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Ashley’s pride at radio air-play

Posted: 10 December 2021

West Nottinghamshire College music student and aspiring recording artist Ashley Westlake has revealed his pride after his latest self-penned track hit the airwaves.

Ashley practices in the rehearsal room at the college’s Create venue.
Ashley practices in the rehearsal room at the college’s Create venue.

The 17-year-old described the feeling as “out of this world” after hearing Up All Night – a collaboration with local singer, songwriter and music producer Tom Shawcroft – played on The Beat, which is broadcast every Saturday night across the BBC’s radio stations in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire.

The up-tempo track featured on the Saturday 4 December edition of the long-running programme after being chosen by BBC Music Introducing, which discovers, supports and propels emerging artists in the UK.

The popular platform sees would-be artists upload their tracks online and these get listened to by a team of local presenters and producers. Selected tracks are then broadcast on BBC local stations and some are even propelled onto the national stage through BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra, Radio 2, 6 Music, Radio 3, Asian Network and World Service.

Ashley teamed up with Tom to write and record Up All Night in the studios at The Old Library, Mansfield, where the talented teenager is signed to the eNGine Room – a not-for-profit record label supporting and showcasing some of the best young talent in Nottinghamshire, run by Inspire Youth Arts out of the venue in Leeming Street.

He said: “The song is a summer-type tune because it’s tough times at the minute, with Covid, so I wanted to do something uplifting. It’s kind of a love song about my girlfriend.

“I’d been working on it for almost five weeks with Tom and we finally got to the point where we felt it was finished. I uploaded it to BBC Music Introducing and then received an email saying they had listened to it. Then the next day I woke up to another email saying they were going to play it.

“The feeling was out of this world. My dream has always been to have one of my songs played on the radio.”

It was a case of fifth time lucky for Ashley after several unsuccessful attempts to gain air-play for early acoustic track Come Back to Me – adding: “I’ve been trying for so long to get one of my tracks played so to finally achieve it was amazing.”

On the night he tuned-in with his mum and stepdad, knowing “loads of family members and all of my mates were listening.”

He continued: “It didn’t feel real at the time – it hit me straight after; the realisation that I’d just been on the radio.

“There’s been a fantastic reaction. Loads of people have said the song is amazing and want it releasing on Spotify. I’ve also released it on YouTube because the feedback was that good.

“I’ve got more followers on YouTube off the back of it and it’s my most-liked video.

“I’m now keeping my fingers crossed that my song gets chosen to be played on one of the BBC’s national stations.”

Ashley studies the Level 3 Advanced Extended Diploma for Music Practitioners at the college’s state-of-the-art Create building, part of the Derby Road campus. The student, from Sutton-in-Ashfield, dreams of launching a career in the music business, as a singer and songwriter.

“The course is really fun,” he said. “There’s a big practical element this year. Last year there was more theory work, which you need and it’s good that this comes first – but performing is what I love most.

“There are so many opportunities on this course. The tutors help you with your song-writing and you get time to really develop your skills.”

Ashley is no stranger to success, having been crowned winner of the Ashfield and Eastwood’s Got Talent competition earlier this year after wowing judges with his rendition of Ed Sheeran’s number-one hit Perfect, gaining a ‘perfect’ score of 30 out of 30.

This earned the self-taught guitarist the grand prize of £500, which he immediately spent on a brand-new Faith Venus ‘Naked Series’ Electro Cut acoustic guitar and his first paid gig, which took place at Annesley restaurant Porterhouse by Barlows.

Music tutor Dan Woodward said: “Ashley has always shown a keen interest in song-writing and it's great to see him using BBC Music Introducing as a platform to showcase his talents and the skills he has been developing whilst at the college.”

You can hear Up All Night on The Beat, including what presenter Dean Jackson had to say, by clicking here, or this and other tracks on Ashley’s YouTube page. You can also visit his website at https://www.bandlab.com/ashleywestlakeuk.

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