Gemma Louise Stanford

"The emphasis on collaboration at Leeds Conservatoire has helped me push myself outside of my comfort zone and I have become a more confident songwriter, collaborator and person in general"

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Gemma Louise Stanford

Gemma Louise Stanford - BA (Hons) Songwriting

Gemma Louise Stanford is a singer-songwriter studying on our BA (Hons) Songwriting programme.

She has co-written for artists such as Mary Eckert, and regularly releases music on her SoundCloud page.

What has been the most important thing you've learned at Leeds Conservatoire?

The weekly one-to-ones that we receive on the Songwriting course have been invaluable to me. As someone who was nervous to share my music with others when I joined the conservatoire, the weekly feedback on my songs has shown me just how important and useful it is to get feedback on your work.

What are you planning on doing after graduation?

After graduation I plan to stay in Leeds and freelance as a Songwriter, writing for artists, TV, adverts and anyone that needs songs!

Is there anything you've encountered over the last few years that has really made you push yourself as a musician or anything new that you had not tried before?

I have been exposed to so much new music through my tutors, friends and other students and this has really inspired me to write in new genres and styles. The wide variety of writing tasks we are set in our lectures have pushed me to write for briefs and in genres I never would have before.

What is the best piece of advice you've been given at Leeds Conservatoire?

The best piece of advice I've been given at the conservatoire is to say yes to opportunities and keep your options open. It is important to get experience in as many areas as possible in your field so you can sustain a successful portfolio career in the music industry.

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Gemma Louise Stanford

What has been the best project / opportunity you've had during your degree?

This year, despite the pandemic, I was able to take part in two week-long writing camps with students from all pathways at Leeds Conservatoire, as well as internationally with students from the Netherlands. I learnt so much from these writing camps and it really made me appreciate my progress as a songwriter. Before I started studying here I would never have had the courage to put myself forward for anything like that!

What has been the biggest challenge and how has this helped you develop?

Before coming to Leeds I had very little collaborative experience. Writing music with new people and sharing ideas with groups was daunting at first as I was someone who had always written songs individually at the piano. The emphasis on collaboration at Leeds Conservatoire has helped me push myself outside of my comfort zone and I have become a more confident songwriter, collaborator and person in general!

What is your favourite Leeds Conservatoire Memory?

Some of my favourite memories of my time at the conservatoire have been singing with the Leeds Contemporary Pop Choir. Not only having an amazing time on stage performing with the choir before the pandemic, but also the socially distanced recording session we've had since.

What advice would you give to others thinking of applying to your course at Leeds Conservatoire?

Bit of a cliché - but throw yourself into everything you do and take any opportunities you can because it goes so fast! Also, learn how to cook some basic nutritious meals before leaving home (or you'll be living on beans on toast and instant noodles for the entirety of your first year like I did).

How would you describe your experience at Leeds Conservatoire in three words?

Exciting. Supportive. Creative.

Read about our BA (Hons) Songwriting course

Listen to Gemma on SoundCloud, or follow her on Instagram 

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