IN T R O The magazine from young journalists at the BBCR1 Academy
Inspirational week at the BBCR1 Academy....
Welcome to Intro Magazine, the publication written by journalism students who took part in the BBCR1 Academy in May and produced by the Verbal Arts Centre.Students were taught how to be professional reporters during a week-long series of workshops facilitated by the journalism department at the Verbal Arts Centre. Seasonsed journalist Leona Oâ€™Neill put the young people through their paces in subjects such as interview skills, music reviews, news, features, photography and magazine design before allowing them the opportunity to interview some of the biggest names in the music and entertainment industry. Our students interviewed The Script, Gabrielle Aplin and many top Radio 1 DJs. They were professional and inspirational, hardworking and enthusiastic and many of them have now decided to embark upon a career in journalism by signing up for the Verbal Arts Centreâ€™s A-Level in journalism. Look carefully at the names of our student journalists. For in a few years time they will be in your local newspapers, radio and television!
THE SCRIPT: Be teachers, be leaders, be politicians, be truthseekers
Teabags, tantrums and missing home
The true champions of the Irish music industry S
By Laura Brennan
TRAIGHT off the BBCRadio1 Live Lounge Stage after performing an exclusive set to an intimate crowd, The Script joined with a group of budding journalism students for a 30 minute Q&A session as part of the BBC Academy workshops, facilitated by the Verbal Arts Centre, which took place at the Nerve Centre Derry all last week. With a strong sense of excitement, nervous shuffle of papers and soft scratch of pens from one side of the room, Irish rockers The Script sat down for a chat that discussed many matters from teabags to tantrums. The band, just back from their Australian Arena Tour last month were happy to discuss a question posed to them about their decision to take upcoming Irish band The
Original Rude Boys with them as the main tour supporting act and how important it is for them as musicians to be influential in their ability to provide that potential propelling platform to support and encourage new emerging Irish artists? Band members Danny, Mark and Glen agreed that their choice in selecting an artist to have the privilege of touring alongside them wasn’t an easy one. Guitarist Mark said: “We really do have the pick of the litter, there is so many bands that we could take on tour with us right now”. And for The Script, who formed back in 2001, it was apparent that as a band they felt how important it was when making their decision to remember as Mark recalled how they got a big chance to “get out of Ireland and let Irish music and the word of Irish musicians spread around the world”.
“In return we feel it’s really important to select like minded bands and we felt it was more of an honour to choose a band that didn’t have a record deal and the Original Rude Boys where just at that point where we felt they were ready to come out on tour and they were fantastic” It’s a testimony to the musical passion of the Script that even as celebrated international artists they will never be too big for their boots to ignore their roots and believe strongly in upholding the faith of championing Irish music as Mark admitted that to “see audiences that had never been introduced to that band before and to see how well they went down well we’re really proud of that feat I suppose”. The Script are one of many headliners who came to the city in May to play at Ebrington
Script take starring role... D
By Aine Cronin-McCartney
ERRY’S Nerve Centre played host to the hugely successful band the Script as part of the BBC Radio 1’s Academy in the lead up to One Big Weekend. Playing a moving Live Lounge cover of Rihanna’s hit ‘Stay’ the Irish rock trio blew fans away with their haunting harmonies. Singer Danny said “We are trying to evoke the spirit of The Beatles” Academy attendees were then given the chance to question the band on their experiences since they formed in 2001. The band who have sold over 4 million albums kept nothing to
themselves about people’s perception and how much their lives have changed. “People’s perception is that it’s all just a big party and the biggest reality for me is that it wasn’t,” explains Drummer Glen “The best part for me is just to be on Stage”. Giving advice to any aspiring musicians from the ‘City of Music’ Mark said: “Music is wonderful the way it will travel in front of you so the confines of a city shouldn’t really matter. Go in front of audiences that don’t know you or don’t care for you and when you see a real reaction in this small City then that reaction will happen in the rest of the world”.
Work hard and keep the faith words of wisdom from The Script
By Toni McGowan
OT off the stage from their Radio 1 performance, The Script entered a room and sat in the Hot Seats with 15 pairs of young adults eyes on them. After a few hellos and getting comfortable, the interview started. Questions were fired at the band, from their process in selecting songs as singles to Danny’s participation in The Voice UK and the effect on the band. Danny, Mark and Glen were very open and honest about every aspect they discussed and gave extremely relevant answers. The theme of the hard work came up over again, along with perseverance. Having had to wait 4 years to be signed, when asked to give advice to local talent who are slightly disheartened with rejections of signings, the bands main message was perseverance
and stubbornness. “We were so pigheaded that we just refused to give up’. Mark continued and explained that finally getting signed is one of the last steps in the process of ‘making it’. After explaining the difference ways of ‘making it’, he stated the hard truth that if someone is signed when they are not ready, they have a big change of failing and not get another opportunity like that.’ After choosing an Irish band which didn’t have a record deal to support them in Australia, the band conveyed their love of Ireland, but did admit that they have to leave Ireland to reach their dream, ‘Ireland is only a subsidiary.’ Bringing to the table the sad realisation that Ireland doesn’t have much signing power; it is important to note that Northern Ireland is up and coming, with local record labels such as Smalltown America Label based in Derry.
