'She's such a phenomenal young artist': Decca's Rebecca Allen on Proms star Jess Gillam

'She's such a phenomenal young artist': Decca's Rebecca Allen on Proms star Jess Gillam

Decca has been enjoying success with 2018 breakthrough artist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, and now the label is looking to expand its new generation of classical music stars.

Teenage saxophonist Jess Gillam, the latest signing to Decca Classics, performed alongside Kanneh-Mason at the BBC Proms at the weekend as part of the 40th anniversary celebrations for the BBC Young Musician Of The Year

Describing her as “bloody brilliant”, Decca president Rebecca Allen said Gillam is able to connect with a younger audience. 

“She’s such a bundle of energy and credibility, and she’s such a phenomenal young artist,” Allen told Music Week. “Sheku and Jess are the reason why I got into the business. They are young, exceptionally talented, unique classical artists. They talk a language that young people can relate to.”

As well as triumphing in the woodwind category at the 2016 Young Musician Of The Year, Gillam was named the inaugural winner of the Sound Of Classical Poll at last month’s Classic BRIT Awards, which has been revived amid signs of increasing popularity for the genre

“We are going to get a new generation of young audiences coming into classical music,” said Allen. “These guys [Gillam and Kanneh-Mason] want to be the best at what they are doing. She is absolutely the sort of artist that Decca should be signing, without question.”

While Kanneh-Mason has had success with his debut album, Gillam said the label “may decide to do things differently” in terms of release plans for Gillam. 

“She is a very modern, contemporary thinker,” said Allen. “She has such energy, it’s contagious. I really want to be in a business with her.”

Gillam will be back at the BBC's classical festival as part of the Last Night Of The Proms in September.

Decca Classics has also signed soprano Lise Davidsen and composer Rebecca Dale.

To read Allen’s full interview on royal wedding star Kanneh-Mason, subscribers can click here.


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