The South West's up-and-coming talent take to the virtual stage at YTL Arena Complex
The South West’s music scene has long been considered as one of the best in the UK, continuously producing a diverse range of artists, production labels, genres, and events that celebrate music in all its forms.
Many of Bristol’s iconic grassroots venues including the Louisiana, The Fleece and Thekla, have provided a vital steppingstone to unsigned artists in their journeys to achieving worldwide success.
Supporting local talent with The Community Stage
Building upon this pillar of support within the entertainment industry is something YTL Arena Complex plans to do throughout our journey; from being woven into our plans, to long after we open our doors.
Our plans include creating a “community stage”, which will support local performers at the very beginning of their career by giving them an opportunity to perform at YTL Arena on the same night as artists on a sold-out, world tour.
The chance to perform to a live audience is a huge opportunity for local, unsigned artists. It will allow performers to build up their fanbase, contribute to their income and give them invaluable experience to develop as a performer.
The YTL Arena Instagram Takeovers
Until then, we have been thinking of other ways we could support performers in their journeys, which is where the idea for the YTL Arena Instagram takeovers was formed!
Once a month, we hand over our platform to an aspiring performer and give them an opportunity to introduce themselves to our growing audience. We welcome hosts from all backgrounds, ages, and genres — from musicians, poets to comedians — to represent the South West’s eclectic performing arts scene.
In six posts, our hosts reveal their inspirations and aspirations, and showcase a special performance recorded just for our audience.
Here’s a little introduction to the fantastically talented Instagram takeover hosts we’ve worked with so far!
Jodie Mellor and Charlie T Smith
Jodie Mellor and Charlie T Smith are two singer/songwriters from Bristol. The pair began collaborating as artists in 2019 and last year released their very first collaborative single, ‘Mine & Hers’. Charlie started performing from the young age of two years old after wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps, while Jodie started performing in her early teens, first learning how to play the guitar during a “skills swap” session in primary school. The duo first performed together in 2019 at their university event, BIMM Live. The talented pair also regularly produce their own music.
The talented Laura Dia is a 19-year-old singer/songwriter from Bristol who just this year started sharing her beautiful music with the world, which she describes as a mix of RnB and Pop. Not only can she sing, she also plays the piano and writes her own songs, having written her very first song at ten. Laura is currently working on and releasing her own music, so stay tuned!
Bristol-based Rock ‘n’ Roll band Pretty Criminal comprises four talented friends. As a band, they have been writing songs for over two years, and have been gigging across Bristol to perform their music in iconic venues such as The Fleece. Throughout lockdown, the band has continued to work tirelessly on their music and releasing acoustic home-performances.
William Grant is a 22-year-old singer/songwriter from the far west of Cornwall who describes his music style as “reminiscent of 1960s and '70s nostalgic folk-rock and Americana, but while retaining a contemporary sound.” William has toured the UK as a professional musician for four years and has been passionate about music from a young age, studying for a degree in Music at Falmouth University where he was able to explore and define his Folk/Rock/Americana style.
Next up is 26-year-old singer/songwriter from Bristol, Alysaa. After playing the guitar and singing since the age of 15, this year she set out on her solo endeavour in the world of music. She’s also rather excitingly currently writing and recording her debut EP set to be released this year!
The Hideaways are an Alternative/Electronic Rock band from Bristol comprising of Danny Pugh (vocals, guitar), Tim Burden (guitar, keys), Sam Bendall-Weeks (bass, synth) and Jack Ford (drums). The Hideaways’ sound is a combination of “raging guitars and driving rhythms alongside dark electronic and subtle trip-hop influencers”. The band has been together for around four years and have since played in as many venues in as many cities as they can, even playing a gig in New York just before lockdown. Throughout the pandemic, the band have been busy writing music, rehearsing as much as they can, and have recently released a new single called ‘You’re Everything’.
Conal Kelly is a bedroom alt-pop artist/producer from Bristol. Conal’s music is regularly featured on BBC Introducing West, and his newly-released single ‘Control’ was aired on BBC Radio 1’s “Future Artists” last month, with DJ Jack Saunders describing it as “three and a half minutes of pure perfection”. One definitely to watch!