“I moved to Devon in September 2001, two weeks after my eighteenth birthday, to study English at Exeter University having finally abandoned any notions of becoming a classical musician. Up until this point my love of traditional music had been kept hidden from my school friends and confined to my mum’s car stereo, the odd pub session and the annual trips to Sidmouth and Bromyard Folk Festivals, and whilst I was a keen violinist, the thought of singing in front of anyone terrified me.
“During my first few weeks in Exeter I dutifully attended lectures and seminars, nights out and the university orchestra. Then one day half way through my first term, I bumped into a friend of my brother’s from the record stall at Sidmouth folk festival, in the student union. That afternoon we went for coffee and then back to her shared house where we spent a glorious few hours listening to her collection of folk CDs. Walking back to my halls of residence that evening, I felt euphoric – as if I had found my focus.
“Over the year that followed we sought out the local singarounds and sessions, played support sets for a few acts at the local folk club and met other like-minded friends. One monthly sing around, situated in a little pub in Black Dog village near to Morchard Bishop, particularly sparked my imagination and made me determined to conquer my fears about singing. I was captivated by the expressiveness of the unaccompanied ballad singing there.
“Over the subsequent years I spent at university, the path towards becoming a musician opened up quickly, helped greatly by my involvement in the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award and the warmth and support of friends I met on the local music scene in Devon. By the time I graduated I had no sense of what I might do with my life, other than to see if the few gigs I had in my calendar could lead to more opportunities.”
Thanks to Jackie Oates for the latest in our series of artist blogs. Jackie heads out on tour later this month to promote her new album Saturnine.
No shows booked at the moment.