine through in every note, leaving listeners spellbound.

Whether performing on stage or in an intimate setting, Josie’s powerful stage presence and evocative storytelling transport audiences to a place of pure musical bliss. With flawless vocal control and a true connection to her art, she expertly navigates through a diverse repertoire. Josie Duncan’s magnetic artistry, combined with her innovative storytelling, continue to captivate audiences. With her unwavering dedication to crafting exquisite music, there is no doubt that she is destined to leave an indelible mark on the folk music landscape. ‘Intensely Beautiful’ – FATEA

Boo Hewerdine (Mentor)
Photo: Kris Kesiak

Boo Hewerdine decided at the age of seven that he wanted to be a songwriter and see his name in the brackets on records. Now an acclaimed and much sought after singer-songwriter and producer, his own work and his many collaborations have delivered on this dream. He is in constant demand as a musician, songwriter, producer, teacher, and live concert performer.

Boo’s songs, like the man himself, are suffused with compassion, wit and insight.  (Unlike him, they are also elegant and beautiful.) As lead singer of seminal band The Bible, through to his subsequent solo work and long-time collaboration with Eddi Reader, over a hundred of his songs have been covered by the likes of KD Lang, Kris Drever, Chris Difford, Heidi Talbot and Hannah Rarity. Last year’s album Understudy was a critical and commercial success. This year sees the release of folktronica album Outliers with Shetland artist Jenny Sturgeon, on Hudson Records.

As well as nurturing emerging songwriters, Boo has forged a path of gentle brilliance, with a commitment to quality, passion and fulfilment and has become something of a national treasure.  And there’s always time for one more song.

Boo Hewerdine is one of the greatest songwriter performers in the business and a unique talent.” Ian Cripps (Vice President A&R, Atlantic Records)

Ewan MacPherson (Mentor)
Photo: Archie MacFarlane

Hushman is the captivating solo project of Ewan MacPherson, a renowned singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer hailing from Scotland. With an impressive background in the music industry, Ewan has made his mark as a founding member of the esteemed alt-folk trio Salt House and the innovative “Nu-Nordic” Quartet Fribo. Additionally, he spent thirteen years touring with Acid-Croft pioneers Shooglenifty.

Ewan’s musical talents extend beyond his own projects, as he has also worked as a session musician with various folk and traditional artists from the UK and around the world. His music has been featured on prominent radio stations such as BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio Scotland, Radio 3, and Radio 6. Notably, his albums have been recognized as “Albums of the Week” on BBC Radio Nan Gaidheal, and his instrumental album Fetch! was included in Songlines’ prestigious “Top of the World Albums” in 2017.

The debut album of Hushman is released under the Hudson Records Label, known for its commitment to exceptional music. Through Hushman, Ewan explores his passion for songwriting and blends elements of Psych/Freak/Alt-folk. His warm voice, relaxed performance style, deft guitar skills, and subtle electronics have drawn comparisons to esteemed artists such as Guy Garvey, Ben Howard, Sam Amidon, John Martyn, Nick Drake, and Richard Thompson.

Born in Liverpool and raised in Wales, Ewan is an ‘Anglo-Celt’ who was among the first students to attend Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.

Regarding his songwriting, Ewan shares, “Many of my songs work on a variety of different levels, I enjoy the ambiguous and abstract in lyrics which allow for personal interpretation. Often there are strange meanders within my lyrics which are united with an overarching meaning or feeling. I am interested in how we make our way in a society that seems, to many, to be going in the wrong direction. I find myself trying to describe feelings of disempowerment, how society can be so baffling and human decisions astounding and farcical by turns, I try to bring a gentle light to it all and am always looking for hope.”

Jenny Sturgeon (Mentor)
Photo: Susan Molloy

Jenny Sturgeon is a Scottish singer-songwriter, multi-instramentalist and sound artist. As a solo artist, she has released two acclaimed albums and EPs.  Her music combines field recordings with sonic and lyrical imagery which is bound together by common threads of nature, folklore and the connection people have with the landscape. Jenny’s album ‘The Living Mountain‘ was nominated for the 2021 Scottish Album of the Year awards and won Best Acoustic at the 2020 Scottish Alternative Music Awards.

​Musical collaborations include writing and performing in the critically acclaimed alt-folk band Salt House and in the bird and migration inspired project, Northern Flyway; a Creative Scotland and PRS Foundation funded audio-visual project that Jenny co-wrote with Inge Thomson – described as “like watching a David Attenborough documentary but with awesome music!”.

