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Page last updated at 20:25 GMT, Friday, 17 September 2010 21:25 UK
BBC Blast: Diary of Norfolk reporter Sophie Little

Sophie Little
Sophie Little gives us a weekly lowdown on what she's been up to

Friday, 17 September 2010

So - this is it!

I leave you with an article about an awesome singer-songwriter called Kirstenana called Kirstenana from Norfolk - who has recently starred in and provided music for the score of a new film, Come On Eileen.

The regional BBC Blast reporters from around the country met up in London last Friday to mark the end of our placements. It was great to see everyone again, and to find out what they got up to over the summer.

The range of incredible achievements is testament to how fantastic the BBC Blast scheme is.

We had a talk from Colin Murray, who was inspiring and funny. Hearing about the career path he took makes me feel like anything is possible.

After a tour of the BBC TV Centre, I went home on the train with a massive sense of achievement - and I've been feeling a bit reflective ever since.

When I walked into the newsroom at Norfolk, I knew how to write essays (and pad out word counts) - but I've since been taught skills that are necessary to produce concise journalistic content - which will be invaluable to me in the future.

I've met some lovely people who have supported me for nine weeks. My mentor Zoe has provided sound advice and she made me feel like one of the team from the start.

On top of that I've grilled some really interesting bands and artists and I've been a two-minute TV star.

The most important thing that my BBC Blast placement has given me is the inspiration and momentum to plan my next steps in developing my career.

Just a couple of months ago I was at a bit of a loss - not knowing how to use my degree or where to go next - but my Blast placement has focussed me. I know how I'm going to build upon the skills I've gained over the summer.

Finally, a really big and special thank you to everyone at BBC Norfolk and to everyone who has made this BBC Blast placement so amazing.

You can keep up with what I do beyond Blast on my blog.

Friday, 3 September 2010

My article on local band The Barlights is now online for you to read. I've had fun writing that this week - it's about their second album and their impending nationwide tour to support it.

I'm gearing up to watch their album launch gig at the Norwich Arts Centre tonight. I love album launches because they always carry a noticeable sense of pride and excitement.

They've got some great support bands playing too - so I'll have to hot foot it down there after presenting the BBC Norfolk Introducing radio show from 7 til 8 pm.

It's the penultimate week of my BBC Blast placement (boo hoo). I'm still working on a couple of pieces I'll be putting up before it comes to an end, but I'm going to miss writing for BBC Norfolk.

During the last couple of weeks I've also been writing for the BBC Norfolk Introducing monthly E-zine called VoluME . Make sure you download the new edition from this website - for more insights into our amazing local music scene.

Like a lot of recent graduates, I'm applying for jobs. I feel lucky because this placement has made me realise what it is I'm aiming for.

Taking over Huw Stephens BBC Radio 1 new music show would be my ultimate dream (sorry, Huw). If he won't budge, I'll settle for a similar career. Anything encompassing new music will keep me eternally happy.

This weekend I'll be taking a little break from journalism to play at being a musician again.

I'm heading to Sick Room recording studios in Pentney, near King's Lynn, to lay down some tracks with my new side project - Brothers - so hopefully you'll hear those on BBC Norfolk Introducing soon!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

How are we nearly at the end of August? My BBC Blast placement is flying by!

This week I have put up an exciting article about Ria Ritchie - she's a singer songwriter with a huge internet fan base.

She's been writing with Plan B and has had interest from Jay-Z's own record company. I found myself getting very excited on her behalf when writing the piece.

Last night I interviewed local band The Barlights ahead of the release of their second album and first proper tour of the UK, which starts on 2 September.

I conducted the interview and photo session at their band practice where they were finalising their plan for the coming weeks.

The practice was at Knowhere Bar on Queen Street in Norwich - it was fun being in an empty bar listening to the band play their music.

They are also going to be guests on our BBC Norfolk Introducing tomorrow night from 7pm - so I need to get thinking about those probing questions!

There's only a couple of weeks left of my placement, but I've still got stories to share with you - so watch this space!

Friday, 20 August 2010

This week I have been working on something very different and completely new to me.

Neil Fellowes aka Geigertek
Geigertek is looking to bring the city's electronica "to a wider audience"

I compiled an audio package for BBC Radio Norfolk's breakfast show, which consisted of a three and a half minute report about electronic music in the area, bisected with some interview clips of local talents and samples of their music.

