Life as a singer and performer can be so much more than just 'singing', trust me, this business is a wide and wonderful cocktail of hugely exciting events - no one day is the same as the next. One day I could be sitting all alone with my thoughts penning future songs, whilst the next I could be swamped within a sea of screaming fans going crazy over something I've just sung to them. I can't think of a better life.
So when my vocal coach asked me to help out on a music programme called Ultimate Artists for a week, I dived in head-first because this was an experience I'd never had before (not to mention the fact that I simply couldn't say no to my coach!). I was being given the chance to be consumed by music and only music for an entire week? Hell to the yeah to that!
So I get to Ultimate Artists, not really knowing what to expect, but by the end of those 7 days?... I am BLOWN AWAY.
I keep thinking 'gosh if only there was something like this when I was starting out in music, I would've spent my life there!' From writing songs and recording them, to JLS supporting it and having Marvin Humes come down for a Q&A to seeing all the guys perform at the showcase…it was just an incredible few days.
You guys are probably wondering what Ultimate Artists is? Well in short it's an 8 day music development programme conceived by two of the vocal coaches from BBCs The Voice, Joshua Alamu, and Ali Tennant. Between these guys, they have worked with some of the biggest names in music including, Jessie J, David Guetta, Take That, Joss Stone, and the list goes one. But more than their incredible CVs, what makes these two guys stand out, in an industry that it driven by teenage superstars and ROI (return on investment), what makes these two stand out is their passion for music education! Not just music education, but all the education one needs to get closer to their dream of being an artist.
Ultimate Artists is about giving the students all the tools they need to bring out what's already within them, and get them closer to being the artist that they want to be, the Ultimate Artist.
The UA byline is 'it's more than music!' and it prides itself on fulfilling that byline to the fullest. The wonderful thing to see is when students come in at the beginning of the programme all shy, nervous, self doubting, reserved, and they leave like a completely new person ready to dive into the great big musical world, they go away with a renewed sense of passion, and above all, courage!
To see that is to know that we have truly done our jobs.
Last year the UA students left and some of them went on to gain TV residencies, perform for the Eurovision, and set up a band for the first time just so they could get out and perform. Some really amazing achievements.
Joshua brings in mentors to teach the various parts of the programme including, production, musical theatre, and songwriting, who share his ethos of 'Ultimate Artists
is an environment where students are encouraged to make mistakes, to confront their weaknesses and fears so that we can help them turn these things into strengths.' Even the team who work to run the event come from some sort of arts related background and have experienced first hand just how daunting it can be to share the most important part of you, your music! With people you've never met before, so the environment is just amazing, there's a real spiritual, peaceful feel across the campus at this time. I guess its true what they say about 'music being the ultimate magic.'
So this year, having fully taken on Ultimate Artists giving it all the dedication and passion that I have, thankfully being given quite a free rein by both Josh and Ali, we kicked off on Aug 17th at the University of Hertfordshire and it was the biggest programme so far, with over 60 students from all around the world! UA has amazing content, mentors, and performances. It's a real joy to be at the forefront of something that not only encourages and see's change, but inspires so many people to strive for their dreams. Mentoring some of the younger students and seeing them shine on stage at the end of the week? That feeling is priceless. 'It's more than music' for sure.
For more information visit: www.ultimateartists.co.uk - Sheena's debut single 'Moving On' is released September 7 on Bright Star Music, watch the video for the song below.