Connor Morgans on his new mini-series for the Anthem podcast, Amplify, which delves into the decision faced by many young musicians of whether to move from Wales to London, in order to pursue their career.
Created by Anthem: Music Fund Wales, which aims to empower young lives through music funding, opportunities, and networking, the Amplify podcast is a platform for stories about youth music in Wales. I was invited to present the current 3-part episode as a guest host, exploring a decision that is faced by many young musicians and creatives in Wales or London. With a growing discussion around whether young Welsh creatives are required to move to the most populous city in the UK to achieve work or stay in their homeland and forge a career closer to home, I thought it was the perfect time to discuss something so topical. As someone who moved to London to work for a month and has since come back, I became increasingly interested in the debate and what others had to say about it. Due to my own quite recent experiences with this very debate, I have worked with the wonderful team at Anthem to forge a new 3-part series investigating this, interviewing a variety of artists from Wales with different perspectives on the matter, in a hope of kick starting a debate which might be particularly useful to younger listeners who may be feeling stuck.
Having an opportunity for that discussion to take place is vital in the current climate; we know that many young people think moving to a big city like London may be the only way to succeed in their career. What I’ve learned so far in this podcast series is that there are most certainly benefits to both decisions and, as we continue, hopefully those listening will gain a sense of why the decision is such a complex one. There isn’t a right or wrong answer and being open minded is the key to success, especially in such a competitive field, whether that be in London or Wales.
The question we ultimately come back to, is of whether we really need that binary choice between Wales and London? Is there a way to forge a more productive exchange so that artists aren’t forced into making a choice between prioritising a career here in Wales, or moving to London?
Despite the one-or-the-other nature of the title, having the opportunity to be open-minded about where you work could often allow you to forge a more successful career. This is the same story in Wales, those in Anglesey might feel they need to move to Cardiff to pursue a career in media or music because the advertising of opportunities in the capital city might be more successful, but that’s not to say they have to move or even they could commute when an opportunity requires it and this is the avenue that I think many Welsh creatives find themselves taking – staying in Wales but travelling when and where needed to almost get that best of both worlds. Again, there is no right or wrong, rather a sense that everyone makes that decision based on what feels right to them at the time. Nonetheless, there are common themes; the ease of transport and the potential for increased opportunities to been mentioned in many of the conversations I’ve had so far. Ironically, it’s entirely possible that some London creatives might even be having this discussion in reverse, not least because there are currently so many great gig events that happen in Wales, such as Green Man Festival, Sŵn Festival, In It Together Festival etc. It’s natural that artists outside of Wales would also want the opportunity to tap into those kind of events and generate new audiences through them.
The wonderful thing about this podcast, and our aim to have such a variety of guests on it, is that there is room for a varied discussion which takes into account these differing perspectives, while recognising that we can still find ourselves caught in the middle, with an understanding and appreciation for life on both sides of the border. Additionally (and here’s a spoiler alert), the first three guests admitted that they would never entirely rule out a move. This sentiment could change in the following episodes, but it’s been a fascinating start to a series which we hope will build on this debate.
Every episode we feature three guests to ensure a variety of views and opinions to really allow for a balanced and successful discussion. The first episode featured Izzy Rabey, Foxxglove & Caitlin Lavagna, three Welsh musicians who bring unique perspectives from their experiences in both Wales and London.
The second episode, which is currently in production, will concentrate on producers & promoters. It is important to represent the music industry by platforming ‘behind the scenes’ career roles and voicing their experiences across the mini-series, getting an insight into how location and community affects their job roles. Also, understanding career perspectives and preferences in the Welsh/London scene.
Episode 2 & 3 will certainly be an opportunity to draw all of these themes together. Expect discussion about the challenges of creating, travelling, evolving as an artist, developing a sense of self and growing in strength in the community. Each guest will have their own individual opinion, and I can’t guarantee that we’ll provide any definitive answers. What I can promise is an engaging conversation and a broader debate about how your choice of location can affect your career.
All episodes of Amplify: stories about youth music in Wales can be listened to via Google Podcasts, PodBean, Spotify and Amazon Music.
You can find out more about the Amplify podcast now, at Anthem Wales.