Fresh off a spate of home and international gigs this year, Mace The Great will be in attendance at Pitch Scotland as part of an innovative Welsh-Scottish musical team-up. Emma Way has all the details and a few words from the man himself…
Forging new networks across multiple genres and disciplines, the folks at FOCUS Wales – Wrexham’s own multi-venue yearly new music showcase – are partnering with Pitch Scotland to bring together a Scottish conference of rap, hip-hop, afrobeat, R’n’B, drill, grime and garage. The event, presented by new music champions The Scottish Alternative Music Awards and supported by Creative Scotland, takes place on Sat 27 Aug around different Glasgow venues.
Not only is there a collaborative Celtic connection through FOCUS, but acclaimed Welsh grime force Mace The Great will be appearing as part of Saint Luke’s live showcase alongside AiiTee, LOTOS and MC Salum. When I spoke to Mace earlier this year, he was positive about the future of grime and underground culture in the UK. “You’ve got Dave and Stormzy and Skepta and they’re all at the top now. It’s only gonna get more traction. It’s only gonna get bigger as more artists are gonna get more opportunities.”
Mace The Great, real name Mason Burnett, is an independent Cardiff-based artist who started releasing music as a side hustle. “The drive came from just wanting to be happy, as well as be in a better position with my music. So that’s where the drive comes from. I was under pressure and I wanted to keep doing what I enjoyed, so I just went for it.” Regarding being unsigned, Mace told me, “It was a case of ‘I want this out so I’m just gonna do it myself.’ I’d rather get to a point knowing I’ve done X amount by myself without a label. I guess it only goes in my favour.”
With this in mind, Pitch, which is geared towards empowering members of the hip hop and underground communities to exchange knowledge and skills, seems like the ideal space for the traction that Mace – and artists like him – is hopeful for more of. “The event offers a great opportunity for emerging artists to connect with other artists and industry working within hip hop and grime,” Andy Jones, co-founder of showcase partners FOCUS told me. “It’s ultimately about helping new artists at a tipping point to develop their network and take their careers on to the next phase. We’re pleased to have the massively talented Mace The Great showcasing on behalf of FOCUS Wales this year, and for him to be the first artist from Wales to showcase with us at Pitch.”
Speaking on behalf of FOCUS ahead of his performance earlier this year, Mace also added: “It’s just an all-round good vibe. It’s the whole Welsh scene as well as other acts all in one place, so it’s a nice kind of vibe and energy.”
Pitch Scotland looks to similarly reflect FOCUS’ aims but in Glasgow, including skills workshops, panel discussions, speed-meeting sessions, sets and performances for aspiring creatives aged 16 and over; Mace himself confirming networking as one of the essential parts for anyone wanting to enter the music industry. “I would say nothing comes quick. [It’s] dedication, perseverance, humble attitudes and making sure you’ve got a tight, good circle around you that’s honest with you at all times. Honest feedback is good feedback.”
Pitch encourages applications for the live showcase from artists already releasing music and creating waves on Scotland’s live scene who have an interest in the wider aims and activities of the conference. To apply for the showcase visit pitchscotland.com
Saint Lukes & The Winged Ox, Glasgow, Sat 27 Aug. Daytime registration is free; evening passes £5, available from Eventbrite.
words EMMA WAY
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