Schools Alumni Week: Lottie Gray
As part of Future First's #SchoolsAlumniWeek, we're interviewing five former Creative Education Trust students to raise awareness of the importance of role models in schools.
Lottie left Lynn Grove in 2020, going on to study Commercial Music at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts. She’s now undertaking a degree specialising in Popular Music at Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. The course includes a focus on performance, composition, musicianship, and production. Lottie is a singer/songwriter, performing as a solo artist and with her band.
What do you remember about your time at school?
“I loved Lynn Grove; it was a very nurturing community. When our GCSEs were affected by the pandemic, the school reached out to us to make sure we were OK. They did such a good job.
I was really into music, and there were so many opportunities such as workshops on songwriting, lunchtime concerts, performances, and rehearsals after school. When I was in Year 7 there was ‘We’ll Meet Again’, a project with other schools across the Trust [devised and facilitated by HMDT Music]. I had a solo in that, which I remember being really exciting. These experiences really helped me.”
What is a typical week like for you now?
“I’m in and out of uni 5 days a week. In between, I’m writing as much music as possible, getting together with my band and going to rehearsals. On average, I might have a performance every 2 weeks, but sometimes it can be 3 times a week. Last week I headlined at a venue in the Northern Quarter of Manchester. I’ve released my first two singles recently and have an EP coming out at the end of April.
It’s hard work as I’m self-releasing music and working on the marketing, campaigns, and social media. It’s not what I’m used to, but I’ve developed new skills and have enjoyed giving it a go. We have great tutors at uni offering advice about the music industry, and my band are so supportive and invested in my music. Being in Manchester has been amazing: doing gigs and going where the music is."
Lottie performing with her band
What has been the highlight since leaving school?
“I love performing live - every performance feels amazing. This really started at Lynn Grove where I got a taste for it, and also at Tring through a performance at Bush Hall. I won the course cup for Commercial Music at the end of my second year at Tring which was really cool.
I also performed at the First Light Festival in Lowestoft last summer, which was my first time performing at a festival outside of school. I’m excited to be back there for a solo set this summer, headlining the New Dawn stage on the East Point Pavilion, right on the seafront."
What do you draw from through your songwriting?
“Anything that makes me feel something strongly. It’s my way of processing things – I just have to write about it, and it often resolves a feeling for me. I find songwriting very therapeutic. It’s the element that comes most naturally to me on my course. I write all the time and don’t put pressure on it, so I find it fun”.
What advice would you give to those currently in school, and to those interested in the music industry?
“I think one of the hardest things is imposter syndrome. When I went to Tring it was such a big leap – people were so confident – they knew what they wanted to do and how to do it. I was a bit shocked by that, and it took me a while to get over it. But if you want to pursue music then you should go for it. Everyone has doubts, and there’s always something that each person can bring to the table. Don’t underestimate your own worth. It’s about what you enjoy and what’s right for you."
What motivated you to stay involved with Creative Education Trust as a role model in schools?
“When I was younger, I would have benefitted from having role models doing something a bit different. I look at my old school Tring and they have this big alumni network that the students benefit from. I think all schools should have access to this opportunity. It’s good that this is being offered now [with Future First]. People are going on to do amazing things, and current students should have people they can look up to."
You can listen to Lottie’s first singles on SoundCloud here: https://soundcloud.com/user-465493491
We’re excited to work with Lottie this summer for the Primary Poetry competition, where she’ll be one of the judges of our poetry writing and recital prizes.
If you're a Creative Education Trust alum, and you're interested in getting involved, our next virtual network event will be Tuesday 23 May 6-7.30pm. Our events are a chance to meet other alumni, hear from a guest speaker, share ideas for the network, and find out about upcoming opportunities. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for all the details.