However, Danny, Glen and Mark took to America and stayed there for 10 years. Previously stating that being in a band is 20% music and 80% business, they boys jokingly said that they thought being in a band was party after party but their realisation that it was work was a kick in the teeth. ‘The biggest shock was me was [that] it wasn’t a party. Their main message in regards to music was that failure is important and you will learn more from your mistakes than the things you do right. ‘...the lesson you learn is to get up off the ground and try again.’ So there you have it up and coming singers and bands; work hard and play hard (for 20% of the time) and don’t give up. You could be visiting our lovely home as worldwide famous musicians soon, and I couldn’t be any more proud of that talent that Derry is harbouring.
‘We are our own worse critics’ By Shannon Weir
The BBC Radio1’s academy was in DerryLondonderry from the 11th to the 17th of May. I was at a journalism workshop and got to watch The Script in the Live Lounge and afterwards interviewed the band. Being such a talented band, I felt nervous and excited. The journalisms workshop co-coordinator Leona O’Neill helped me structure my questions and give me a better understanding of journalism. I was slightly afraid when I asked my question to the script as I thought my question may be stupid, but they answered my question and made me feel really comfortable throughout the interview and gave me confidence. The question I asked was: “How do you feel you performed in the Live Lounge?” Their answer: “We haven’t heard it. We only got back straight in the car to try and download it straight from the BBC website. A couple of texts came through telling us we sounded good. We are our own worst critics. Everything we listen to we’re always critiquing it at all times. I feel it went well though.” I was overwhelmed with my experience of BBC Radio 1’s academy. It was amazing.
‘Being knocked made us stronger’
By Duana Forrest
ERRY-LONDONDERRY City of Culture 2013 is very much on track. On Tuesday 14th of May, Danny O’Donoghue, Mark Sheehan and Glen Power arrived in Derry ahead of their ‘Radio 1 Big Weekend’ show, to perform their Live Lounge for BBC Radio1 at the Academy. The Irish trio from Dublin, who took the world by force when their debut self-titled album hit the number one spot in Ireland and the UK in 2008, graced the stage of The Nerve Centre along with Radio 1 DJ Alice Levine to an intimate crowd of lucky fans and journalists. Taking a step back from their usual explosive ‘Big Band’ performances, they delivered a raw and heartfelt take on Rhianna’s ‘Stay’ while still bringing their trademark ‘The Script’ sound to the ballad. Glen Power stepped out from behind his drums for the first time to deliver acoustic pitch perfect three part
harmonies with his band mates; the song was the perfect way to showcase the strength of the band, creating an atmosphere that electrified the room. The silence in the room was deafening and their pure talent was never so much alive. Front man Danny O’Donoghue explained that they were going ‘back to their roots’ with this intimate performance and chose the song because ‘it is all about the vocals’ but assured they will definitely be ‘coming out Guns a Blazing’ for their Big Weekend show. Once they were off air, they graciously performed a further two songs from their current album ‘#3’; ‘Good old Days’ and ‘Hall of Fame’ for the lucky and captivated crowd. They then sat down with a small group of Journalism students, answering every question with passion and encouragement. Discussing previous knockdowns before reaching success with ‘The Script’ it was evident that it
played a large part in getting them to where they are today. Band members Danny and Mark, whose band ‘Mytown’ was released from their contract in 2001 after five years with Universal Records, highlighted that it is important to get knocked down, but even more important to come back from it and learn from mistakes, with Danny explaining ‘treat a small gig like Derry as if it were the O2 because you never know when it’s going to be your last’. The band also showed a lot of love and praise for the internet believing that ‘it should be embraced’ and would encourage up and coming artists to use social media such as YouTube and Twitter as a platform to help get noticed. Three genuine and talented boys, making it big in the music industry, brought an abundance of encouragement and inspiration for not just aspiring musicians, but also future journalists in Derry.