Jenny’s music has been played on BBC Radio Scotland, Radio 3, Radio 6 Music, Radio 2, and Radio Nan Gaidheal – including being featured as artist of the week, live sessions for Travelling Folk and BBC Radio 3 and being on BBC Radio 4 Front Row. Jenny’s release ‘The Wren and The Salt Air’ – a commission for The National Trust of Scotland – featured on national STV news. 

Laura Pasetti (Coordinator)

Photo: Mark Richards, Aurora Imaging

Laura Pasetti is a theatre director, playwright and acting coach. She graduated with Giorgio Strehler at Piccolo Teatro di Milano – National Theatre of Italy in 1990.  She has always considered theatre a mission more than a profession and seen herself as “an artist on a quest”. Despite a very successful acting career she never stopped searching and training to enrich her knowledge and understanding of humanity. In 2005, after a pivotal encounter with Russian pedagogue Anatolji Vassilev, she founded Charioteer Theatre in Scotland. She taught at the Piccolo Teatro of Milan Acting school for 10 years before deciding to focus on the development of her own methodology. Since 2016 she has been combining theatre and ecology; using theatre as an instrument to reconnect humans to the environment and re-develop their sense of belonging, as she does with her educational organisation Theatre of the 7 Directions. In 2021 she began studying at Schumacher College/Plymouth University, obtaining a Masters Degree in Engaged Ecology in 2023. She lives in Scotland, in the Findhorn Ecovillage Community.

Terms & Conditions

In the Spotlight Mentorship Programme: Terms and Conditions

By entering for participation in the Programme described below (the “Programme”) you (the “Participant”) agree to be bound by these terms and conditions (the “Terms and Conditions”). Any information or instructions published by the Promoter about the Programme form part of these Terms and Conditions.

The Promoter:

1.The Promoter of this Mentorship Programme is Universal Hall Promotions, The Park, Findhorn, Moray IV36 3TZ.

Eligibility:

  1. The programme is open to residents aged 16 and over who live in the North of Scotland.
  2. Employees or agents of the Promoter or their families or households or anyone professionally connected to this programme are not eligible to enter.
  3. No purchase is necessary to enter.

Entry Consideration Period:

  1. Consideration period will open on 1st March 2024 and close on 31st March 2024 (“the Entry Consideration Period”).

Live Show and Mentorship:

  1. Ten entries will be chosen for mentoring from a team of professional artists and will then create a new work intended as part of a live music show.
  2. The Promoter reserves all rights to disqualify Participants if their conduct or content is defamatory, offensive or contrary to the spirit or intention of the mentorship programme.

Entry:

  1. To enter, Participants must post a film of up to 3 minutes length via a YouTube video in order to showcase their musicianship. The url link to the video must then be sent by email to uhallspotlight@gmail.com. Entries may be shot on any device. Participants must be available after the end of March for professional mentoring by Zoom.
  2. Each Participant may submit a maximum of one (1) video entry. If multiple entries are received, all additional entries will be disregarded.
  3. The criteria for determining chosen entries is:  artistic performance, with an emphasis on creativity, uniqueness, and talent (the “Entry Criteria”).
  4. Any text, videos, images or any other content (the “Content”) which are submitted by the Participant as part of the Entry must adhere strictly to the following content guidelines (the “Content Guidelines”) for the Programme:
    1. The Content must not display the image or likeness of any person or any information about any person unless the Participant has obtained that person’s permission.
    2. The Content must not display any cruelty to any animal or person.
    3. The Content must not infringe any third-party intellectual property (including music copyright).
    4. The Content must not infringe the rights of or be defamatory or libellous about any person.
    5. The Content must be suitable for a person of any age to view and must fully comply with the law and all regulations.
    6. The Content must not contain or display any words or images which are considered, at the Promoter’s sole discretion, to be offensive, sexually explicit, rude, disparaging or otherwise inappropriate.
  5. FOR SAFETY REASONS it is important that Participants do not include or reveal any personal information (e.g. name, contact details, etc.) in any video. These can be included in the email at your discretion. The promoter will use the email the video is sent from to contact the winners.
  6. Entries containing any Content that does not comply with the Content Guidelines will not be entered into the Programme and the associated submission will be deemed invalid.
  7. Entries that are incomplete or damaged will be deemed invalid. No responsibility is accepted by the Promoter for lost, delayed or damaged data which occurs during any communication or transmission of Entries.
  8. The Promoter reserves the right at its absolute discretion to disqualify Entries which it considers do not comply with these terms and conditions or any Participant who it reasonably believes has interfered with the fair running of this Competition.
  9. The Promoter shall have the right, where necessary, to undertake all such action as is reasonable to protect itself against fraudulent or invalid claims including, without limitation, to require further verification as to the identity, age, and other relevant details of a Participant.
  10. Entries must be made by the Participant and must not be made through agents or third parties.
  11. Fully completed Entries must be sent to be received no later than the end of the Competition Period. Entries received after the Entry Consideration Period will not be eligible for Selection
  12. Following the end of the Entry Consideration Period, Entries will be reviewed and shortlisted by the Promoter team and a panel of professional judges. The panel of judges shall review the Entries to determine the entries which, in the panel of judges’ view, best meet the chosen criteria.
  13. The decision of the judges shall be final. No correspondence or negotiation will be entered into by the Promoter concerning either the decision or the result.
  14. The chosen entries will be notified via the email address used to send the video link.
  15. Mentees will have three (3) days from the date of notification to acknowledge their inclusion on the programme and to agree to the next phase of the project.
  16. Mentees names, and their entries will be published in order to show a valid award took place.
  17. In the event a mentee is unreachable or fails to permit for content to be reshot in order to claim the mentorship in the time required, they shall forfeit their inclusion on the programme and in the live show and it will be awarded to a substitute entry, selected in accordance with these Terms and Conditions.