I interviewed Geigertek a while ago - a local artist launching a new night in Norwich to celebrate and promote electronic music. He was very informative and I left knowing a lot more than I did before.

So, armed with this knowledge, I set out to interview some more local electronic artists - each making their own sounds.

One of the best things about this week was discovering that I like audio editing.

I had written it off as being something I would find quite tedious, but submerging myself in an audio package for an unhealthy amount of hours was a bit like writing a song - and when it was aired this morning - I felt proud and accomplished!

It's incredible how much work goes into a three minutes of radio time! I'd like to do something like that again soon.

Next week I will be back to my duty of bringing you enthralling online content!

Friday, 13 August 2010

This week I've put up an exciting article about my band mate and local drummer Mike Sheils. It's about his swift life change that happened earlier this year.

The Brownies' Sophie Little and Mike Sheils
Mike and I chilling out at the Tramlines Festival in Sheffield

He moved to Leeds to join a band called Dinosaur Pile Up - which might have gone unmentioned had the band not exploded all over national radio in the last month with their new single Birds and Planes.

As you will read, they have impressed almost every BBC Radio 1 DJ, and I managed to exclusively find out one DJ's opinion in particular…

One of the joys of being a BBC Blast reporter is making contacts in the industry that you might not have met otherwise.

While training for my placement in Bristol, I had the privilege of meeting Alex Full - Fearne Cotton's assistant producer.

Not only was he entertaining and lovely - it transpired that he started his BBC career as a Blast Reporter too (how inspiring!).

When I heard Fearne Cotton play Dinosaur Pile Up on her BBC Radio 1 show, it made sense to use my new contact to beef up my article with some A-list input.

It only took was a few friendly e-mails (and a bit of pleading) and I had an exclusive quote from Fearne to use in my article - wow!

In other news - on Thursday night I went to see Violet Violet's last gig.

I've never been to a gig at the Norwich Puppet Theatre before. It was a great venue and if you get the chance, I urge you to go!

It's got a warm atmosphere, which makes up for the child-like amount of leg room allocated to each seat (well, it is a children's puppet theatre after all).

I also interviewed a local singer-songwriter this week who started her career at Norwich's Access To Music scheme and got the low down on her latest chart-topping collaborations, as well as the interest surrounding her from some US hip-hop megastars.

A very exciting piece that will be on its way to you shortly…

Thursday, 5 August 2010

On Saturday I played Ladyfest at the Norwich Arts Centre with my band The Brownies. I wrote an article in the lead up to the night last week, and I was expecting it to be good.

Violet Violet
Violet Violet are calling it a day after eight years together

But all of the bands and artists excelled beyond my expectations, and the Norwich Pride vibe set the night apart.

New band Frog were a highlight for me - they're made up of two ex-members of Norwich band Le Tetsuo. No one knew what to expect - but I left feeling wowed.

I'm very proud of my band-mate Maxie Gedge for putting the night on.

That next morning I met Norwich band Violet Violet at a bowling alley in the city.

It was an apt place to talk about their last gig, because it was the venue of their first show eight years ago.

They were both easy to interview and very open.

It took a bit of an emotional turn at points when talking about the end of their band - it's obvious that their upcoming gig is monumental for the pair.

We all slurped on blue slush drinks and talked about their future plans before taking some photos around the arcade.

For the rest of the day I was the compere for Wombatwombat's eighth Waterloo Park Walkabout.

I've played tonnes of gigs but I always dread the on-stage banter between songs - and compering is all about that! My nerves squashed all hope that I would be amazingly witty and clever as well as informative.

However, the music settled me so I got better as the day went on.

The rest of this week has been spent typing up interviews, and getting bits and bobs ready for my next pieces.

I'm also finding myself looking ahead to when this placement comes to an end - mainly about what I can do between now and then to make the most of this experience.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Wow! This week has been truly surreal. After a lot of research and some story pitching, Monday saw my TV debut as a Blast reporter on BBC Look East.

Ed Sheeran and Sophie Little
Ed Sheeran filming an interview with Sophie at Norwich Arts Centre

I was reporting on singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran and his ever-growing success boosted by a recent meeting with Hollywood actor and singer Jamie Foxx.

