How funding helps a composer move from working alone into meaningful collaborations
Meet Jayne Dent
Jayne Dent’s relationship with Sage Gateshead began with an experimental, classical workshop. Now, along with working at the box office during the day, she’s performed multiple times in Sage One.
In the past year, Jayne performed as Me Lost Me at the After Dark Festival and BBC Proms at Sage Gateshead: Folk Connections, cementing her place on the North East’s musical landscape.
“I describe my music with difficulty. I grew up with Folk music,” she says. “I turned to sound art and Electronica in my late teens.”
“It all started to marry, and now Folk, Electronic, Pop, Jazz, and Classical influence me and anything else I can hoover up.”
Music filled Jayne’s upbringing in Chesterfield. Her parents enjoyed singing in choirs, Morris dancing, folk jams and playing in a Caleigh band. However, she took a different path as a teen.
“I decided to do visual art,” says Jayne. “I thought maybe that’s my route. I came to study Fine Art at Newcastle Uni in 2013 and stuck around.”
Slowly, she returned to music and found herself playing in venues rather than displaying art in galleries.
“I was running around Newcastle near the end of my degree, playing the smaller venues and getting support slots. I thought, ‘This is the route I want to take.'”
Jayne’s first visit to Sage Gateshead was to see a performance by St Vincent. Not long afterwards, she took her mother to a classical Christmas concert. Then she got her job in the box office.
“I became aware of everything happening in the building, along with what was shared online,” she says. “I’ve participated in workshops and did Summer Studios [a week-long residency using Sage Gateshead’s rehearsal space].”
Jayne became a Sage Gateshead Artist in Residence for 2020/2021.
“I tend to write about miserable things like the end of the world and climate change; it can be quite dark,” says Jayne. “I wanted to focus on something positive, so I read texts about how we can secure a better future.”
In 2021 she released an EP called The Circle Dance under Me Lost Me.
“I collaborated with new musicians for the first time as I usually work as a soloist, mainly because of lack of funds.”
“The artist development team at Sage Gateshead helped me with other funding applications,” she says. “I could pay other musicians and still play with them in a band now.”
Jayne’s residency ran through the pandemic. She says having someone checking in on her progress during that time was particularly helpful
Sage Gateshead supported Jayne by looking over applications and recommended people to help in other areas. Her music was given a platform through Sage Gateshead’s website and social media.
“It makes you feel like a real musician and gives you a boost. The emerging artist gigs are brilliant too, especially, From the Glasshouse.“
There was a concert celebrating the completion of her residency where Jayne played her music for the first time on the stage of Sage One.
“It was cool to have so much space on stage and have visual projections I made behind us,” she says It was special because we were coming out of lockdown.”
Jayne loves the way venues, promoters and musicians relate to one another in a small, friendly city.
“It’s a community,” she says. “People are happy to lift each other. We all champion the scene showing the rest of the country how great it is.”
Building audiences beyond the North East can be difficult for emerging artists. Jayne’s musical career has progressed through tours she organises herself but feels there is still a distance to go.
“There’s less money going around at the moment, and people can’t come to gigs all of the time,” she says. “Venues have started doing more pay-as-you-feel gigs; that’s good.”
As Jayne’s residency at Sage Gateshead neared completion, she received the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for composers. The financial support associated with the award enabled her to continue recording her third album.
“I’m not as worried now about paying rent,” she says. “So, I can put more time into my music.”
If you want to help Sage Gateshead support artists like Jayne, and continue improving lives through music, consider making a gift to our fundraising campaign.
Help safeguard the future of music in the North East
In 2020, early in the Covid crisis, we asked everyone who valued the musical life we support to help us.
We needed support because we lost £10 million – two-thirds of our income – overnight.