Use of the Entries / Content by the Promoter:

  1. The Promoter may, but is not required to, publish Content produced by the winners and any and all Content received by it in connection with this Programme at any time and for any reason on its website www.universalhall.co.uk, across its social media channels including YouTube, newsletter, for internal use, public relations and editorial reporting of the In the Spotlight campaign, and any other media, whether now known or invented in the future, and in connection with any publicity of the Programme.
  2. By submitting your entry and any accompanying material, you agree to:
    1. Provide the Promoter with a non-exclusive, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual, transferable licence to use display, publish, transit, store, re-format and sub-licence your Entry and all your intellectual property rights contained therein for any purpose, including without limitation for promotional use of the programme and to showcase your talent; and
    2. waive all moral rights, in and to your programme entry and otherwise arising in connection with your entry to which you may now or at any time in the future be entitled under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 as amended from time to time and under all similar legislation from time to time in force anywhere in the world.
  3. Each Participant warrants that they are the person who created the Content submitted to this Programme and that all Content adheres to the Content Guidelines. The Participant shall indemnify the Promoter and hold it harmless from and against any losses, damages, liabilities, obligations, claims, actions and demands, including without limitation reasonable legal fees, arising directly or indirectly from any breach of warranty set out in this clause.
  4. The Promoter may stage a live or online show of the entries and box office takings will be used to subsidise the project. The Promoter is a not-for-profit social enterprise and will not use box office income for any projects outside of this contest. Entrants will not be offered a share of the box office for their entry.

Privacy and Data Protection:

  1. Other than as set out in these Terms and Conditions or for the purposes of operating the Promotion, the details and information provided by the Participant when entering the Programme or claiming the mentorship will not be used for any promotional purpose, nor shall they be passed to any third party.
  2. The Participant hereby consents to such personal information being used for this purpose and confirms they agree with the Promoter’s privacy policy available at www.universalhall.co.uk. The Participant may withdraw consent to such use of personal information by writing to the Promoter or by using the opt-out process outlined in the privacy policy.

General:

  1. Insofar as is permitted by law, the Promoter, its agents or distributors will not in any circumstances be responsible or liable to compensate the mentee or accept any liability for any loss, damage, personal injury or death occurring as a result of taking part in the programme or taking up the mentorship except where it is caused by the negligence of the Promoter, its agents or distributors or that of their employees. Your statutory rights are not affected.
  2. The Promoter will not be responsible or liable for:
    1. any failure to receive Entries due to transmission failures and other conditions beyond its reasonable control;
    2. any late, lost, misrouted, or damaged transmissions or entries;
    3. any computer or communications related malfunctions or failures;
    4. any disruptions, losses or damages caused by events beyond the control of the Promoter; or (e) any printing or typographical errors in any materials associated with the Programme.
  3. The Promoter shall not be liable for any interruption to this Programme whether due to force majeure or other factors beyond the Promoter’s control.
  4. Entry into the Programme signifies acceptance of these Terms and Conditions.
  5. The Promoter reserves the right, acting reasonably and in accordance with all relevant legislation and codes of practice, to amend the Terms and Conditions at any time.
  6. This Programme will be governed by Scottish law.
Lottery Funding
This programme is supported by Creative Scotland