Laura Whitmore has been busy recently. In between hosting this year’s Love Island, presenting her weekly show on BBC Radio 5 Live and recording new episodes for her own podcast, Castaway, she’s also signed up to become our official Virgin Money Emerging Stars programme ambassador. Laura’s collaborated with Virgin Money previously but, more importantly, she began her career in music in the same way Virgin did, plus she’s a huge supporter of emerging talent and deeply passionate about discovering new acts. We couldn't be more excited to be working together again and to have her on board for this ground-breaking programme.
So, Laura, what was it about the Emerging Stars programme that got you excited and made you want to get involved?
It’s so hard to crack this industry. To actually work with someone over the space of 12 months, be it through music, be it through giving them platforms to perform, mentorship – it’s really important. I love the idea of nurturing and helping an artist grow, because we live in a society where if you go to something like Tinder you swipe left or right, that’s it. No one has a chance to grow, you don’t have a chance to learn about anyone, you either like it, or you don’t.
I’ve always strived to support new music throughout my career, whether it’s on MTV, The Brits or BBC Introducing. I’m so excited to work on this programme to support the next generation of talent at such a pivotal time for the music industry. The first three Emerging Stars are diverse in genre and output, but they have one very important thing in common: so much unquestionable talent.
How important is it to support emerging musicians, especially right now in the current setting (live music venues unable to open and festivals cancelled due to Covid-19)?
We need to make space for new music to play. A lot of people start out and get found in small venues throughout the country. Those are closed now and I don’t know when we’ll next be at a gig, but the gigs that do start happening are likely to be for the big artists, rather than for smaller, up-and-coming artists. It’s the same online – people are doing livestreams and stuff, but again, it’s easier for the bigger artists who have already got that traffic coming through.
What’s the most valuable lesson you learnt when you started your career that you would pass onto the Virgin Money Emerging Stars?
I remember feeling so overwhelmed when I first started working for MTV, when I was first interviewing people and first on television, it was one of those situations where you think ‘Oh God, why am I here, I’m not good enough’. I think we all have imposter syndrome at some stage, but my tip is to fake it till you make it – nobody knows that you don’t think you know what you’re doing. One day you’ll be like, ‘Actually, I know what I’m doing’. That tip has got me through some sticky situations.
We’ve launched the Virgin Money Emerging Stars programme and we’re on a mission to help grow the UK music industry by identifying, supporting and promoting the best emerging talent it has. Over the next 12 months, we will shine a spotlight on eight really exciting new artists that we feel embody the Virgin Money spirit – original, creative entrepreneurs who are pursuing their passion no matter what, but who would benefit from a helping hand to reach the next stage of their career.