Meet Unsigned 2024 star Ewan Martin

Ewan Martin sits on a rock surrounded by trees, with the hood of his top pulled up

Engaged Ewan has already cracked the secret to wedded bliss – listen to the woman in your life.

“My fiancée Ruby and I met at The Brickmakers. It was a young musician type thing, and we were both performing. She took part in Unsigned last year and I was at the final showcase at The Waterfront. 

“I got good vibes and Amber was like, ‘come on, do it, do it’. I joked about feeling a bit past my time as I’m comfortably sure I’m the oldest on the course this year. I get caught in my own head. [I realised] it’s an opportunity to learn – your age, your background, whatever, doesn’t matter. Go for it.”

The 26-year-old support worker has been surrounded by music all his life. His dad and brother both perform. Ewan’s been writing music since he was 11.

“My health’s been complicated. I’ve had a lot of issues in the past couple of years. I’ve had to give up opportunities. I was in a band and had to leave because I would be getting sick before gigs. That’s why I went back to doing solo stuff because I could only let myself down. It was a little less pressure.

“But music’s always been the number one tool to get things off my chest, to de-escalate my mental health. As soon as I started writing songs again solo, I felt I’d had a good amount of time away.”

The Christmas performance in our café helped ease him back into the spotlight.

“I hadn’t really done that many gigs. So even though it was only a few songs, it was nice. It was a really nice atmosphere. I got some really good feedback.”

The help he’s had from Unsigned mentors Millie Manders and Emma O’Reilly has been invaluable.

“Vocal health, technical stuff like that. I was unhappy with how some recording for an EP had turned out so got some helpful advice about that and the three singles I’ve been trying to release.”

To quote Miley Cyrus, it ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side, it’s the climb that drives Ewan.

“I don’t necessarily see milestones with the programme, it’s helping me as a whole. I’ve never been desperate to be a full-time singer-songwriter. If that was the case, I feel like I would’ve worked harder to be honest. I’m passionate about it, but it’s like a full-time hobby.

“There may’ve been a time [I felt differently] but I think I was very anxious and held [myself] back. At that age I would’ve just scared myself in the big wide world if I’d got on a train to London one day and tried. I think that would’ve been incredibly overwhelming and might even have put me off music, so I don’t have any regrets.

“If I wrote an incredible song and it becomes an overnight worldwide success, you’re not going to say no. Consistent growth in something, that’s the most important thing to me. Seeing how far you’ve come, thinking, ‘I’ve really improved that aspect of my music this year’.

“I wanted to make sure I was taking myself seriously enough. You can go on YouTube, type in ‘how to write a good song’, or ‘vocal warm-ups’. But it’s still incredibly invaluable what you can learn from a person face-to-face.

“I also wanted a better grasp of the business side of things, social media, branding, so I can give my solo stuff the best chance. The last time I released solo I wasn’t pushing it that hard. It’s important to have some organisation and structure, it minimises anxiety and stress.”

There’s a pause when I ask Ewan what the audience at the Unsigned showcase at Voodoo Daddy’s on 14 July can expect.

“It’s difficult. I say pop because I can’t really justify calling it anything else. I listen to a lot of that and rock right now. I have a heavy pop sound. I enjoy being loud – sometimes too loud. I like having a bit of vastness in my voice and my songwriting is very dark. But I’m playing them acoustically.”

If, in the words of his gig bio, you like moody pop ballads that inspire you to fight your own demons, with bright open chords, aggressive yet fragile vocals and lyrics that give you the key to the singer’s mind then get your tickets here. Find out more about Ewan on Instagram.

Also on the line-up are:

Nyree Williams is an actor and singer-songwriter from Wales. She uses music as a connector. She believes storytelling through song is a way to make peace with ourselves and connect more deeply with others. Humour’s an essential part of her style. Her music has been described as “bourbon-soaked folk”. Her songs range from bawdy, theatrical numbers to narratives sung in a more traditional folk style with old-timey jazz, blues and country influences chucked in for good measure. Her debut single Penelope can be streamed on most platforms. Find out more about Nyree on FacebookInstagramYouTube.

Expect a dynamic performance from Amber Sky fusing the power of Paramore, the pop sensibilities of Taylor Swift, and the classic edge of The Cranberries. Cutting her teeth on busking, live-streaming on TikTok, and shows at venues across Norfolk, she has emotive, strong vocals, affirming lyrics, playful narratives and a commitment to authenticity. Alongside dates in the studio and performing, she’s currently preparing for summer festivals. Join Amber’s community on InstagramTikTok, and Facebook to find out more.

Hailing from Lowestoft, MICAH’s been hitting the live scene all over Norfolk, winning over audiences with tender, dextrous vocals, her stage presence, and her sharp ear for melody. She’s been compared to the likes of Au/Ra, Sigrid, Zella Day and Winona Oak, securing herself slots at summer festivals and events around the county. She’s currently developing her live set and exploring her sound in the studio. Find out more about MICAH on Instagram and Facebook.

Unsigned is our artist development programme which offers musicians a year of mentoring from industry professionals, with recording, promotional and performance opportunities. You can find out more about it and all our other courses and classes by visiting thegarage.org.uk

Keep up to date with our new shows, classes, offers, community projects and more by signing-up to our twice monthly e-shot. Or follow us on XInstagramFacebookLinkedIn, and YouTube.

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