How did you get involved in Scottish music?
I was inspired to start learning Scottish music after seeing Aly Bain on the BBC Hogmanay show and by the playing of Eilidh Steel from Helensburgh. I initially started violin lessons at school, but it wasn’t until I first heard traditional music that I realised it was something I really wanted to do.
Why did you enter BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award?
This is the second year I have entered the competition and my reasons are quite different this time around. Although I have found every stage very nerve-racking, I think the experience has helped my confidence both as a performer and within myself. I can be very self-critical at times but to have made it to this stage has made me realise that I must be doing some things right. It’s a fantastic platform to share your music with an audience who might not ordinarily have gone to see you. Getting to play infront of a panel of expert musicians is also very beneficial as it helps you realise what you’re good at and what you need to improve; and, ultimately, I am always looking to do better. I think a competition like this, where you are really pushing yourself, is one of the best learning curves.
What do you hope to gain from the experience?
I mainly hope to become more confident, and to learn as much as I can. I’m always looking to improve in the hope that I can become the best I possibly can. With a high profile performance like this, you never know what is going to happen which I find both exciting and scary! It can be difficult sometimes to convince people to listen to your music, but this is a fantastic opportunity to play for a very large audience, who will hopefully like what you do. That’s one of the great things about music though: everyone likes different things.
Do you have any particular musical highlights?
I am a huge fan of Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, and have listened to their music almost every day since I was first introduced to it about ten years ago. Last summer, I was very lucky to be invited to play at Feakle festival in Ireland (Feakle is a small village very close to where Martin grew up) accompanied by Dennis Cahill. I would have been ecstatic just to have met him but I never imagined I would ever get to play on stage with him! I always ask guitarists and pianists if they could do something like what Dennis might do; but I didn’t have to ask that this time!
What are your plans for the future?
I am currently studying towards an MMus at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland which I am due to finish this summer. I would love a career as a performer and hope to play as much as I possibly can. I am also interested in teaching a little too because I think I would learn a lot from it. I would also love to record a solo album in the hope that I will be able to tour to promote it and be able to play to a wider audience.
Why not buy a ticket to hear Ryan Young 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.
Catch BBC Music at Celtic Connections http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p039tgwn
and visit their Young Trad 2016 page