Jeff Smith, head of music for BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music, has backed Radio 2’s ability to help folk artists cross over into the mainstream.
Speaking in the new edition of Music Week ahead of tonight’s Folk Awards, Smith said: “It is a good time for folk and it’s certainly one of the key specialist music areas for Radio 2. There have been folk and roots shows on this station since it began. We’ve always had that commitment.”
While he acknowledged that unearthing new folk artists “has always been challenging”, he highlighted the station’s support of Wildwood Kin, Seth Lakeman and Kate Rusby as evidence of folk's crossover appeal.
“We supported an artist called Emily Smith with a Christmas folk record, which showed great potential from her,” he added. “Also, I think Wildwood Kin are about to sign a major record deal off the back of the support we’ve provided through the Folk Show and through Radio 2 daytime playlist support. Those sorts of artists are ones to watch. We’ve also been supportive of crossover artists like Jamie Lawson. He comes from a big folk background and that’s a great way to demonstrate our support for folk.”
Read the full story, which also includes quotes from BBC Radio 2 Folk Show host Mark Radcliffe, Billy Bragg and 7Digital’s Kellie While, producer of the Folk Awards, in the new issue of Music Week.
Featuring performances from Bragg, Afro Celt Soundsystem and more, the Folk Awards takes place tonight (April 5) at London’s Royal Albert Hall.