Students awarded prizes for exceptional musical talent

UHI Perth students Kirsty Stewart and Lola Elvira Dorado have each been awarded a John Preston Music Award which supports emerging talent within the music industry.

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Kirsty Stewart and Lola Elvira Dorado

Both students received a prize of £500 in recognition of their achievements to help them move forward with their chosen music careers.

Kirsty, the John Preston Music Business Award recipient, graduated with a music business BA (Hons) and now works in Glasgow. She said: “It is a privilege to be the recipient of the John Preston Music Business Award 2022. Studying during lockdown was one of the most academically challenging things I have ever done and I am grateful to my lecturers for getting me through it and for recognising my efforts. I’d like to say a special thanks to Mr Preston’s widow, Roz Preston, for setting up this award in his name. Since receiving this award, I have secured a job with a record label in Glasgow.”

Lola, the John Preston International Music Award recipient, is studying for a popular music BA (Hons). She said: “I can't thank Rosalind Preston and the Liam Colgan Music Fund enough for the receipt of this award. I knew very little about John Preston prior to receiving the International Music Award and, having read a little more about him, I am truly honoured to be in receipt of a grant in memory of such a notable music industry professional!

“Also, having spoken to my programme leader about Liam Colgan, I understand he was a great songwriter and guitar player - contributing to many student projects in his time at the UHI. I feel humbled to accept this award which also recognises grass-roots creative practice at the UHI and serves to also commemorate a student in my position.

“Without this contribution, I would not have been able to tour internationally this year so am truly grateful for the immeasurable contribution this grant as had on my music career.”

The John Preston Music Awards are donated through the Liam Colgan Music Fund (LCMF) on behalf of John’s widow Roz Preston, who has set up a memorial fund in his memory. The LCMF manages the fund and a programme of awards for young music business students across the Highlands and Islands. The LCMF is a long-standing UHI donor, supporting music students in a range of ways.

Over a 25-year career, John worked with many well-known artists including Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, David Bowie, Take That and Whitney Houston whilst Simon Cowell was among the many executives given early breaks by John.

Iain Clark, Chairman of the Liam Colgan Music Fund, said: “We are honoured to have helped to set up this memorial fund in John’s name with UHI. John rose to the very top of the UK music industry, as chairman of BMG as well as the British Phonographic Industry, the trade body for the UK music industry. He was one of the kindest, most decent and honourable people I ever met in the music business and, after working together, we went on to become good friends.

“John spent much of his career finding and supporting emerging talent, whether they were artists or young business executives. He would have been thrilled and excited by the talents and ambitions displayed by Kirsty and Lola so early in their careers.”

Applications for the 2023 John Preston International Music Award are open for UHI music business students until Sunday 22 October. Find out more and apply.

Find out more about studying music with UHI