Previous winners include Birdy!
Lucy Spraggan, Open Mic UK guest act, has provided unsigned music advice for aspiring acts. Lucy Spraggan wowed crowds across the country last year, performing as a guest act for Open Mic UK to large audiences at venues such as the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Birmingham NEC and the Sheffield City Hall.
In an interview to Open Mic UK, Lucy Spraggan gives her own unsigned music advice on how to get ahead in the unsigned music world and how to make the most of every opportunity. Just a year ago Lucy Spraggan was going through the rounds of the Live and Unsigned music contest, but now Lucy Spraggan has a jam-packed diary full of festival slots and support gigs all over the country this summer!
Lucy Spraggan on Open Mic UK - unsigned music advice
Lucy Spraggan, what’s it like touring the UK as a guest act for Open Mic UK?
Lucy Spraggan: It's really good experience, and gives you an insight into how much hard work the touring industry is. There are lots of early mornings and very late nights, but it's worth it for the buzz at the end of the shows.
Is it a good way of increasing your fan base?
Lucy Spraggan: Open Mic UK is a great way to build your fan base to thousands of new fans whether you are a guest act or a competitor in the show. Each person that comes through the doors is there to watch and support an act; if you can impress them, chances are they'll go home and look you up.
..and you’ve impressed a few festival heads as well?
Lucy Spraggan: I hope so! This year I'm playing at quite a few, some as a result of impressing important people while guest acting for Open Mic UK, I’ve managed to open so many doors for example all the festival organizers that come and judge. I am really glad to have the opportunity to play festivals this summer. I got the taste for festivals after I won a slot on stage at Osfest. I'm doing a Pride tour across the UK too, you can find the tour dates at www.lucyspraggan.com. Osfest also asked me back to perform this year, and I’ve also done, L Fest, Beatherder, Y-not and Strawberry Fields.
A year ago you were on your way to the Live and Unsigned Grand Final, what do you remember about the competition?
Lucy Spraggan: I remember being very excited and I tried to convince myself that I wasn't nervous. When we got to the venue the atmosphere was electric, people were just buzzing around. I stuck around to watch the sound checks (which made me even more nervous), and the amount of talent on stage was crazy. I just remember the whole day feeling so 'make or break', my memory gets a little hazy from after I'd heard the results - I spent the night with my very supportive friends and a few bottles of champagne. It was a great day.
Lucy Spraggan- unsigned music advice
How difficult is it to get your name known as an unsigned performer?
Lucy Spraggan: I'm still on the road to getting my name known, it's a very long process and it takes lots of time and energy. I travel miles and miles to play 10 minute support slots to then come home and do the same the next day. Without the help of management, or a decent label, it is difficult, but with the right mindset and opportunities I feel like getting your name 'known' can be done.
What importance do you place on your social networks to increase your fan base?
Lucy Spraggan: Social networking is one of the most important parts of building a fan base, for me. I think the ability to talk to fans personally online is great, being able to ask their opinions on new songs or videos is priceless and it's so easy to let people know where you are playing next.
What tips would you give to those who are trying to get their name out there?
Lucy Spraggan: Don't get caught up in the moment; when it comes to making decisions about your career always think about your choices. My other advice would be to perform as much as you can, wherever you can. Take criticism on board but at the same time don't be disheartened by it. Always trust your instinct when it comes to people that want to work with you.
How hard is it to make contacts in the industry?
Lucy Spraggan: It is very hard, it's a cliché to say it but it's all about being in the right place at the right time. Also, it's not what you know… I take a lot of time to sit down and email anybody who has given me their business card, I just check in with them and let them know what I'm doing so that when I'm in their area they already know about it.
What is the most difficult thing about being unsigned?
Lucy Spraggan: It's hard to get on the radar without the push from a team of people from a management company or label, but at the same time being unsigned can be a bonus as you have the freedom to work with whoever you want without having to abide to exclusive terms.
What’s next for Lucy Spraggan?
Lucy Spraggan: I am writing lots of material for the new album, as well as writing some tracks for other artists. I'm touring the USA again once I have finished my UK tour, and when I come back I will be powering through as many gigs as possible (as usual!). I also managed to get a support slot for Joan Armatrading at The O2 in November, keep your eyes peeled for that!