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North East music legends Ray Laidlaw and Billy Mitchell of Lindisfarne met a new generation of North East songwriters this week, when the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland brought them together with past recipients of the Alan Hull Award, at a performance of Clear White Light at Live Theatre.
Ray established The Alan Hull Award at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland in memory of his friend and Lindisfarne bandmate, Alan Hull, who died in 1995. The award recognises and supports one young songwriter or composer every year with a bursary of £1,000. The bursary can be used in whatever way the they feel will best help them develop their songwriting, from buying equipment to simply covering living expenses freeing them up to focus on honing their skills.
Ray said: “Alan was, and always will be, the most gifted songwriter I have ever shared a stage with. He was passionate about song writing and was very supportive to young songwriters and composers after he became successful. Following his death, his friends and family were eager for that to continue, so we set up the Alan Hull Award to support other talented song writers across the region.”
Clear White Light is inspired by Alan’s short but intense time as a psychiatric nurse and features several of his songs.
Ellie Turner, Principle Advisor Culture, at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland, said: “We were thrilled to have the opportunity to bring together former Alan Hull award winners with Ray and Billy at Clear White Light.
“The fund gives North East songwriters the opportunity to develop their skills and maybe become the next Alan Hull. What better way to get some creative inspiration than from watching a performance of the fund’s namesake’s work in action, for these budding young musicians?
“We’ve already supported many successful songwriters, some of whom were here today. Hearing Alan’s work in a new production and meeting Ray and Billy in person will hopefully inspire them to keep up their hard work while encouraging new songwriters to come forward and apply for the award.”
One of the many success stories of The Alan Hull Award is Martin Longstaff, who performs under the name The Lake Poets. Martin received the award in 2012 and went on to have his debut album produced by Sunderland born Dave Stewart of the Eurhythmics. Of the award, Martin said:
“An accolade like The Alan Hull Award helps make a very big world seem less scary. I would encourage anyone who is passionate about songwriting to not be scared and apply.”
Current holder of the award, Chad Male who performs under the name Cape Cub, added:
“The beauty of the Alan Hull Award is, unlike other awards, it steps in at a time when you most need that development and when you need that little boost of confidence. It’s judged on the quality of your songwriting which is key.”
Applications for this year’s bursary are currently open until Friday 8th February 2019. North East songwriters aged between 16 and 25 apply on the Community Foundation website www.communityfoundation.org.uk/apply by filling in a short form and sending in examples of their songwriting for the panel to listen to.
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