First year degree student James Attwood was the very first recipient of the prestigious Tony Iommi scholarship at the official opening ceremony of BIMM Birmingham earlier this week.
The young guitarist, who’s studying a BA Hons in Professional Musicianship, received the £20,250 award from the Black Sabbath riff-master himself. During the event, James had a chance for a one-to-one chat with Tony, in which he received some choice words of encouragement and advice.
We caught up with James to hear all about the experience.
What was it like receiving your scholarship from the man who practically invented heavy metal?
A huge honour no doubt! He’s not only one of the pioneers of the heavy metal genre but an all round genuine, lovely guy too. It was quite surreal as I can remember watching an interview with Tony as part of a BBC 4 Documentary on TV when I was younger, which I watched over and over again.
Did he have any words of wisdom from one guitarist to another?
Yes, just to make the most of BIMM as he never had access to facilities such as the ones at BIMM when he was starting out his career as a guitarist and musician.
What are you most looking forward to about studying at BIMM?
Fully immersing myself within my studies and embracing any opportunities that may come along with them. BIMM is very connected within the music industry, so no doubt there will be plenty to come. There will also be visiting industry professionals giving masterclasses so I look forward to those and hearing what advice they can share, as well as networking with them. Most of all though, I’m looking forward to working with the amazing group of musicians and the people that I’m surrounded by.
What would be your dream career once you’ve finished your course?
My career inspiration is to be a session guitarist & multi-instrumentalist working with popular artists – writing, recording and performing all over the world. I follow so many musicians on Instagram and am very in awe of the touring lifestyle as well as the opportunity to travel that comes along with it.
As someone who’s from the Birmingham area, what would you say is the most exciting thing happening in the local music scene right now?
There’s a huge underground movement of R&B/alternative artists beginning to rise up at the moment, as well as performance opportunities and jam nights specifically for these kind of artists, in a city that is mainly dominated by the Indie scene.
James is already actively engaged with the Birmingham music scene. He writes his own music blog and performs regularly with his band, The Life as well as other local artists. With such proactivity, we’re sure this scholarship will provide James with a significant boost to become a success story in his own right.
If you’re interested in joining us here at BIMM Birmingham, you can join us at an Open Day