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Sage Gateshead



Posted on 22 May 2020


Ruth Patterson’s debut single ‘Sink or Swim’ marks the launch of her solo career which has come to fruition during her time as Sage Gateshead’s Artist in Residence. The single is due out on the 26th June, the same weekend Ruth should have been performing at Sage Gateshead.

The concert has had to be postponed until February 2021 but Ruth is determined to continue with her plans to release the single.

I was so disappointed when my chance to perform as Artist in Residence at Sage Gateshead was postponed, and when I finally do get to play in Sage Two, it will be a dream come true. Yet it feels right to still mark the end of the residency and the culmination of what I’ve been able to achieve, with the launch of the single. It feels like something positive to shout about in uncertain and scary times!

Ruth was selected, along with Holly Clarke and Paul Edis, as one of 2019/20’s Artists in Residence. Sage Gateshead’s Artists in Residence placement is a 10-month artist-led programme for musicians who wish to develop an ambitious creative project and applications for 2020/21 are now open.

During Ruth’s time with Sage Gateshead she has been mentored by the likes of composer and arranger Fiona Brice as well as Sage Gateshead’s creative team.

I was really, really lucky to be able to meet Fiona Brice; I’ve always been a massive fan of hers and so it was an amazing experience to have a masterclass day where I could work on my string and clarinet scores with Fiona.

As well as developing her discipline as a writer and musician, exploring her style and identity, Ruth has written and recorded two singles primed for release, the first one being ‘Sink or Swim’.

Sink or Swim is about living with mental instability and the battle to keep our heads above water” Ruth states. “It’s written about a panic attack I had last year and I really felt like I was drowning… the loss of control, disappearing reality, not knowing when it will end.

“I guess this song is me sharing my own experiences and hopefully it will connect with other people that maybe feel the same way. It seems with everything that’s going on, the whole world is living in a state of anxiety. We’ve all lost a sense of control as our reality is so rapidly changing.”

Sage Gateshead’s building is currently closed but their artist development work continues online and they will deliver next year’s residency programme with the hope that it will culminate with a final performance held inside the venue.

Emily Jones, Senior Producer at Sage Gateshead said: “We are looking for four artists across a range of genres who are at a ‘pivotal point’ in their career where an ambitious project will open up new possibilities and move their work forward.

As one of our Artists in Residence, musicians will have access to funding, a residential retreat, rehearsal space, one to one advice and support and will be expected to showcase their work in one of Sage Gateshead’s halls.

Ruth is continuing to write material for her debut album and wants to use her remaining residency time with the Sage Gateshead to be able to officially launch her career, adding “As my residency finishes with Sage Gateshead, it is the start not the end of an exciting journey.”

Ruth’s single, Sink or Swim is out on the 26th June 2020. To find out more visit

Ruth’s rescheduled concert date is 26th February 2021. Visit for tickets.

You can hear a taster of her work via Sage Gateshead’s live stream on 25th June. Details will be shared on Sage Gateshead’s Facebook page.

Next year’s Artists in Resident programme will run from September 2020 to June 2021. The deadline for applications is 12 June 2020 and more information can be found on the artists-in-residence page.


Notes to Editors

For further information, interviews or images please contact:

Gaynor Ellis, PR and Communications Manager, Sage Gateshead

Ruth Patterson is also the lead singer of Newcastle-based folk-rock band Holy Moly & The Crackers.

Ruth Patterson is Sage Gateshead’s 2020 Artists in Residence as well as an activist and ambassador for the organisation Attitude Is Everything who campaign to improve deaf and disabled people’s access to live music. She has toured extensively, created three acclaimed albums as leader of folk-rock band Holy Moly & the Crackers and has had music featured in Radio, TV, Film and Theatre.

Because of lock-down restrictions Ruth has not been able to access the Sage Gateshead facilities and space. Instead, she has taken it upon herself to build her own studio in her spare bedroom, to continue her work and collaboration with Sage: writing, demo-ing, recording, performing and developing her composition skills.

Sage Gateshead

We present around 400 events and festivals each year for a live audience of 350,000, 6 million people hear our work via stream or broadcast and 500,000 visit our building, often national and international visitors. Each year we support over 100 musicians through our artist development programme and we work with 30,000 children and young people and 20,000 adults in our creative learning programme.

We are home to the acclaimed Royal Northern Sinfonia as well as our popular, annual festivals SummerTyne Americana and Folk on the Tyne. We are dedicated to supporting emerging artists, as well as established names, offering residencies such as our Summer Studio and Folkworks Summer Schools.

Alongside our music performance and learning offer, our iconic building, designed by Foster & Partners, provides the perfect venue to over 100 conferences and events a year.

As a charity, the financial support we receive from Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council, Arts Council England and our donors helps to ensure everyone in the community can experience the joys of music. Positioned as one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisation, our continued ambition for the future is to work to significantly to increase the number and range of people connected with music.

In our first decade, our economic impact was £283 million. We are for audiences, for artists, for the North and for the long-term. Everything we do is guided by our values: Creative, Diverse, Focused, Leading, Responsible.

Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.