Emma Pollock on Help Musicians Scotland's Creative Programme

Emma Pollock speaks to Help Musicians Scotland about the highs and lows she's gone through since her launching her music career in 1994

Advertorial by Tallah Brash | 13 Feb 2019
Help Musicians Scotland
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Continuing our media partnership with Help Musicians Scotland (HM Scotland), we’re proud to be sharing the second in a series of videos highlighting the unique pressures faced by a series of Scotland’s most loved musicians and industry insiders. Through a video entitled Help Musicians Scotland creates a lifetime of support for Scotland’s music sector, this month’s personal story comes from Emma Pollock, who discusses the highs and lows of working in the music industry.

In the short film which you can watch below in the YouTube player (click here if it's not displaying correctly), Pollock describes being involved in the music industry since she started The Delgados in 1994 with Alun Woodward, Stewart Henderson and Paul Savage. A year later, Pollock and Savage launched the record label Chemikal Underground together, which was run in tandem with the band until they split in 2005.

Pollock explains that the hardest thing about being a working musician is going home after a tour, alone, or to a family that don’t necessarily understand or sympathise. "They are faced with this, 'Where’s the audience gone, where’s the attention gone?'" she explains in the film. "One of the most important things is that you still manage to fill your life with people and with things when you’re going through that lull between album one and album two... that you can learn to cope with no longer being in the public eye every single night... it can be really sore when that attention is no longer afforded to you."

Pollock also offers some sage advice to musicians who are new to the industry: "Try and live as cheaply as possible while still being healthy... and just stay away from credit cards!"

Help Musicians Scotland Nation Manager Suzanne Miller says it’s crucial musicians are aware that the charity is there to offer them a lifetime of support through its funding to artists for creative projects, but also reactive health and welfare support through grants and services like Music Minds Matter. "In an ever-changing music industry, we are determined to help talent succeed without facing impossible financial barriers," she says. "We want to see a thriving musical culture in Scotland and will continue to play our part in supporting the full spectrum from upcoming to seasoned musicians to ensure the vitality and diversity of the profession is sustained."

Since Help Musicians UK was founded in 1921, it has been offering life-changing support, advice and funding to artists and industry professionals throughout the country, with a dedicated talent development programme instated in the early 1980s. Officially launching in Scotland last year, with its HM Scotland office based in Glasgow, Help Musicians now invest more than £600,000 a year in helping artists with a lifetime of support across mental, physical, financial and career health.

Through years of research, HMUK and Help Musicians Scotland understand the difficulties those involved in the music industry can regularly experience in terms of both getting started in the industry and maintaining a career. Training to be a musician can be not just time-consuming, but also an incredibly expensive career choice, with intense competition for those all-important opportunities that arise.

Help Musicians Scotland helps musicians develop their talent through a broad spectrum of funding opportunities direct to musicians, or indirectly via partnerships. Keep a look out for the Creative Programme funds and grants Help Musicians Scotland is launching throughout 2019, including Do It Differently, Transmission, Fusion, National Grants Programme, Post Graduate Awards, Peter Whittingham Jazz Awards and the MOBO Help Musicians Fund.

You can keep updated with their latest news and announcements by following Help Musicians Scotland on Twitter, Facebook and signing up to their mailing list.  

Contact our Scotland office:
0141 404 9502

If you work in music and are struggling to cope, or know someone who is, get in touch with Music Minds Matter, Help Musicians UK’s around-the-clock listening ear service and support line dedicated to everyone who works in the music industry. Contact Music Minds Matter on 0808 802 8008 or email: mmm@helpmusicians.org.uk