Emma Ballantine

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A Thank You Letter

A few words to all those who've helped make this year so awesome!

In my family, this period between Christmas and New Year is when the thank you letters get written. Or, even if the letters took a little longer to send out (I think February was my record!) it's always been a good time to be thankful. As the year draws to a close, I've been looking back on all the good things 2015 has brought, and all the people who've helped make it one of the best I can remember. Here are just a few of the biggest thank yous...

  1. Producer Pete

Just over a year ago, I went to an auspiciously-named young producer called Peter Waterman to talk about my plans and said I was thinking of making a demo to showcase my songs. His response was: 'why don't we just make a record!' He first inspired me to go the independent route - creating and releasing my first studio EP and even setting up my own label, Shut Up Jo Records. There's no doubt that if I hadn't heeded his advice, I would never have had a track featured by Q Magazine, or been tipped by Glamour as One to Watch. Nor would the record have made it to number 15 in the iTunes Charts, so thanks Pete for persuading me to aim high!

  1. Those who put the 'pro' in promoter

As a grassroots musician, you learn quickly that a truly great promoter is a rare thing. Anyone can book a venue and cobble a bill together, but the real professionals go the extra mile - creating loyal communities around their nights and cultivating a whole network of musicians that support and inspire each other. I've been lucky enough to work with some fantastic people this year - the kind of people who Skype you while you're on tour in Germany to talk EP launch plans, or create personalised posters and polaroids to promote your set, or offer to book you a mini-tour of the South West. There is nothing better than trekking to a gig in the middle of nowhere and finding a warm and welcoming crowd to play for - so a massive thank you to all those who've helped promote my gigs this year: I couldn't have done it without you!

  1. The lovely people at Ditto

Ditto sell themselves as a digital distribution company, but the real question is what don't Ditto do!? They've helped me with plugging, PR, getting set up on VEVO, and have advised on so many different aspects of the music business along the way. As a self-managed, independent artist, this kind of support is worth its weight in gold, and they have constantly gone above and beyond to get the record out there and make the release a success. Thanks to James, Andy and Sue for all your time and hard work!

  1. All the amazing musicians

This really is too long a list to publish in full, but this year has brought me into contact with the most amazing array of solo artists, bands and session players. It has been a pleasure listening to them, playing with them and sharing a bill with many of them, and I've learnt so much along the way. I'm looking forward to more collaboration in the New Year!

  1. All of you!

This is the biggest thank you of all. The last year has been a huge adventure, and it wouldn't have been possible without all of you listening, coming to gigs, buying my music, spreading the word and hosting me in cities, towns and some very remote corners of the UK and Germany! On the day the EP was released, I remember pulling over to see it creeping up the charts and being overwhelmed by the support shown by everyone as they shared the links and bought the tracks. Thank you from the bottom of my heart: I can't wait to share more music with you in 2016!

11.51am 30th Dec 2015