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Meet the winners of the Youth Music X VIP Studio Sessions competition judged by Bicep

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photo of bicep
Photo credit: Dan Medhurst

We’ve teamed up with Charanga to offer young people and music practitioners from projects we invest in free access to VIP Studio Sessions (VIP). VIP is an online music production platform with a range of tools to help develop music-making, song-writing, and production skills.

To kick off the partnership we launched the first Youth Music VIP competition, aiming to give young people from Youth Music funded projects the opportunity to have their tracks head by musicians and industry professionals.

Each competition we’ll be running with VIP will have a specific genre or theme. This competition focused on the broader umbrella of Electronic Dance Music (EDM) and was judged by award-winning electronic music duo and Youth Music Ambassadors Bicep, who invited the winner's to their studio. Listen to the winning tracks below.

The Winners

“We were both blown away by the level of talent… It really felt like a big step. Kudos to all involved, it's so exciting to hear lots of bright promising UK talent from across a broad range of genres.” - Bicep

Over one hundred tracks were submitted for the competition, and around 40 were shortlisted. The quality across the board was high – here are Bicep’s top tracks and feedback, and background to the artists themselves:

Winning track

Photo credit: Max Wheeler/Rufus Blake

Lovin you by Rufus Blake


“Really well executed idea. Loved it the minute we heard it and love the jungle drop at the end. Fire!” - Bicep.

Rufus is a producer from Brighton and has been a participant on Audioactive’s Youth Music funded projects for a while. This track was part of an Audioactive mixtape produced last year. Listen to Rufus’ track on bandcamp.        

Runner up

black and white photo of person from shoulders up
Photo credit: Gabriel Watson

Another by Gabe

Sound Communities

Gabe is based down in Devon and has been part of Sound Communities’ projects over several years. As well as being a talented producer, he’s recently joined Sound Communities’ team to lead music production sessions with other young people and DJs at events they’re invited to.

“Very nice all round with great atmospheres, vocals and bass. Really well done!” - Bicep.

Listen to other tracks from Gabe on SoundcloudYou can also follow Gabe on Twitch (where he runs production tutorials) and Instagram.

Runner up

headshot of Rayworth
Photo credit: Adrian Rayworth

Connection by Rayworth

Offshoots East Midlands / Circle Of Light

Rayworth is a producer based in Nottingham inspired by disco, breakbeat and UKG – as well as artists like Bonobo, Kaytranada and MJ Cole. He’s been producing and DJing for around 7 years and is part of Offshoots’ Circle of Light (COL) collective. The lyrics of this track were written through a collaboration between COL members and influenced by their experiences of the 2020 lockdowns.

“Really nice idea here…Massive potential.” - Bicep.

Follow Rayworth on Instagram here.

Photo credit: Max Wheeler/James Grayston

Infinity by James Grayston

Priesthorpe School

James is a producer from Leeds who was a pupil at Piesthorpe School and has now just started university. The school have been making excellent use of VIP in delivering music sessions, and this is reflected in the quality of James’ track. Bicep loved it, and shared this feedback with James:

“Well done, showing great potential here musically and production wise. Keep up the great work.” - Bicep.

Listen to James’ track on his Bandcamp.

Photo credit: Max Wheeler

The prize: visit to Bicep's studio

Bicep invited the winners to spend an afternoon in their studio, where they had the chance to learn how to use and play on Bicep's impressive array of equipment.

The results were brilliant – covering a range of different EDM sub-genres and resulting in great final tracks recorded by Bicep, which they shared with the winners.

"It was really cool meeting Bicep. I had a blast at their studio. I had such an amazing time.” - Rufus Blake.

“Collaborating with others in the studio really changed my perspective on music production and opened my eyes to how others may approach sound design, creating drum patterns, and the layering of different sounds/effects…

“Watching how the other competition winners approached the different synths and listening the sounds they produced let me think about how I can change my workflow to bring more life and variety into my music. Most importantly I got to mess around with a 909 for hours which was an incredible experience.” - James Grayston.

The winners also got to discuss career advice and guidance with Bicep. 

“It was incredibly insightful to be able to pick the brains of such music industry heavy weights and I took so much out of the day other than just jamming!” - Adrian Rayworth.

“Thank you to Youth Music, Charanga and Bicep for this amazing opportunity. It was such a great day getting to meet Bicep and attend the Youth Music Awards!” - Gabe.

Want access to VIP Studio Sessions?

VIP Studio Sessions licences are available free of charge to organisations and young people involved in Youth Music funded projects. If you currently hold a Youth Music grant you can sign up for a VIP licence here.

Find out how organisations have been making use of the software over the last 18 months in this blog post

Sign up to the Youth Music Network newsletter for updates on VIP Studio Sessions and more.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about VIP please email

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