S G N I N E P P A Nick Grimshaw Q&A ACADEMY H
Aplin’s voice of an angel F
By Ruaidhrí Mc Court
ROM the moment Gabrielle Aplin stepped on stage, she conveyed a very quiet and tender approach but she soon discarded any thoughts of shyness as she started to sing. Gabrielle opened her act with her new single “Panic chord” she immediately stunned the audience from the outset with her soft melodic tones, harmonising with a backing vocalist. The upbeat soft tempo enthralled the audience. Aside to the opening, before her next song Aplin had took the time to talk to fans with in the audience even accepting a fan CD
Intimate performa By Sorcha Kelly
The Nerve Centre, at the scene, heart of Derry’s music elle bri Ga le. op pe holds 620 dio Ra of art he the at Aplin, , plays ne sce One’s new music t, as Ye le. op pe 0 to over a 100 I y, em ad Ac 1’s dio Ra part of ve ha st was part of what mu lusively been 18 people to exc ibly red inc lins Ap witness Aplin is intimate Live Lounge. sic will mu live y proof as to wh st mo r he ng ari He . never die rd” on Co nic “Pa gle sin t en rec mthe radio is nothing co her of s pth de pared to the stic ou ac the d an ls ca live vo ed lud inc h arrangement (whic lled ca st lini vio d a very chille have Tadgh who easily could ls). been Yannis from Foa
ce Given her travelling sin s to ge na ma 4am, Aplin still Panic gh ou thr g sin sly effortles al gin ori Cord and her highly ns go Dra ine ag cover of the Im ly ick qu I . tive ac hit Radio became captivated by The auAplin’s performance. ly a on t tha nd thentic sou ngwriter r-so ge sin wn gro home realise to us can muster allows sic. mu for de ma that Aplin is ny ma as r”, sta p po “a Being as me co call her, all seems to r he e for (be e second natur n performance Aplin is see lf with rse he of s oto ph ing tak as if her two live musicians Sunday a on in ing they are sitt n five afternoon). In less tha m the of minutes, the three the d an UK the to played live im. cla ac at gre to world
and letter and then took questions from Radio One journalists, this was a great experience for the audience of about thirty who got the opportunity to meet someone they idolise so much. Aplin then thrilled her audience further with a very powerful rendition of Imagine Dragons “Radioactive”. Once again she opened with a soft harmonic tone, gradually getting stronger and stronger before a very powerful finish with accompanying guitar and violin. As described by a listener “pure talent” Gabrielle Aplin had grasped and thoroughly entertained them throughout her performance.
Singer’s gentle lull captivates crowd By Laura Mullan
It was the intimate stage of the Nerve Centre which first introduced me to the intricate realm of live music and has recently showcased the delicate lull of Gabrielle Aplin. The first strum of a guitar chord signalled the beginning of Gabrielle’s haunting rendition of her latest single Panic Cord taken from her forthcoming debut album English Rain. Panic Cord vividly identifies itself as poignant song with a unique sense of lyrical weight apparent as she soothingly concedes “I was full of doubt and you believed”. Lips silently mouthed along, echoing her lyrics perhaps
highlighting her unique ability to align herself with a diverse crowd through relatable yet touching lyrics. The captivated silence is broken momentarily for an outburst of applause before Gabrielle Aplin began a lingering performance of Radioactive by Imagine Dragons. The song was deliberately unhurried, complimented by the raw quality of Gabrielle’s voice. Her tone is suspended by a chilling violin and piano accompaniment all of which accumulated to a dramatic crescendo delivering a truly pure and captivating performance. Her debut album perhaps signifies her progression lyrically and melodically as an artist.
S G N I N E P P A H Y M E D A Aled Jones Q&A AC
DJ Skills Workshops
Radio1 DJ Greg James gets a grilling from young journalists...
Mairead Kelly asked: You're known for gaining great media success at a young age but could you tell us about your biggest career blunder and how you recovered from it? Well I spent most of my early twenties in the public, people sort of saw me grow up on Radio1. I was 21 when I started there and I'm now 27, I think you change a lot between 21 and 27. I don't think I've really had a blunder per see, I have never swore on the radio or anything but what I have learned is that even when you land your dream job, some people, people who don’t even know you will criticise you and what you do. I remember on my first show on Radio1 seeing negative comments coming in on the text and I thought, why are you saying this? But that’s just one of those things. Also I was in a high profile relationship, I used to go out with Ellie Goulding, and it was strange seeing things written about you, in papers you read and you just think, why? I’m just a normal person. Ryan Brolley asked: Do you feel you have a duty to help those aspiring to get into the music industry as you hold such a high place in the British media? I love to help those who want tips on getting involved in the industry and often listen to aspiring DJ's demo tapes, of course I do, I was once like them, it means a lot to help someone, after all I was once in their position.
Duana Forrest asked: You’ve had a lot of opportunity to travel and work with charities because of your high profile radio 1 job, what was your experience trekking the Zambezi for Comic Relief?