It was arranged, filmed, edited and aired within 24 hours - as you can imagine, it was an invaluable bit of experience for me.

Although I have presented before, knowing that the story was based on my research made me nervous.

Have a watch, and note my facial expression when I say, "Sophie Little, BBC Look East, Norwich". Does it look like I'm going to burst?

Just a day before all of that excitement, I was up in Sheffield to catch up with drummer Mike Sheils (from my Norwich-based band The Brownies).

I have a really exciting piece on that coming soon - so bookmark this page!

I got the lowdown from local promoters Wombatwombat and Howlback Hum on their summer gig happening on Sunday 1 August in Waterloo Park, Norwich.

It's pretty special for both of them this year - it's been 10 years since they started!

I'm twice as excited because they have asked me to compere the stage for the gig during the day - wish me luck!

As if that wasn't enough excitement for one week, I interviewed electronic music artist Geigertek from Norwich, about the resurgence of the electro scene and the new night he is putting on in Norwich to celebrate this.

Next week is looking just as busy and just as fun!

Friday, 23 July 2010

It's only week two of my nine-week placement and I already don't want it to end.

While last week was a whirlwind of ideas, this week has been about planning and preparation: organising interviews and features have been top of my agenda.

Amid my administration, I conducted two interviews this week - one with Norwich musician Maxie Gedge.

Maxie is hosting Ladyfest at the Norwich Arts Centre on Saturday, 31 July 2010. Ladyfest is a festival that happens all over the world, aiming to support talented females in the arenas of music, arts and creativity - and this will be the first one to ever grace Norwich.

The vigilant might know that Maxie and I are band mates in The Brownies, so it was a little strange interviewing someone I know so closely.

I had to make sure I asked some more inventive questions to get a little more out of her that I wasn't already aware of!

I also had my first experience of recording a phone interview today with an artist who grew up in Norfolk and is making waves with her music in the film industry.

She was fantastically talkative and I felt like I got to know more than I expected. Keep your eyes peeled for that piece coming soon.

I'm off to Sheffield this weekend to Tramlines festival - it's a big event held across several venues and outdoor stages in the city and I got to catch up with another one of my band mates, this time our drummer Mike!

Friday, 16 July 2010

I've landed in the newsroom at BBC Norfolk and I love it.

Pulled Apart By Horses in Norwich
Pulled Apart By Horses play an intimate show in a Norwich shop

My first week has included completing an rather epic health and safety course on the computer - which was surprisingly entertaining!

I also took a dive into the work of a reporter by interviewing Leeds band Pulled Apart By Horses at a secret in-store gig they played in Norwich.

BBC Radio 1 presenter Huw Stephens dubbed them "the best live band in the world" at Glastonbury - and they're supporting Muse soon too, so as you can imagine, it was an amazing night.

Coincidently, they are one of my favourite bands in the world, so I'm a rather lucky girl.

I've never cradled a camera at the front of a gig before, and turned my knuckles white holding onto that precious baby.

Another side-effect of being a rather novice photographer is having to decide where to stand without blowing your eardrums to pieces when you're so close to the band and their speakers!

Now, armed with my my comprehensive health and safety training, I know that I always need heavy-duty earplugs when approaching a speaker stack!

There are so many ideas I have in the pipeline for my BBC Blast placement over the next nine weeks, and I can't wait to get them rolling.

Remember, feel free to drop me an e-mail if you think there is something I should cover in Norfolk this summer - sophie.little@bbc.co.uk




SEE ALSO
Norfolk singer has starring role
17 Sep 10 |  BBC Introducing
Jay-Z and Plan B spot Ria Ritchie
26 Aug 10 |  BBC Introducing
New electronic night for Norfolk
02 Sep 10 |  BBC Introducing
Radio 1 tips local drummer's band
12 Aug 10 |  BBC Introducing
Norwich band speak about the end
05 Aug 10 |  BBC Introducing
Promoters stage summer highlight
30 Jul 10 |  BBC Introducing
Musician stages first for Norwich
28 Jul 10 |  BBC Introducing
Foxx aids big break for Sheeran
27 Jul 10 |  BBC Introducing
Shop gig for up-and-coming band
16 Jul 10 |  BBC Introducing
Blast: Introducing Sophie Little
15 Jul 10 |  BBC Introducing

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