Talented North East singer-songwriter Craig Roddam will be celebrating two major milestones in his career before the end of the year.
Not only will he be playing one of the biggest gigs of his life in front of 10,000 people at Newcastle’s Radio Metro radio arena in December after winning a talent contest, but he begin his Music (1 Year Top-Up) BA (Hons) degree at the University of Sunderland this month (Sept).
Craig, from Tudhoe, County Durham, has been combining his HND in Music at Bishop Auckland College with performances at venues across the North East, and will now top-up his qualification to degree level at Sunderland.
The degree course is designed to build on HND or Foundation Degree qualifications in music and combines degree-level theoretical studies with further training in musical performance, musicology, creative sound and participatory practice, which will no doubt provide the 27-year-old with all the support he needs ahead of his performance on December 16.
In April Craig won the TFM Cash for Kids Big Audition held at Middlesbrough’s Hazel Pearson Theatre, which offered a prize of performing at the Christmas Live show at the Metro Radio Arena, sharing a bill with some of the biggest names in music – last year the event was headlined by Olly Murs and in 2014 by Ed Sheeran.
It could be the breakthrough the hard-working student has been waiting for, after years of gigging across the region and releasing an EP of his own music this year.
Craig said: “Music is a huge part of my life, it’s always been there, I’ve played guitar for the last 15 years, and have been song writing for about two years. But I also wanted to learn more about the music theory, and develop my technical skills in the studio. It’s another aspect of the music industry I’m keen to develop my skills in and I’m looking forward to getting stuck into the degree. It’s going to be a busy year, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Asked about his thoughts on playing at the Arena, Craig said: “It will be life changing and an experience that money can’t buy. I think it will be a huge break for my career, having 10,000 people hear what my music is about – it could provide fantastic exposure.
“I have seen my favourite bands play at the Arena and being there as a fan I’ve always said that one day I would love to play there, always dreaming the dream, but now that dream has finally come true!”
While Craig says he embraces all musical genres to inspire his song writing, in recent years he’s been heavily influenced by the likes of Ed Sheeran, Charlie Simpson, and Dave McPherson.
“I recently supported Dave McPherson, which was an incredible experience, hopefully I’ll be able continue my success through the next year, while juggling my studies.”
Craig is currently promoting his EP at gigs across the region and working on a music video and songs for his next EP. Last December he performed as a finalist at the UBeat Music Awards at NE6 Suite in Newcastle, which were televised on the Made in Tyne and Wear digital channel.