20 years of celebrating our students and graduates

14 April, 2022

We’re incredibly proud to say that our first college opened its doors 20 years ago in Brighton.

Since then, across all of our colleges, we’ve had over 15,000 students make their way through our doors and we’re proud of each and every one. So 20 years down the road, we thought we would have a look back at some of the successes our students have gone on to achieve.

Believe it or not, when BIMM Institute first opened its doors in Brighton, most people bought their music on these strange shiny discs called ‘CDs’, but things have moved forward over the years from CDs to MP3s to iTunes to streaming on platforms like Spotify. Our students have found success whatever the format – with over 20 top 10 UK albums, including a few number ones; George Ezra’s ‘Wanted On Voyage’ and James Bay’s ‘Chaos and the Calm’. Not to mention the billions of streams collected by artists like Tom Odell, who currently has over 15 million monthly listeners and is presently Spotify’s 274th most streamed artist globally.

And with this chart success and critical acclaim awards follow, and our fabulous students have picked up loads over the years. In fact, former BIMM students have amassed over 20 BRIT award nominations, including Izzy Bizu’s Critics Choice Award nomination, that time Tom Odell lost out to David Bowie for Best British Male Solo Artist and James Bay’s three nominations and a win in 2016.

That’s not to mention the 2x Ivor Novello awards for songwriting, the MOBO, MTV, Q and Kerrang! Awards and, unbelievably, a Grammy nomination and award for Fontaines D.C. and Ella Mai, respectively (Oh yeah, and Ella Mai won a Billboard award too!).

We can’t forget the amazingly successful session musicians who walk through our doors too. Diploma graduate Nathan Curran has been drumming professionally for over 20 years. He has toured and played with Basement Jaxx, Lily Allen, Elton John, Roots Manuva, Kano, Tinchy Stryder, Paloma Faith and loads more massive names. Nathan now teaches drums and music production at The Rhythm Studio and works as a freelance lecturer giving masterclasses to a wide variety of students at colleges across the country.

Another is a more recent graduate, Emanuel J Burton. He’s toured with Little Simz, FKJ, Tom Misch, Misha B, Children of Zeus, The Mouse Outfit, Yazmin Lacey, Steam Down and KOKOROKO. Here’s a video of him drumming with Little Simz on Later… With Jools Holland.

Isabel Torres has also had some fantastic opportunities as a session musician; she’s spent time on tour with Foals, Cage The Elephant, Norah Jones and Bastille, as well as playing for fellow BIMM graduate Mimi Webb and being Declan McKenna’s current tour guitarist.

Success in business and events

It’s easy to get carried away with the shiny baubles and chart-toppers, but BIMM students have been making an impact all across the music industry as performers, producers and in music business and events.

Natasha Bent is one of those people; after being named in Music Week’s Women in Music Roll Of Honour, she joined forces with her brother to launch artist management and live agency Mother Artists, guiding the likes of Heavy Lungs, Ry X, BIMM graduates IDLES and The Magic Gang and many more.

Bex Redwood also found success in the industry by co-running Republic of Music’s artist management arm. She oversaw 300 digital release campaigns during her time there, including artists such as Disclosure, Tame Impala, Two Door Cinema Club, Bloc Party, and more.

Laura Davidson has seen enormous success in the live music sector. She boasts the record number of consecutive shows at Brixton Academy, a massive seven shows with The xx and was also instrumental in the founding of All Points East, a two-weekend music festival held in Victoria Park.

We’ve also had students make a name for themselves on a more local scale. Patrick McNaught started his own multi-venue music festival spanning Brighton and Hove. Currently selling tickets to the third instalment of Washed Out Festival, the festival has grown each year. Find out more about Patrick’s journey below.

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