A NORTH-East singer is hoping to take her music to the next level after being given funding to create a new record.

Singer/songwriter Jodie Nicholson has become a well-known face on the Darlington performance scene and is now gaining a national profile.

The 24-year-old, from Hurworth, near Darlington, has just been awarded prestigious Women Make Music funding from the PRS Foundation in association with AWAL and Glastry.

She was one of 15 music creators chosen for the funding out of about 600 applicants.

She said: "I was amazed when I found out, like I literally screamed. As someone who can be quite the chatterbox, it’s been really hard keeping Women Make Music a secret since May.

"The funding will be going towards a brand new EP, which I plan to release springtime next year.

"It’s mind-blowing to me that a panel of complete strangers, all well established within the industry, believe in me and my music enough to want to support taking my career to the next level.

"In many ways I’m still exploring my sound and who I am as an artist, so it’s given me a lot of reassurance in the music I’m making and made me really excited for the future."

Miss Nicholson has been doing live performances around Darlington since she was 15, but after studying design at university, decided to devote herself to music last year.

She brought out her first album last September, which garnered wider attention and national airplay from Jo Whiley on BBC Radio 2, BBC 6 Music, BT TV and Amazing Radio, as well as support from BBC Music Introducing.

During the pandemic she has been focussing on writing new music and in May was able to bring her album out on vinyl after a kickstarter project attracted £1,800 in a couple of days.

She said: "I never really had a chance until last year to really work on music but I took a leap of faith and decided to see how far I can take it.

"It was always something I did to make a bit of extra cash but doing that made me push my own music and play gigs where it was my own stuff. I've met so many people who have been in a similar position to me.

"It's been amazing."

Earlier this year, she was also awarded 'Do It Differently' funding from Help Musicians, which she is using to fund the release of her upcoming single 'Move', which is due to be released on September 18.

She added: "I underestimated how much of a game-changer funding can be, as with both Do it Differently and Women Make Music, you’re opened up to amazing resources and organisations that are there to support your career, including webinars on healthy practices and one-on-one mentoring sessions with industry professionals.

"I’m learning so much about myself and how to navigate such a crowded industry.

Elizabeth Sills, grants and programmes manager at PRS Foundation said: “Huge congratulations to the latest round of Women Make Music grantees. We know how important it is to be able to continue to support talented music creators during this unprecedented time.

"Our flexible approach in response to the pandemic, through this fund and PRS Foundation’s other funding opportunities, aims to remove this additional barrier to creation and long-term development, in addition to contributing to sector recovery and future resilience.”

Alison Donald, Head of UK Creative at Kobalt and AWAL said: “AWAL is proud to be continuing its partnership with PRS Foundation, and our team are excited to provide guidance and advice to the latest music creators supported by the Women Make Music fund.”

Rachel Smyth at Glastry said: "We thoroughly support the work of the PRS Foundation. In these difficult times, it is incredibly important that emerging talent has the encouragement and assistance of such schemes."