10 Years of ICMP’s Songwriters’ Circle

We celebrate many of the event series’ best musical nights…



ICMP's Songwriters' Circle is always among the highlights of the year and, in 2023/24, is celebrating its tenth anniversary

Inspired by the songwriting circles of 'music city' Nashville, the events have seen students from across ICMP's community perform alongside many of the music industry’s most inspiring talents. 

From LGBTQ+ specials to events led by stars such as Frank Turner and ICMP alumna Elena Tonra (of Daughter fame), songwriters provide intimate performances and discuss the unheard stories behind the music. 

To mark its tenth year, we’ve delved into the history of the event to celebrate some of the most memorable nights and guests… 

Frank Turner

Frank Turner is not just a famous and respected singer songwriter but a long-term friend of ICMP who has performed at a number of Songwriters' Circle events over the years. 

Most recently, he played at Proud in Camden where he met Nicole Ingrassia who won a scholarship sponsored by Frank to start her studies with ICMP in September 2016

The sold out event saw Frank perform alongside students Truly Ford, Diana Mukwaya and Rebekah Bossard. 

Bruno Major

In 2017, R&B talent Bruno Major became a music industry success story, writing and releasing a new song every month.

The project, 'A Song For Every Moon', came to a conclusion in August that year, creating a stunning collection of twelve songs which has now amassed over 115 million streams and counting.

Bruno joined our event at Camden’s FEST in November, hosted by ICMP tutor Leddra Chapman

Elena Tonra


Acclaimed indie band Daughter met while studying at ICMP and it’s been wonderful to see the group go on to enjoy so much success over the years since they left our classrooms. 

Elena Tonra formed Daughter while studying songwriting alongside fellow ICMP alumnus and songwriting student Igor Haefeli, and Remi Aguilella, (who studied a BMus in Popular Music Performance as a drummer).

The memorable Songwriters' Circle with Elena event took place at the Rosslyn Hill Chapel in Hampstead and saw Elena joined by fellow alumna ARK as well as students Cristina Llull, Akira Reid and Sergei Vartiainen.

Michelle Escoffery


Michelle Escoffery joined ICMP’s Songwriters' Circle to mark Black History Month for a very special night in 2021. 

Michelle's CV glows with accolades and achievements. She has won Ivor Novello Award for her song 'Just A Little' and was featured as part of PRS for Music's book, 'Songs Of A Century', a selection of the top 100 British songs from the last 100 years.

She has penned songs for Tina Turner, All Saints, Beverley Knight, Artful Dodger and worked on vocal arrangement and production for Rod Stewart and performed with artists including Stevie Wonder, George Michael and many more. 

Richard Fairlie


As a BA Songwriting student, Richard’s talents shone while studying with us through his stunning voice and brilliant songwriting skills. 

He was a regular performer and attendee at our Songwriters' Circle events, appearing on one memorable night with The Dunwells. The group were so impressed by Richard's abilities that they offered him a support slot at their next London gig. 

Since then, Richard has gone to great things, releasing tracks like 'Give Me Your Love' and 'Torn' and signing a deal with Columbia Records. He's among the ICMP alumni who have topped one million streams

Lauren Aquilina


Songwriter and artist Lauren Aquilina joined Songwriters' Circle at Proud Camden in 2017, as part of an event focused on protest songs and featured material with a social or political theme.

Many other ICMP songwriters performed at the event including students, alumni, ICMP songwriting tutor Tim Elsenburg (lead singer-songwriter of Mercury-nominated band Sweet Billy Pilgrim) and ICMP's Principal, Tony Harris.

Glen Matlock 

Our brilliant Songwriters' Circle with Glen Matlock of the Sex Pistols​ took place at Mode in Notting Hill. 

Glen was a member of the Sex Pistols' original line up of the band and credited as a songwriter on many of the tracks on their iconic debut album, 'Never Mind the Bollocks'

He's continued to write and record as a solo artist and alongside legendary groups including Blondie and Stiff Little Fingers.

This fantastic event featured performances from three songwriting students, special guest alumna Polly Money​, and host tutor Luke Toms​, as well as Glen himself.


BISHI is a singer, electronic rock-sitarist, composer, producer, and performer born in London of Bengali heritage.

As a multi-instrumentalist, she has been trained in both Hindustani and Western Classical styles and studied the sitar under Gaurav Mazumdar, a senior disciple of Ravi Shankar.

Her appearance at our Songwriters' Circle was to celebrate International Women's Day alongside ICMP's Head of Songwriting Sophie Daniels.

Ben Earle | The Shires


The Shires have been one of the leading groups in UK country music, scoring three consecutive UK top three albums, four chart-topping country albums, 100 million+ streams alongside sold out shows at some of the biggest stages. 

It’s been brilliant to welcome Ben Earle from the Shires to share songs and stories about the group’s music within the more intimate setting of our Songwriters' Circle. 

Fiona Bevan 

Hit songwriter Fiona Bevan has been among our most recent guests at ICMP's Songwriters' Circle, performing alongside students and alumni at an event at the Sherriff Centre in nearby West Hampstead. 

Her music has been utilised by the likes of Ed Sheeran and Lewis Capaldi while Fiona has also released numerous solo tracks to great acclaim too. 

Write songs that last for generations

A great song can become truly timeless, remembered for generations as part of the world’s cultural legacy. Whether you want to craft a killer melody or pen poetic lyrics, our tutors will teach you everything you want to know, including all the production, performance, professional and entrepreneurial skills needed to ensure that your unique creations get the recognition they deserve. You’ll also benefit from A&R-style critique sessions, collaborative opportunities, access to fully equipped live rooms, recording studios and tech suites, and a community of inspiring contacts and friends.

To catapult your songwriting and music career to a whole new level, email our friendly Admissions Team at enquiries@icmp.ac.uk or give them a call on 020 7328 0222.

Songwriting courses
by Jim Ottewill
October 25, 2023
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