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Sunday, October 30, 2016

Conference: Norwich Sound & Vision 2016

Sunday, October 30, 2016

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Norwich Sound & Vision title

Now in its seventh year, I recently made my return to the Norwich Sound and Vision convention. With over a decade of experience working within the city’s music scene, including 2 times volunteering for NS&V, I had a blast taking in the wealth of great music on offer, as well as fascinating discussions detailed below from reputable speakers, all of which came from near and far to attend.

Though I live and work in London now, Norwich will always have a special place in my memories having put on so many concerts there (you can read about it here), supported so many musicians and from being well and truly part of the musical furniture.

Norwich Sound & Vision inhabits multiple venues and spaces throughout the city, each a short walk from the next, creating an atmosphere akin to SXSW or The Great Escape. Three days filled to the top with good music and good people.


Opening the three-day event with a PRS drinks reception at Norwich Arts Centre was ideal, allowing me a chance to catch up with old friends and peers from the scene, hear about ‘must see’ musicians and being updated on the latest news from local venues and promoters.

Annie Catwoman (promoter; Sonic Youths), Craig Hill (promoter; the Tilting Sky) and Ian Johnson (Access to Music Norwich) filled in many of the blanks that I were missing since moving away and it was such a joy to spend time with them, not only Thursday night but throughout.

The first live performance came in the shape of phenomenal young talents at Space Studios; singer Maya Law & producer Allergy Kid. Previously featured on this blog, Maya started the evening solo, in front of a rabid audience that sang every one of her Amy-Winehouse-and-Lauryn-Hill-influenced lyrics. Since I first heard Maya’s music, which I think might have been a BBC Norfolk Introducing session of some kind, I’ve been spreading the good word of her potential and it’s rapidly coming to fruition.

Later, genius producer and beat-maker Allergy Kid joined Maya to perform their collaborative album ‘Her Or Him’ (stream it here). Having unveiled a couple tracks prior to their live performance (which acted as an album launch), the duo went on to perform the album in full and in order, to a wild reception.

The album, released just 2 weeks ago, already has thousands and thousands of views and it’s no coincidence. It’s unadulterated talent, authenticity and charm. It’s the synergy of two unbelievably good musicians who proffer depth and maturity that far surpasses their years.

And you know what? It made me ecstatically happy to see a young passionate audience supporting incredible upcoming talent, ushering in the next wave of success absolutely coming to Norwich.

Maya Law live in Norwich
All rights reserved (c) 2016 - Copyright RobPowell @ Music Art Study (M.A.S)


Returning to the Norwich Arts Centre Friday lunchtime, I had the pleasure of finally catching a live performance of Mullally. Having communicated much on Twitter over the past 18 months, I had heard great things, both on the grapevine and from his Soundcloud releases.

Live, Mullally’s effortless soul pop, teeming with control and charisma meant that, even without the chart-quality production found on recent single ‘Wonderful’, (he was accompanied by acoustic guitar alone) the strength of the songs and of his vocals delivered an obvious verdict; it’s only a matter of time until Mullally is a regular on mainstream radio’s A-list.

This was further backed up by his recent ‘Best male solo act’ win at the Unsigned Music Awards. If you’re in the Industry and looking for a fully formed artist to work with, you need look no further.

I had the pleasure of chatting Music Business with both Mullally and equally-ready-to-take-over-the-mainstream Franko Fraize, before being introduced to groups of Access To Music students to give career advice, share my experiences and generally natter with. Always a joy sharing lessons I’ve learnt to encourage the future professionals of the UK Music Industry.

As a dedicated reader of CMU’s daily Music Industry content (which you should totally sign up for), I was thrilled to see that Chris Cooke was hosting a series of discussions on ‘the new Music Business’, ‘releasing, promoting and building a fanbase’ and how to ‘get played. get gigs and get paid!’ with an impressive list of guests including Sam Hill (Digital Marketer at BMG) and Sophie Little (BBC Introducing Presenter); both of whom I knew from our shared involvement in the Norwich music community.

Whilst some of the talk overlapped with my studies at University, the ever-changing landscape of music means the ‘tectonic plates’ that are the structure of music business, are forever shifting, allowing molten debates to flow, shaping the future and how artists are promoted, exploited and earn.

It was fascinating and everything I expected it to be; inspiring and entertaining. It was also an absolute pleasure to finally meet Chris, having followed and respected his work for some time. Whilst we’re talking CMU, I’d also highly recommend their podcast that talks about the latest news and what it means to music, in a jovial conversational manner.


Adam Buxton interviews Brix Smith Start
Overwhelmed by networking and indulging my musical palette the day before, day three (Saturday) was a brief but brilliant affair, returning for a final time to sit back and enjoy Adam Buxton (one of my favourite comedians who’s podcast is consistently great) interviewing Brix Smith Start (musician, TV presenter and former member of The Fall).

Promoting her absorbing book “The Rise, The Fall, and The Rise”, Brix discussed her ‘bonkers’ life, her ‘wild and colourful’ marriage to The Fall band mate Mark E Smith and friendship with Gary Lineker (including THAT moment at Italia ’90).

Both Adam and Brix were charming, the stories were hilarious and it was announced that Brix would be releasing new music as Brix & The Extricated, touring new material as well as some classics. Go grab the book and if you get a chance, meet Brix (and her pugs Gladys & Pixie) because she's wonderful and has plenty of stories to tell.


It's always a pleasure reconnecting with the Norwich music scene. For a small city, Norwich has such a high output of quality talent that goes on to receive mainstream success and that's due to the wonderful infrastructure of brilliant independent venues, promoters and musicians, all working as part of a music community for the greater good of the scene.

For anyone keen to be introduced to new exciting music and discuss elements of the changing landscape of the Music Industry, I really recommend attending NS&V. You can follow the team on Twitter and Facebook to receive the latest news for the 2017 conference, as and when it’s released.

Music Industry Blogger Sunny Stuart Winter
To make it easy for you to find your new favourite artists, here’s a handy list of the great musicians that stood out at NSAV. Definitely worth your time to check them out and follow their development. This time next year, some of them will undoubtedly be succeeding in the mainstream:


Maya Law & Allergy Kid
Franko Fraize
Wooden Arms
Peach Club
Luke Peter Foster
Lewis Murphy
Abigail Blake

Conference: Norwich Sound & Vision 2016 - Sunny Stuart Winter


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