This year we welcomed a host of new contestants which is always wonderful to see, proving that the IYMAs programme is an accessible start for young musicians. Several acts from previous years who were still eligible to participate were busy playing gigs on the night and couldn't be there. We see this as a great progression from their involvement in the Irish Youth Music Awards and these acts acknowledge that the skills that they picked up doing the IYMAs programme has allowed them to carve out their own space in the music industry.
The Irish Youth Music awards allows young people to develop and hone their performance skills and puts them in front of their peers and industry professionals for review. However, more importantly in my mind is that it gets young people working together and developes key skills such as communication, self-promotion, teamwork and persistence.The young people in our youth service were responsible for all aspects on the night including setting up the PA system and lights, recruiting bands, MC'ing the event and most importantly promoting the programme locally. The youth centre was full to capacity on the night of the 17th and our guests were in for a musical treat.
The IYMAs gives new band and singers a great platform to learn the art of performance. We had several new acts in the IYMAs this year including Ami Moran, Cuan Dignan, Teige Powell to name but a few. We were happy to welcome back some familiar faces such as Finn Cusack Holden and Oisin Walsh Agnew who have been involved in the Irish Youth Music Awards for the last 4 years in one shape or another. The pair started off in a band together but have been involved in some successful solo projects over the last few years. Oisin recently won a regional busking competition and is gigging regularly with another IYMAs regular, Cara Gulde, while Finn has been catching the attention of the Irish Music Scene with his latest band The Wha. Their combination on the night was irresistible and they were selected as the representing act for Kilkenny. The representing song was of a similarly high standard and was written by another repeat visitor, Aaron Danaher. Aarons song-writing skills have developed hugely and his latest piece is exceptional.
Since then, our IYMAs team who are made up of young musicians and music lovers alike, have been promoting our representing act, shooting a music video, writing press releases, etc. Their focus now is on getting the band ready for the National Final on April 21st in the iconic Croke Park in Dublin. Finn Cusack commented "The IYMAs has been part of my musical journey for the last 4 years - I have made some great friends through it and it has opened my eyes to how to succeed as a musician. Fingers crossed, this is our year....."