The Big Music Project: Live Finals, O2 Arena


Volunteering for the week during the finals of The Big Music Project’s talent competition at the o2 Arena, I got a true insight into the music industry and how artists and managers work together. The whole Big Music Project is an organization to help aspiring musicians and others wanting to work in the industry, providing internships, advice, and of course, running this talent competition, which was organized with the British Phonographic Industry and the British Record Industry Trust, and in association with previous talent competition The Next Brit Thing.


Spending the week in the roles of VIP steward, artist liaison, and general administration work for the event, I had the opportunity to observe all areas of the event, from spending time with the contestants, to making the posters for the venue, to going on multiple coffee and Nandos runs for the VIP judges.

The live finals were held in the indigo2- the smaller venue inside London’s o2 Arena. With a sold out capacity, the competition was underway after two days of setting up, sound-checks, and interview and VT filming. Hip-hop duo Jordan and Harley of Rizzle Kicks, classical artist Laura Wright, Colin Barlow of RCA Records, and Glyn Aikins of Virgin EMI, were the judges who fantastically gave feedback, both positive and critical, of the 16 finalists that performed at the event. Each contestant was assigned a mentor throughout the few months in which they took part in the competition, and majority of them have exited with incomparable industry contacts and with commercial interest in their music beings shown, with many of the contestants being offered management deals and record deals as a result of their performances and participating in the competition.


The live finals saw a range of performers and genres, from rap hip-hop to musical theatre, to classical violin and piano music, to pop and indie rock. All bar a couple performers performed original songs, which was an incredibly brave risk, exposing their music to the most advanced in the industry. However all went well for winners, where Sarah and Laura Ayoub and Yuanfan Yang took home the prize for classical category, who have been prized an opportunity of a performance at the Royal Albert Hall with Classic FM. For the contemporary category, Aina More, Jump The Shark, and Daniel Scott (the competition was that great they had to pick an extra winner) have been awarded with a recording session at world renowned Abbey Road Studios.


The Big Music Project funds internships through their On Track internship programme, and gives industry advice on their website too, focusing on helping emerging musicians gain a foot into the music industry. Having been funded by The Big Lottery Fund for a year since its start, the project is currently searching for further funding to be able to extend its activities and competitions for the future.