BIMM Dublin announces Sinead O’Connor and Spotify scholarship winners

6 October, 2020

Here at BIMM Music Institute Dublin, we’re delighted to announce the winners of this year’s prestigious Sinead O’Connor BA Commercial Modern Music Scholarship – and the first-ever Spotify BA Music Business Scholarship.

We spoke to winners Emily Radke and Abigail Deegan for the lowdown:

Emily Radke, Sinead O’Connor Scholarship Winner

Music has always been a massive part of Emily’s life. Born in Berlin, then moving to the south of Spain at a young age, travelling has always been important to Emily. As a teenager, she spent time travelling through Andalucía where she volunteered in a homeless shelter, and then went on to Marrakech. It’s safe to say that Emily knows the importance of intercultural exchange.

Emily started playing the piano at age six, the drums at age eight and eventually taught herself to play the guitar when she was 16. In school, she joined the choir and a Big Band and starred in multiple musicals. In 2016, Emily started an indie-pop band with her sister and two friends. Now with this opportunity, Emily can give music the much-deserved attention and priority in her daily life that she has always wished for.

What’s it like having someone as influential as Sinead O’Connor chose you for the scholarship?

It feels like a dream! Sometimes it still seems quite surrealistic to me. Maybe I’ll never get to that point of full consciousness about it. It’s a big honour for me that someone who has been so close to music for so many years likes what I do. I admire her for the authenticity and depth of what she has always done. I have grown up with her music – my mom is a huge fan – and I am super thankful for her support.

What are you most excited for during your time at BIMM?

I’m going nuts when thinking about how many musicians I’m going to meet! I’m so looking forward to getting to know how they are related to music, listening to their songs and interchanging our stories. When thinking that now I’m able to focus 100% on music, I get goosebumps all over my body! I hope to get the chance to play in a lot of different places when COVID measures are eased.

What do you have planned for the future?

I would love to grab my guitar, my little black textbook and go somewhere I’ve never been before. Somewhere in Africa or a Middle Eastern country, where they teach me their scales and rhythms, hear the sound of their language and voices and put all those colours into music so that it can travel all over the world with me.

I would love to live as a singer-songwriter and also help other people to get in touch with music. I admire Sinéad for supporting young musicians and the music culture, and it would be amazing to be able to do the same one day…

Sinead herself, had this to add:

“I’m delighted to have been asked to choose the recipient of this scholarship. And I’m delighted to have chosen Emily Radke. She has something very special, and I’m really excited and happy for her that she has won.“

Abigail Deegan, Spotify Scholarship Winner

Abigail Deegan is 18 years old and has been a music nut since she can remember. Having parents that traded at festivals, many of her earliest experiences revolve around music. Her family have always supported Abigail’s musical endeavours. Her mother was a producer for 2FM and Radio 1 for 20 years, and her brother set up Liquid DJs and Slap Productions when he was a teenager.

Abigail picked up lots of experience in stage management and sound design whilst studying in her vibrant and music orientated secondary school. More recently, she picked up work experience in a recording studio in Camden where she was present whilst Blizzards were recording their album The Last Great Algorithm. Her passion for music has fueled her desire to join BIMM Music Institute Dublin’s music business course.

Spotify is a massive streaming platform. How does it feel that they decided to give you the scholarship?

I spend so much of my time listening to music on Spotify, and I have discovered many of my favourite artists on the app. To receive a scholarship from such a high-profile player in the music industry throughout the entire world feels like a dream to me. I can’t even begin to explain how honoured and excited I feel.

If someone had told me that Spotify were going to be giving me a scholarship to higher education this time last year, I would have laughed in their face! I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to have this sort of endorsement and I’m very, very grateful. It’s a huge confidence boost and makes me even more convinced that I’m heading in the right direction. The fact that they have put their faith in me is giving me even more motivation to really focus on making a successful career in this highly competitive industry.

What are you most looking forward to during your time at BIMM?

I am most looking forward to meeting all the creative people that attend and work at BIMM. I’m looking forward to working with them while learning as much as I can about the music business. I plan to do this by throwing myself into everything that comes my way in order to gain as much hands-on experience as possible and to explore all the areas I’m interested in.

Everyone I talk to about BIMM Music Institute says it’s a great place to learn and get experience, with lots of opportunities to collaborate and work within the music industry, building knowledge and contacts from day one.

What can we expect to see from you in the future?

I hope to be in the thick of the business end of the music industry, working with many creative musicians. I’m drawn to those trailblazers who break the mould, and in terms of my career, I would like to discover, nurture and work with those sorts of stand-out artists.

I’d certainly be open to working internationally, in say London, LA, New York or Berlin; but wherever my base is in the future, I think you have to be adaptable and be prepared to explore and work in more than one area of the industry – possibly at the same time. Ideally, I’d like to be working in the area of A&R and/or artist management. Other roles I’d be interested in working as include tour manager, publisher, booking agent or event manager.

Spotify’s Head of Artist & Industry Partnerships, International, Bryan Johnson had this to add:

“Abigail’s application was well detailed, as well as having a good awareness of the local scene and pool of talent. We’d be delighted to see her as the recipient of the Spotify BA Music Business Scholarship.”



Scholarships are a part of our commitment to helping future music professionals achieve their dreams in music. For any questions regarding our available scholarships and bursaries or if you’d like more information on how to apply to BIMM Music Institute Dublin please contact our Admissions Team on +353 1 5133 666 or email [email protected].