One of the things we like to do here at SOUTH WALES LIFE is celebrate success, and wherever possible encourage new, aspiring talent. Getting a break in any business is difficult enough as it is, throw in a pandemic and lockdown restrictions, and getting into your chosen career path is even more of a challenge.

Music is one of those industries which is sometimes perceived as a ‘pipe dream‘, or as we hear all too often, ‘just a phase they’re going through and they’ll find a proper job soon.‘ Well, we’re here to tell you that music is a proper job and the opportunities within the industry are vast, as the guys at COLEG GWENT know only too well.

Let us introduce you to seventeen-year-old Laura Huckbody (or Laura Jazmyn as we’ll get to know her) from Tredegar, a name we’re sure you’ll hear a lot more of over the years. Laura studies Rock School Music (Extended Diploma) Level 3 at from Coleg Gwent’s Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone in Ebbw Vale – a course which has given her a wealth of opportunities to develop her talent and interest in music. And thanks to her hard work, determination and the support of her tutors, she’s now been offered a contract with Swansea-based record label, SWND, and launches her first album today. 

Music has always been a huge part of Laura’s life. She’s always enjoyed delving into the world of music through her education and in her spare time. So, following her GCSE in Music, Laura wanted to move from the school setting and into an independent learning environment instead, choosing Coleg Gwent as her local college. For Laura, Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone was the perfect choice. Not only was it close to home and part of one of Wales’ top performing colleges, but they also have the only Rock School Music course available. With Rock School being a global leader in contemporary music lessons and exams, this was the ideal course for Laura. 

Laura loves the course and finds it really laid back, despite being challenging and with a lot of work to get through. Her tutors have offered constant support and encouragement to help Laura express herself through music and become the best she can be.

Laura said…..

“The best thing about studying at Coleg Gwent, are the opportunities on offer. Even though most of my learning experience has been from home due to Covid-19, I’ve still managed to do a few gigs and attend workshops with industry professionals all thanks to the tutors at Coleg Gwent.”  

Although she’s going to miss college when she moves on to the next stage of her career, her future is looking to be extremely exciting! After college, Laura plans to study Music Performance and Event Management at BIMM Music School in Bristol.

Laura told us……

“My goals are to keep writing music and putting my music out in to the world and taking any opportunities I can to help myself become more well known as an artist. Coleg Gwent has definitely helped me to find the confidence to do so.” 

Laura recording tracks for her debut album

But Laura has already found success after being offered an amazing record contract with SWND, a record label based in Swansea. After discovering SWND on social media, Laura had the opportunity to help work on and create articles for their quarterly magazine, which turned out to be the start of something much bigger. They offered Laura the chance to sign with their record label to release a mini album, and Laura’s spent the past few months working on promoting her album and keeping busy with recordings and interviews. 

Coleg Gwent are understandably proud of Laura’s success and the inspiring home-grown talent of their learners studying Music and many other creative courses across their five campuses in South East Wales (Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone, City of Newport Campus, Crosskeys Campus, Torfaen Learning Zone, and Usk Campus).

Laura’s tutor, Holly Ellis told us…….

“This is such an exciting opportunity for Laura, and I’m so pleased that her hard work and talent are being recognised outside of college. Well done!” 

I think it’s time we heard some of Laura’s music. These songs were recorded live at Coleg Gwent……

Laura’s debut album, “Ride or Die” is out right now, alongside a 50 limited edition CD launch at the start of May. You can follow Laura on social media for more information and to follow her journey: @JazmynLaura 

Perhaps the most common question any young, aspiring musicians asks is, “What is the first thing I should do to get started?”

The problem with this question is that there is no “one size fits all” answer. There are so many things that can inform the next steps in your music career, including your personal goals and genre of music.

If you have dreams of becoming Wales’ newest recording artist and following in Laura’s footsteps, start your journey with a course at Coleg Gwent. Register now for their next virtual open event to meet the tutors and discover more about the courses that will help you make it.  


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