Playing For Time: Meet the Artists

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Meet the two artists we’ve commissioned to create brand new pieces of music in response to the global climate emergency.

Playing For Time: Meet the Artists
17th February 2020

Meet the two artists we’ve commissioned to create brand new pieces of music in response to the global climate emergency.

Meet the two artists we’ve commissioned to create brand new pieces of music in response to the global climate emergency.

Since November, commissioned artists Sian Clarke and Tasha Dowd have each received mentoring from industry experts, a budget of £200 and the opportunity to record their music professionally.

Their work will be premiered as part of our next Sing City live night, details of which will be announced at a later date.

Find out more about Sian and Tasha and what they’ve been up to in our Q&A below…

Sian Clarke

Sian is an 18 year old spoken word artist and singer-songwriter, born and raised in Manchester. She uses her creativity to express herself about real life situations and society today. 

“This theme feels like a major cry out for help as we are not benefiting our future, we’re limiting it. Killing it essentially. I want to make this generation aware of how extraordinary our motherland is. God’s gift.”

Tasha Dowd

Tasha is a 17 year old performer based in Liverpool: an actor-musician, songwriter, composer, and somebody that loves her planet. Currently studying at LIPA 6th Form College, Tasha has done everything from Musical Director work at the Hope Street Theatre, to writing love songs. This project will be her most exciting and experimental piece yet!

“Climate change means everything to me, it changes everything from how I live right now to how I’ll live 30 years from now. It affects my friends and family, it truly changes everything. The people meant to be helping us have their heads stuck in the sand, or they simply chose to ignore it. The government meant to be solving the issue is leaving it to the younger generations. Our voices need to be heard, we need people to realise and understand what will happen. I want this project to amplify not only my voice, but the voices of countless others.”

Tell us a bit about your piece. What can audiences expect?

Sian Clarke: My piece is talking about the world as a whole. It’s about how time is running out and if we don’t solve this now, we’re all finished! It’s about how people can be small-minded in situations like this. They don’t like to listen or see the vision of change. I’m doing two pieces. One is a straight spoken word piece – just me, my voice – focusing on the power behind what I’m saying. The other is a song I’ve collaborated on with my friend who is a producer. The beat is uplifting – you can vibe to it – something that will stick in your head. Simple, but catchy!

Tasha Dowd: I wanted to use different instruments to create one big noise. I’ve got a timpani, bass, banjo, violin, sitar – all different instruments that wouldn’t normally be put together. It’s an issue for everyone, exploring how different people can take in climate change, so I’ve used these different instruments from different parts of the world to highlight how it’s an issue that involves everyone. I also have visuals for the audience to look at throughout including a mime artist (!!!) and images that flash up. It’s very much a piece where you can’t have the music without the theatre, and vice versa – they’re important to each other to evoke certain emotions. The different movements within the piece each have a different emotion or character as I wanted to capture different people’s experience with climate change. I’ve written it in a way that people can relate to no matter where they’re coming from. So feelings around ‘Oh god this is awful’ to ‘I just don’t want to think about it’ to ‘I’m so angry we’re in this situation’.

Have you come across any challenges so far?

SC: I’ve been doing lots of research about the climate emergency and the more I’ve read the more I’ve found out – there’s so much information! So at first I kind of struggled with how to put it all into words. You don’t realise how powerful it all is until you really research it. 

TD: Organising all the details like sound tech, scheduling dates and coordinating all of that is just stuff I’ve never had to consider before. When I normally write, I don’t think about the logistical side of things. It’s been a challenge setting this up, it’s something new. But it’s been really fun to do. Musically, I’ve worked on my strengths but this opportunity has also allowed me to be experimental as well.

Tell us a little bit about your mentor(s).

SC: Nicole [May] has been brilliant! She’s so lovely, but also challenges me as an artist and a person – it’s really refreshing! Her input has already helped my writing develop, allowing me to unlock deeper thoughts and feelings I didn’t even know I had before.

TD: It’s been amazing having mentors. I would be so much further behind without them! Nat [McCool] and Katie [Foster] have just been great. Having two professionals in the industry to support me, help me develop and challenge me in a good way has been an absolute dream and has made the experience so much more fun. Speaking to others and just being in my own bubble is great.

What do you hope people take away from what you’ve created?

SC: So many people just don’t understand how precious the planet is – how precious life is. I want to really make sure I capture the essence of the topic. I want my lyricism to help people understand the effects of climate change – especially the younger generation.

TD: It’s about young people getting that message across and saying what they want to say. I’m in a climate action group with my mates and there’s things we can’t be associated with as it’s deemed too political. It’s frustrating preaching that things need to change but then also recognising that we need to be at school. So we don’t want to miss that for the strikes, but then we need to do something. It’s finding a middle ground where people take us seriously but we still go to school. This piece will show how much young people have to say about the climate emergency.


Supported by Youth Music as part of the Alliance for a Musically Inclusive England, and made possible by funding from the National Lottery via Arts Council England.

With thanks to our supporters:

C-Change, URBACT and the European Regional Development Fund, MyHub, Manchester City Council and GMCA.