As the country eases out of lockdown into whatever the new normal might be, one of the great challenges will be supporting, not squandering the potential of school leavers and graduates at a time when they should be embarking on chosen careers.
Highlands singer/multi-instrumentalist Tamzene graduated from a three-year course at the prestigious Leeds College of Music last year, and has already received ample support from the organisers of the beloved, bijou Belladrum festival, the PRS Foundation’s Rebalance programme for up-coming female artists and the annual XpoNorth creative industries conference in Inverness, which goes virtual this year, with 60 speakers including broadcaster Sally Magnusson and Edinburgh-born True Detective producer Richard Brown.
Regular attendee Tamzene will be tuning in from her family home in Cromarty in the Black Isle. “It’s always felt like a place I can be myself as a musician and tap into the things that really brought me to music in the first place,” she says. “I feel very lucky to have been able to spend my lockdown period here, connecting and collaborating, writing with musicians remotely.”
Tamzene has been writing her own songs since the age of 14, initially busking them on the streets of Inverness. She takes soulful inspiration from Roberta Flack and Nina Simone and inherited a love of reggae from her Jamaican grandfather. But for her Scotsman Sessions performance, she has chosen the back-to-basics piano balladry of her new single Unreachable, the first in a series of stripped-back piano tracks she will release every few weeks across the summer.
“I chose this song because I wrote it here in this very living room on this very piano which I’ve had for a very long time,” she says, “and I suppose it represents how creative and inspired I’ve always felt coming home to the Highlands.”
XpoNorth’s online conference takes place on 24 and 25 June, https://xponorth.co.uk/
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