Music stars of the future were given a fine-tuned welcome to one of the country’s most successful musical establishments.
Around 700 new students at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music (BIMM) were brought together at the Theatre Royal in Brighton yesterday for live music, talks from industry guests and a welcome to one of the city’s most lauded music schools.
Janis Winehouse, mother of late singer Amy Winehouse, talked to BIMM’s new recruits about the Amy Winehouse Foundation – a charity set up by Amy’s family to prevent the effects of drug and alcohol misuse on young people.
The foundation helps tens of thousands of vulnerable young people across the country to overcome drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders and self-harm.
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Speaking to The Argus at the BIMM induction yesterday, Janis Winehouse said: “Being able to be here to speak to the kids is a good feeling.
“My biggest piece of advice for them is for them to be able to speak to others if they’re having problems.
“Amy did her thing. She helped people, took in homeless people, paid for a man’s hernia operation in St Lucia and so on.
“The only positive that’s come from Amy’s death is the foundation. She would be proud of the work it does, because that’s how she was.”
Vaseema Hamilton, BIMM principal, said Janis’s talk “meant a lot”.
She said: “It means a lot for Janis to come here because we want our young people to work hard and play hard - but not play too hard in a way that’s going to destroy their creative potential.
“Amy’s story is one of extraordinary tragedy of someone with that much talent and beauty.
“We want to get across the message that you can be successful and have an enormous amount of fun, but not push it too far.”
Asked about the induction of BIMM’s new students, she said: “There’s two points of the year which are highlights for me.
“Student graduation and student induction.
“Today is about getting across the message that by coming to BIMM they’ve made a really special choice to be at a specialist institution for teaching not just musicians but also people who want to work in the music business.”
BIMM’s new students also heard from successful pupils of previous years, including Charlie Tadman, now head of A&R for popstar Calvin Harris’s publishing company, Charlie McClean, an assistant producer who has worked with the likes of One Direction and Susan Boyle, and drummer Adam Pitts from chart-topping band Lawson.
For more information on the Amy Winehouse Foundation visit amywinehousefoundation.org.
For details on BIMM visit bimm.co.uk.