Jack Dee, Dara O’Brian, Mel C, Chelsee Healey, Olympian Phillips IdowuIt and I trekked the Zambezi to help build schools in Zambia. It was a very difficult experience; none of us who were taking part in it had really prepared ourselves for how tough it would be. We were paddling on the Zambezi around eight hours a day and at one point Dara O’Brian and Jack Dee went the wrong way down the river. We thought it was funny at first but it ended up being such a terrifying situation because the Zambezi is not easy to manoeuvre. We did end up going to see the area where the school would be built and that made it all worthwhile. They have next to nothing yet they continue on with their lives; it made any problems we have seem like nothing. It was such a worthwhile journey and the money we raised was fantastic.
“I have never swore on the
radio or anything but what I have learned is that even when you land your dream job, some people, people who don’t even know you will criticise you and what you do. I remember on my first show on Radio 1 seeing negative comments coming in on the text and I thought, why are you saying this?”
S G N I N E P P A H Y M E D A Our aspirations.... AC
I hate people eating art’s g g a T il h P apples on buses! pet peeves By Conor Hughes
I ENTERED this workshop expecting to learn some valuable information from experienced journalists, when I found out that I would be interviewing Radio1 DJ Phil Taggart I saw an opportunity to test my skills not only as a writer, but as an interviewer. After a 15 minute research session we were introduced to Phil. He came in and after hearing about our intense research decided it better to sit than to stand. We got started on an odd foot which set the tone for the entire interview, What is your biggest pet peeve and why? To which he replied, “This may sound weird but I
hate people eating on buses, especially eating apples because all you can hear from them is munching next to you, it does my head in!” After this question I was forced on to the podium, my question was who would be your dream person to interview and why? “It may sound weird coming from someone who reviews new music but I’d love to interview someone like Bruce Springsteen, the older musicians are the ones who will have lots of stories to tell.” I asked him about his dog Toffee who he said on his Twitter recently was feeling quite poorly, “It’s not looking good, I’m going home to-
morrow to spend some quality time with him, I’m going to buy a big joint of ham and just lie in my house feeding him ham.” In several questions he highlighted some of the highs and lows of his time interviewing local bands. “My worst interview was probably my first time interviewing The Vaccines, I didn’t really know what I was doing so I basically just started talking to them and it was really awkward.” “My weirdest experience in interviewing was when a band came into the studio with a present for me, it was a shoebox coated in nail varnish, inside this shoebox was a dead mouse sitting on a bed of peas, this was when we decided to send them out of the studio.”
PHIL TAGGART ‘No one had a clue what I was saying due to my accent’ By Niamh Walsh
For BBC Radio1’s academy we got the chance to interview Phil Taggart a radio 1 DJ. I asked the question: “Have people ever not been able to understand your accent when you were on the radio or interviewing someone? Phil Taggart answered by saying“It was very difficult at the start. The Northern Irish accent is very fast anyway but when I first started Radio1 I was very nervous so I just spoke really fast and all my words mumbled together so nobody had a clue what I was saying!” He also said “Most nights I get a text in saying it’s great to hear Collin Murray back on the radio” I also asked the question: “When you were younger did you ever think about becoming a Radio1 presenter?” Phil Taggart replied by saying- “I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about it when I was younger. But I thought you had to be a different breed of person to be a radio DJ, I thought all DJs were arrogant and confidant and I couldn’t see myself fitting in with that”
Stephen Byrne lends his ‘Voice’ to BBCR1 Academy
DO YOU watch ‘The Voice of Ireland’? Well, yesterday I interviewed the wellknown quirky 23-year-old Irish personality and presenter – Mr Stephen Byrne, once voted the sexiest male TV star. Before starting to work on the show back in January of this year, Stephen was hugely a phenomenon on a popular video streaming website where he posted mostly vlog type videos from his bedroom. Before rising to fame with his account in September 2008, Stephen’s thoughts were “Who would ever watch this; it’s just me fooling around and being random?” And still to this day, he finds himself nervous with the content he puts up because his fan base is so huge. He just wants to keep everyone happy. Stephen exclaimed that the Internet is “an anonymous playground” where there is the potential for a lot of hate. When asked his biggest highlight, he commented that he was a “big nerd” and got to meet J.J. Abrams - the writer and director of the television hit ‘Lost’. The advice he has given for anyone interested in working in presenting is that “there is no specific way”. He suggests that people “become a runner on a show” and to be sure to “connect with the appropriate social networking sites”. On top of that, make sure that “some of your own material is online”. Finally, Stephen remarked that he now sees “celebrities as normal people, who all have different backgrounds and experiences”.
By Clíona Edwards
Do you want to be a jour ?
Get your career off on the right foot by studying A-Level journalism at the Verbal Arts Centre
A professional qualification taught by industry experts
Contact us on journalism@verbalartscentre or on 02871266946 for further details