TWO Vale of Glamorgan artists are looking to make their mark on the music industry after embarking on a Council-supported scheme.
JACK Ellis and Joel Alex, both from the County, have embarked on the Forte project along with eight other 16 to 25 year-olds. The Forte project is a new music development programme which aims to uncover and support new artists emerging from South Wales.
Launched today, ten brand new emerging acts will set out on their own unique musical adventure.
In co-ordination with SONIG Youth Music, ArtsConnect, PRS Foundation and Arts Council of Wales, the Forté Project takes artists from regions which span across the South Wales areas of Rhondda Cynon Taff, Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil, Bridgend and the Vale of Glamorgan.They are then given support over a 12-month period, which includes:
• Specially selected industry mentors to help guide and support them.
• Unique live opportunities through the Young Promoters Network, Orchard Entertainment, Wales’s largest independent promoter and reputable festivals. Whilst also getting help applying for other festivals across the UK.
• Access to key networking opportunities with industry professionals providing them with sound advice relating to key areas of their development.
• Increased artist profile through high profile live performances, audience development & marketing strategies.
• Recording opportunities to explore new material with professional studio facilities and technicians.
• Valuable experience working with technicians in rehearsal spaces to master their performance techniques and approach to live set-up.
Others involved in the project are Chroma and The Pitchforks from Rhondda Cynon Taff, Glass Palace and Local Enemy from Merthyr, CWCW, Atterbury & Gibbz and Chew from Caerphilly and Rebecca Hurn from Bridgend.
Jack Ellis, 25, from Rhoose has already made a number of high-profile appearances, but wants some practical skills on the business side of the industry.
“I went solo about 18 months ago and it’s been a pretty manic first year or so. I’ve started recording my first EP,” he said.
“In the end my dad effectively released my first single before I was ready. He sent a song to Dermot O’Leary, who played it on his Radio 2 show and then a couple of months later I did a session for him.
“It wasn’t even the song I planned to release first, but I have to thank my old man because it got my name out there.
“Since then I’ve been played on 30 or 40 different radio stations, in this country as well as America, Canada and New Zealand and I supported Bastille. I was performing in the VIP area so must have played to 2,000 people all together.
“I’m really excited about the Forte project. It’ll be great to be around other artists, while I really need some help on the business side of things.
“I know so many great musicians who put a few songs out on SoundCloud and nothing much happens. It’s about more than that. I’m learning about running a blog, maintaining a website, but need to know more about how to get yourself out there.”
Joel Alex, 21, from Barry is just setting out on his own after featuring in a number of bands.
“My current band are playing our final gig in Cardiff on New Year’s Eve,” he said.
“I’ve been in the studio now for seven or eight months. I haven’ done anything out on my own before so I’m just trying to put together a few songs that are solid and professional that I can send out.
“I applied for the Forte project with not much to show for myself. They got back in touch with me and said they were interested but wanted to hear more so I sent over some things I was working on and they liked them.
I enjoyed being in a band, but I wanted to be more serious and this seemed like a good way to do that.“I would describe my music as vibey pop with a hip hop element and beats, with a nod to Michael Jackson.”