How did you get involved in Scottish music?
I was lucky to have very encouraging teachers in both primary and secondary school. In primary school I was encouraged to enter the local competitions for Scots song and poetry, and being from Dumfries there was also a focus on Robert Burns, whom I took an interest in. My secondary school was fortunate enough to host the students from the BA Scottish Music course at the RSAMD as part of their second year tour. I was so inspired that I ended up doing the very same course!
Why did you enter BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award?
When I was still in school I went to see the final of the Young Traditional Musician of the Year. I was so impressed by the musicians and performances, and I thought it looked like a great thing to be a part of. I didn’t know much about Scottish Music at the time, and didn’t know that that was the career path I would choose. However, since then I have completed a degree in Scottish Music and have heard from several friends how great the competition is, and how it can be a terrific platform to promote yourself and make new contacts.
What do you hope to gain from the experience?
I hope to gain more of an insight into the industry, and to learn how best I can sustain a career in Scottish Music. I know I will have an enjoyable experience over the course of the competition, and I look forward to the tour!
Do you have any particular musical highlights?
A recent performance at the Traditional Music Hall of Fame dinner has been one of my musical highlights so far. It was a privilege to sing in front of so many folk music greats! Another recent highlight has been travelling to Mull every few weeks to perform for a community group called ‘Mull Musical Minds’ alongside Robyn Stapleton. It was organised through Live Music Now Scotland, and it was wonderful getting to know the group and seeing how much singing can make a difference. When I was at university I was lucky enough to travel with several other students to Rostov on Don, Russia, to work and perform with students at the Conservatoire. It has been my most memorable trip so far.
What are your plans for the future?
I hope to continue performing, and aim to encourage young people to participate in Scottish music and keep the tradition alive. I hope to be able to travel with music, as for me, touring is one of the most exciting aspects of being a musician.
Why not buy a ticket to hear Claire Hastings or any other of the finalists at the Grand Finals on Sunday February 1st at 5pm. The finals are part of Celtic Connections festival. If you can’t make it along the event will be broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland between 5 & 8pm and on the iPlayer afterwards.