Ellie Beaton from Rothienorman, Aberdeenshire is a finalist in the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician 2021. The finals will be held on 31st January 2021 at 5pm. Listen live on BBC Radio Scotland. Find out more at bbc.co.uk/youngtrad
We asked Ellie the following questions:
How did you get involved in Scottish music?
I grew up in a Doric speaking family so I had always been surrounded by the traditions and culture of the North-East. Although my family weren’t particularly musical, we would all enjoy singing songs together. My interest in Scottish Music, I think, stems from my original love of Doric poetry and Highland Dancing! Throughout the summer months, I was dragged along to all the ceilidhs to perform as a Highland Dancer but usually ended up doing more singing than dancing!
My first musical memory is having to sing ‘Bonnie Wee Jeannie McColl’ when I was around three years old, I would usually sing it at Nursery much to everyone’s annoyance. I began entering the Traditional Music and Song Association competitions in my mid-teens and everything came together after that. I also attended Aberdeen City Music School until last June, studying Classical Voice and Piano and was able to meet so many other young, folk musicians which really helped me get more into Scottish Music.
Why did you enter BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award?
I entered the competition not even thinking I’d get through to the Semi-Finals let alone the finals! I just finished Secondary School in June and thought that entering the competition would give me something to work towards in-between then and going to University. Never in a million years did I expect to get through to the finals after just finishing Sixth Year! To me, this is a big achievement!
What do you hope to gain from the experience?
I think from this experience I will gain more experience in working with other musicians and performing on a larger platform. I’ve found that performing, especially for younger, less-experienced musicians is becoming harder right now with COVID-19 so right now I’m really just making the most of what I can do.
Do you have any particular musical highlights?
One of my musical highlights is probably recording with folk band, Malinky, on their album – Handsel. I recorded a North-East Bothy Ballad called Sleepytoon which originally is only a few miles from where I stay in Rothienorman.
Again, qualifying for the Bothy Ballad Champion of Champions in February 2020 was like a dream come true. I’d always watched the likes of Shona Donaldson and Joe Aitken perform at Elgin and always thought that what they did was truly amazing. Performing at Elgin was like ticking a box off of my ‘Musical Bucket List’!
What are your plans for the future?
I’ve just started my first year doing the Bachelors of Music in Vocal Studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, so I plan on finishing that. I’ve got another three years to go so I’m sure it’ll keep me busy.
At some point in the next couple of years, I would like to record an EP, but it’s not my main goal just yet.
I’m just trying to get as much performance experience under my belt as I possibly can really, just preparing myself for once I graduate!
Listen in to hear Ellie Beaton at the Grand Finals on Sunday 31st January at 5pm. Read about the other finalists here.