Kilkenny student Ryan Thomas picked up his first major award earlier this month in Cork City, when he performed at the 2012 Young Artist Development Awards (YADA).
Ryan, who is a pupil at Scoil Aireagail in Ballyhale, was nominated for the award having been selected as part of a pilot project that took place in secondary schools around the country. The new initiative, which is the brainchild of singer-songwriter Oisín Kavanagh, aimed to explore and help develop the songwriting and live performance of students within the secondary school system in Ireland.
The programme, which focuses on original material, has been described as ground breaking and is grabbing attention within the industry from writers and performing artists who see it as a unique and innovative opportunity for young artists to present their own original work in an industry-safe environment.
The award provides Ryan with the opportunity to go into studio with some of Ireland’s top-tier musicians over the oncoming months, to be mentored and record one of his own songs for release in January 2013.
At the awards, Ryan performed two of his own songs, “I Won’t Let Go” and “Teresa”. A development panel, which included producer Ray Traynor, bass player and songwriter Robbie Malone, and singer-songwriter Oisín, selected Ryan from a number of other very talented young artists as the recipient of the 2012 YADA.
“The commitment to the project from panellists like Robbie, Ray and Oisín is a testament to the importance of this new award within the industry for young developing artists,” said Joseph Kavanagh, project manager.
“It ensures that they have a platform to present their own original material while retaining the rights within the work.”
Any secondary school within Ireland can take part in the 2013 programme, by having a teacher nominate their school for inclusion by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and inserting YADA 2013 in the subject line.