Matchmaking for musicians: Meet and Jam Manchester to find ‘musical soulmates’

A social networking site that ‘connects musicians’ has landed in Manchester to attract talented artists to perform in front of A&R scouts in a ‘genuine grassroots musical experience’.

Meet & Jam, described as a platform for pro and amateur musicians to connect virtually and ‘in the real world’, will be holding a jam night at Soup Kitchen in the Northern Quarter on November 26.

The night will be held as part of their ‘Road to the 100 Club’ campaign, which selects the best musicians and original acts to perform at the 100 Club in London in front of Island Records, Jack Daniel’s, PRS and more.

Peter Fiennes, 51, co-founder of Meet & Jam, believes that the competition isn’t to be confused with talent shows like the X Factor, which have promoted a false idea on how to ‘make it’ as a musician.

He told MM: “It’s [Meet & Jam nights] a brilliant live experience. We bring a house band that is extremely proficient and the standard is incredibly high for musicians who turn up.

“Everyone is welcome so we try and give each person a chance, but although it’s a great chance to play live with other great musicians, it’s also a networking event.

We are a genuine grassroots musical experience. The ‘Road to the 100 Club’ does have a talent show element but every musician is incredibly welcoming and so supportive of every other one.

“It’s an authentic experience and it’s more realistic, the expectations are lower but they’re unfeasibly high on the X Factor.

“Nobody can just walk into a room and become an overnight sensation, that’s sort of the idea that they’re pushing there.

“Meet & Jam is all about meeting your musical soul mates. It’s matchmaking for musicians and it’s a way to put people together to hope that the sparks fly.”

At the moment, there are two to three acts playing at 12 events between now and the end of the year. Three finalists will be chosen by the co-founders and Island A&R.

The finalists will appear at the 100 Club on January 21, 2016, to be judged by Island, the Chair of PRS and others.

The best originals act will win a £5,000 development fund from Island Records, the best jamming musicians will win instruments, and the runner-up will win PRS membership and bottles of JD.

Peter believes that despite the competition, Meet & Jam connects likeminded people and gets musicians ‘out there’ – something that artists, especially students, don’t know how to do.

He said: “It’s incredibly hard to make it in the music industry at the moment, and there’s so much music being created which is great but it’s a hell of a cloudy situation.

“Meet & Jam provides a brilliant filter for people. On the one hand you’ve got the original acts which is essentially like a talent funnel.

“But also on the site itself it gives people a chance to present themselves properly which is really hard, and it’s amazing how few people take advantage of that.

“There are tens of thousands of people going through music college at the moment but they’re not presenting themselves in the best light.

“They’re not presenting themselves at all [at the moment]. There’s so much noise out there and it’s so hard to get noticed. It is every musicians interest to make sure that they’re getting themselves noticed.”

Meetandjam.com is a network of musicians that look at the ‘best way to book places to jam, rehearse and record’.

Musicians can assemble profiles by adding audio, video, a biography including instrument proficiency and preferred genres.

This adds as a filter to finding your desired musician, whether local or from afar, to connect and organise projects with.

Bands such as The Bronze, for example, found their whole band through Meet & Jam and are expected to achieve ‘big things’.

Their guitarist and vocalist Henry said: “We messaged a few people before we found each other, but in general Meet & Jam has been great. You don’t just find good musicians, but like-minded ones.

“At our Troubadour gig, someone from Meet & Jam actually turned up and tried to poach Matthew from us to join his own band!”

Musicians will either need to apply to jam along with others, or to be considered for an originals slot – and all instruments are welcome. You need a Meet & Jam profile to be considered.

Nearer to the event date they will email out a set list for the night and ask which songs musicians want to play on.

They will then build the running order, send it out to everyone and put on a ‘brilliant night of music’.

If you want to apply please click here.

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