My part in the Paisley for UK City of Culture campaign began in the latter half of 2016, when I was awarded a grant to produce my first EP, including Paisley themed song Hearts of Gold. The EP was released in April 2017 and the following six months saw a flurry of activity designed to promote both my music and my town. From national and international TV and radio appearances, performances at many local festivals and events, to the recording of the Hearts of Gold video with hundreds of locals around the town, I think I did my bit to put Paisley on the map.
Highlights of the bid campaign included performing Free Spirits live for the first time at St Mirren FC to around 4000 fans, featuring in an article in the Times about famous people from Paisley and getting a namecheck from Jean Cameron the Campaign Director at the Scottish Album of the Year awards as one of the artists showing that Paisley continues to “punch above its weight musically”.
Few people were more disappointed than I was that Paisley didn’t win the bid. The campaign team did an amazing job and really stirred up hope and pride in the town. I feel a great personal benefit from the activity and financial support I received for my music and will always identify, no matter how far along the road I get, as a Paisley artist. I intend to make sure, as my journey continues, that the Paisley 2021 legacy continues too.
My second EP is currently in the making, this time without a grant from the town but with my own hard won prize money from the Salute Music UK competition. The songs, like those on first EP, very much reflect my personal experiences in and around the town and will be recorded and produced in Paisley. I have a lot of hope that the EP release will get my name and my music out to more people and bigger influencers. As a good few people keep me telling me, I have the talent and I have the dream, now I just need the break. If I can get there, I’ll be taking Paisley with me!