Class of 2017: Ten graduates to watch

Note: This article refers to Leeds College of Music (LCoM), the former name of Leeds Conservatoire

By Kath Hartley


As we sadly say farewell to the Class of 2017, we look at a handful of our students from a number of courses and the varied, exciting and unique careers they’re heading off to no-doubt succeed in.

Good luck to each and every of our students who graduated this year -  we can’t wait to see what you do next!

Ofuré Faith

Graduating in BA (Hons) Music (Popular), Ofuré Faith’s soulful voice, relatable lyrics, combined with her R&B, Gospel and Soul influences mean the London-born singer-songwriter has created an intoxicating and transfixing sound for any listener.

Ofuré, alongside fellow Popular student Idele Lucille (Miss Idele), was instrumental in the LCoM Students Union dedicating an entire month to diversity awareness.

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Akin Amusan

With a smooth voice and refreshing sound, Akin Amusen, who graduates from BA (Hons) Music (Jazz), is on his way to becoming a recognised and admired name in the UK music industry.

Whether connecting to his African roots through jazz on his principal instrument the saxophone, or the use of futuristic RnB and Gospel vocal harmonies in his songs, the cross-genre artist has emerged with a refreshing approach to how music is both created and experienced. Akin recently shone as a member of the Leeds Contemporary Singers who were crowned champions of the popular BBC One series ‘Pitch Battle’.


Daniel Chant-Burgess

One of our BA (Hons) Music (Production) graduating class, Daniel Chant-Burgess has already built up an impressive portfolio of credits on a variety of compositions for films, trailers, and visual media, building on his long held aim towards writing cinematic music.

He is currently scoring a number of films, including a documentary he directed for Leeds Nightline. An animated short, scored by Daniel, is currently touring a number of prestigious film festivals.

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Ellie Griffiths

Under the stage-name LAMIA, Ellie Griffiths, who graduates from BA (Hons) Music (Popular), has evolved from an amateur, bedroom artist, to one of Leeds’ emerging vocalists and producers. Ellie credits LCoM and its energy and enthusiasm for pushing her to better her musicianship, and this inspiration has seen her sculpt the dark, jazz-drenched electronica of LAMIA.

As LAMIA, she has been signed to local label Dance To The Radio, and released a track for their 2017 Vinyl release and has seen her music broadcast on a number of national outlets including Huw Stephen’s BBC Radio 1 show, BBC Introducing, and Amazing Radio. She recently performed at Live at Leeds 2017.

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Sean Gleeson

Sean Gleeson, who is graduating in BA (Hons) Music (Classical), leaves behind a legacy of impressive performances as principal trumpet for a variety of LCoM’s respected ensembles including: Chamber Orchestra; Wind Ensemble; and the New Music Collective. Sean’s keen interest in a variety of musical genres, including pop and jazz, saw him accompany a select group of LCoM students and alumni in an acclaimed Valentine’s Day performance with pop legend Marc Almond.

Sean is currently principal trumpet for the Leeds Youth Opera, Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra, and is an irregular player with the White Rose Orchestra, and is an off-stage trumpet with the Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra. He was recently offered a place in the Leeds Symphony Orchestra and is set to start as the Leeds Youth Opera conducting intern in September 2017.


Skwid Ink

After meeting at Leeds College of Music, Skwid Ink, comprising of George MacDonald, Will Lakin, George Hall and Fergus Quill, who are all graduating from BA (Hons) Music (Jazz),  are one of the many impressive bands coming out of the conservatoire in the Class of 2017.

Signed to the indy label Tight Lines – run by members of the band and more - the quartet combine jazz and hip-hop seamlessly to create a collage of beats, bass, riffs and licks, all to seduce the ears. In February, they released their first single ‘Dungeon Politic’, a reimagining of Kendrick Lamar’s 'Hood Politic'.

Tight Lines present a number of emerging Leeds-based artists including Garde Dog, DULAHLI, and Têtes de Pois; whilst putting on events including 'Chill Withers', 'Tight Lines Jam' and 'Salèmango' as well as record live sessions with local emerging artists. They also publish a culture zine 'Tight Zines'.

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Ben Broughton

Ben Broughton graduates from BA (Hons) Music (Production) with a burgeoning reputation and several credits as producer and DJ ‘Phrixus’. As Phrixus, Ben compliments organic textures and instrumentation with hard-hitting, dancefloor moving drum patterns.

Ben has been a central figure in 8MANA, a musical collective of producers, DJs and performers who cover a wide range of different styles varying from hip hop, future soul and post dubstep to grime, footwork and UK Bass. 8MANA involves a selection of fellow LCoM Students as well as Ben including; George Moore, Aidan Johnson, Anthony Phelan, Sam Tidman, Tom Wynne-Jones, Jack Zealey, and Sam Carter. Each member wrote and produced their own tracks for 8MANA’s debut release, ‘Sorry Julia’, which was released digitally and on a limited-press 12-inch vinyl.

Ben himself is currently gigging around Europe, having played in the US last summer, and has seen his track have airplay on NTS, Radio 1, 1Xtra, and RinseFM, amongst others.

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Lucy Whittaker

The punchy electro-pop and energetic stage presence of Lucy Whittaker, who graduates from BA (Hons) Music (Popular), has seen the 21 year-old’s burgeoning career go from strength-to-strength over her time at Leeds College of Music.

After being selected for the exclusive LCoM Touring programme, Lucy has performed at a range of gigs and festivals; including Eurosonic Netherlands 2017 alongside artists including JP Cooper. In April, Lucy’s hit track ‘I’m Not Ever Coming Back Again’ was played on some of BBC Radio 1’s biggest radio shows, including Greg James, Scott Mills and Clara Amfo, after it was named BBC Introducing’s ‘Track of the Week.

In May she performed at Liverpool Sound City festival as part of the Leeds College of Music showcase that included Lauren Rycroft, S a N T I N O, Laminate Pet Animal, and The Golden Age of TV.

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Oscar Abela

Oscar Abela graduates from our BA (Hons) Music (Production) degree already with an array of impressive highlights to his fledgling career.

Under the pseudonym ‘Hesperis’, Oscar has evolved as an electronic music producer, striving to explore common electronics music techniques in a contemporary setting and develop immersive digital sounds. He also currently performs as part of Leeds-based, post-rock five-piece Dharma Wild.

Oscar has credits that include co-production of two singles with up-and-coming vocalist LAMIA ; recording, mixing and mastering of contemporary piano performances by Ailis Ni Riain; sound design on an interactive audio-visual installation ‘Ataraxy’; as well as original composition and sound design for ‘Arctic Bazaar’, a temporary Scandi-inspired winter arts café.

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Max Galley

During his time at Leeds College of Music, Max, who graduates from BA (Hons) Music (Business), developed creative agency Dot-to-Dot that aims to bring together musicians and artists in Leeds. This was based on a realisation of the major industry demand for promotional material design work that caters for people with tight budgets and short timescales. Dot-to-Dot bridges the gap between two creative industries, driving the collaboration between musicians who wish to brand themselves and artists who want to work with clients and build professional portfolio experience.

Max's work saw him collaborate and connect with many artists at Leeds College of Art, a number of which he has since worked with and commissioned, including work on social media channels, branding decisions and design of promotional material for his band Jolly and the Lightweight.

By Kath Hartley

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