Music technology student in finals of BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards

Issue date: 25 April 2016

To watch interview and performance, visit the UWE Bristol YouTube page

Folk musician Jack Cookson has got through to the finals of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards that will be broadcast from the Royal Albert Hall on 27 April.

Jack Cookson is currently in the final year of the Creative Music Technology (CMT) course at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol). He has been nominated for the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Artist of the Year.

Jack went to the semi-final in January and was among the final four musicians selected from 10 contestants. He will be playing live on air in the back room at the Royal Albert Hall, rather than on the stage, and broadcast on Simon Mayo's drive time show on BBC Radio 2.

The prize is a slot at Cambridge Folk Festival and Fairport Convention's Cropredy Convention, and a live session on BBC Radio 2.

Jack said, “On a practical note getting this far will probably make it easier to get gigs and it's a nice affirmation of all the hard work put in over the past few years. I have had quite a few gigs at The Brewhouse in Bath and last year when coursework was less stressful I had a regular spot at The Blue Lagoon in Bristol. A lot of the people I enjoy listening to were previous nominees for the Young Folk Artist like False Lights – a London based band.

“I started writing songs when I was in about 16 and for me it's quite a slow process as I am a bit of a perfectionist.

“The other nominees are very traditional and very awesome; I'm the oldest of the four, and also the only one who sings. The day after the awards whatever happens; I'll be releasing a deluxe version of my album 'Revolt & Resolve' featuring another CMT student. This album was composed, performed, recorded and engineered whilst at UWE Bristol and is available on Spotify and iTunes.”

Dr Adrian Hull, Senior Lecturer in Music Technology, said, “Jack has been a great student at UWE on the Creative Music Technology course. He's a perfect example of a strong Music Technology student who through studying music theory and the technology that underpins the composition, performance, recording and production of all forms of music nowadays, is then able to deliver a fantastic end product that showcases his extraordinary talent.

“During the Creative Music Technology course, students study audio-related computer programming, music software and hardware and production techniques alongside music theory, composition and performance.

“Our approach allows the students to move beyond 'twiddling knobs' in the recording studio as they develop a fundamental understanding of how the software and hardware works, consequently allowing them to develop their creativity to its full potential.

“Graduates go on to a variety of careers ranging from those who like Jack are involved in performance and composition to others who have ended up working in software development. We've a fantastic team at UWE, all of whom are musicians and who all have experience of the music industry ranging from BAFTA-winning dubbing mixers to software engineers who work at the cutting edge of the ever evolving music industry.

“We were pleased to recently have been reaccredited by JAMES, which commented that the suite of Music Technology courses at UWE Bristol were on a par with the best in the UK and of international standing in part because our graduates have the skills needed to work in the music industry in the 21st century. Jack's a great example of this and we're all hoping that he wins the award.”

BBC Radio 2's Folk Awards is one of the jewels in the network's musical calendar, and is now in its 17th year. Alongside the announcement of the winners by an array of guest presenters, there will also be live performances from new and established artists including Joan Armatrading, The Unthanks and Sam Lee.

Previous ceremonies have featured live performances from artists including James Taylor, Joan Baez, Guy Garvey, Laura Marling, Bellowhead, Steve Earle, Seth Lakeman, Don McLean and Yusuf Cat Stevens who was honoured last year with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

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