Portobello teen wins top music award in London

Molly will also get a professional website to showcase her, work and promotional support for exposure to the media. Picture; Andrew O'Brien
Molly will also get a professional website to showcase her, work and promotional support for exposure to the media. Picture; Andrew O'Brien
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SHE’s spent most of her teenage years in Portobello, writing songs by her bedroom window, dreaming that one day it would become her profession.

And after landing a coveted place at the same music school as hit artist James Bay earlier this year, and winning the UK Songwriting Competition, Molly MacDermott knew she was on the right track.

But now the 17-year-old is celebrating another big breakthrough – after being named the winner of the youth category at the Unsigned Music Awards in London.

The former pupil of Loretto High School, in Musselburgh, fought off stiff competition from 4000 other entrants to win the top prize.

Molly, known on stage as MOMAC, said: “I just wasn’t expecting to win at all.

“I’m so pleased, the last year has been a whirlwind.

“It was such a snazzy event, the best way I can describe it was like being at the Brit Awards.”

The competition, which was hosted by MTV’s Laura Whitmore and Chris Stark from The Scott Mills Show, was held at the Troxy Theatre and was shown on Showcase TV.

A panel of more than 100 experts from the music industry judged the competition and only 80 entrants were shortlisted for an award.

Molly, who now lives in Brighton and is studying at BIMM music college – where James Bay was once a pupil – entered the competition with four songs from her latest EP, produced by Leith-based David Whitmey.

Molly said: “For years songwriting was just a hobby for me.

“As a youngster I would just doodle but as I got older, I realised it was something I really wanted to do.

“Loretto didn’t have the greatest music department so I had to decide whether to stay on at school or leave and do what I really love.”

She added: “I’m glad I made the right choice.

“I hope to become a professional songwriter one day, whether it’s writing my 
own songs or for other 
people.”

Mr Whitmey, founder of Music Base in Leith, said: “I’m delighted for MOMAC, even though it’s hardly a surprise really.

“Molly creates music that is just a little left field of everyone else right now and it’s so refreshing to hear that depth in an artist so young.

“She’s making it all happen herself and I can’t wait to see what happens next.”

Simon O’Kelly, CEO of the Unsigned Music Awards, said: “The musical landscape is changing.

“Today the term ‘unsigned’ does not carry the same stigma as it once did.

“A young music fan’s perception of what ‘unsigned’ artists create differs greatly to generations before.

“Even artists themselves like Macklemore and Stormzy are turning their backs on traditional and 360˚ recording contracts to remain totally independent and retain creative rights to their music.

“The model has shifted away from the need of a typical record deal and this needs to be acknowledged.”

courtney.cameron@jpress.co.uk