Interview | Tricia Duffy

Our MA Songwriting student tells all about her experiences studying and creative ambitions...


Alongside a successful career within the creative industries, ICMP Songwriting MA student Tricia Duffy has pursued her love for music, a passion she is now exploring through her studies with us.

Tricia's writing and music is within the world of Americana and folk where she has released music as Duffy and the Bird. The disbanding of this duo, the arrival of the pandemic and her eldest son looking to university all led to a shift in direction.

She now records under the name of Little Lore and, by cutting back on her work, Tricia has given herself the space to take on our Songwriting Masters as a mature student. 

In our interview, Tricia gives us the lowdown on her creative career and how she hopes the course will open up new opportunities...

What led you to ICMP?

I woke up one day and had this idea that I could study songwriting.

My son turned 18 and he was looking at universities and it started me wondering if there was a way of studying that I would be able to qualify for.

ICMP was one of the first places to come up when I googled songwriting.

I filled in the form, and within 30 seconds I had a call from the Admissions Team asking to book me into an audition. The more I learned about it, the more I was compelled to take it on. Then when I did the audition, I met Gabriel Stebbing who has been one of my lecturers, he’s been really lovely and it’s been a fantastic and fun experience.

The other part of it was that I was loving my day job less and less so this gave me a way to change my work/life balance. I’d been working for myself for a long time and although I enjoy what I do, the pandemic had taken some of the joy out of it.

What has your career been to date?

The last 20 years I’ve been working in TV, production and broadcasting, then I moved into consulting where I do strategy and complex change in the media sector. It’s very specialist and I’m still working but I take less clients so I can study part-time.


How has the MA been so far?

In the first semester, I devoured it. I loved the academic part as well and more than I expected if I’m being honest.

I thought I would get a kick from the practical side of it but I enjoyed the research too.

The first module of Process and Purpose was super interesting. I’ve loved how you can take yourself on a journey and self-teach with additional topics." 

I did very well in my first semester, it was a great experience and got a great mark so I was really chuffed.

I have enjoyed putting myself under pressure to write a lot of songs too. I do this song a week challenge which is run out of Nashville alongside the ICMP work so I have been writing between one and four songs every week since September 2022.

This last module has been more challenging as it’s the sonic identity module - and I’m more lyrics first than the music.

I’m more of an instinctive player than classically trained. But it’s been great as it’s really stretched me, and made me think more carefully about my sonic decision making.

What are you hoping to get out of the MA?

I think you have to enjoy the process and not think too much about the outcome.

Still, I would like to find a way to make a career out of songwriting although it’s hard to be sure about this. I love my day job, I just do word of mouth work, it is fun and interesting. It also feeds into my songwriting as it’s within the creative industries.

But I would love to be in a position where I could pick and choose the type of work I do. I try to avoid being specific about my aims but ultimately, I would love to write and collaborate more.


You’ve worked in music for a while as a performer? How has that fed into what you’re doing now?

It gives you skills if you start as a singer in terms of styles and the kind of songs you like. I’m grateful that I can sing as this is my main instrument. I have a great facility to demonstrate how something can sound.

But I don’t have an aspiration to tour as I love writing. The performing part of it is more a side hustle. My artist project does get me a few gigs, I can sell some CDs and it is a useful calling card to show people what I can do. But I want to spend more time in the writing room.

Who are your songwriting inspirations/influences?

I am listening to loads of Nashville songwriters who we recently heard on the ICMP trip. I like Brandy Carlisle and the way she writes her lyrics. I try to write lyrics that are ‘arf clever’ as I call it.

You watch an episode of the Simpsons, for kids there’s a cartoon but underneath that is a subliminal message for the adults. I love it when lyrics have this dual meaning."

Joni Mitchell and Dylan do that. I love Americana, country, pop and jazz. I’m a massive Nina Simone fan, I love PJ Harvey and Nick Cave, the latter for his prose as much of his music.

My producer Lowpines, Oli deakin, he’s my producer who lives in NYC and is very inspiring. He’s wonderful as he’s able to make whoever he works with more themselves rather than trying to make them a copy of someone else. He’s great at finding the essence of someone he works with, then encourages them to amplify it.

What’s next for you?

I usually have a gig in the diary every month or so. Then I’m working on a batch of songs to release this year. I have a batch of about five or six tracks at the moment and I want to release them in the autumn. I’ll also be gearing up to write an album for the MA at some point - and ideally this will fulfil academic needs as well as being something I can release too. That’s my focus: to finish the Masters.

What would you advise anyone looking to do the MA?

100% do it. As long as you’re writing and enjoying it, then the outcome doesn’t matter. I left school at 16 with no qualifications and no prospects and going to uni when I was younger wasn’t within my means.

So being at university now is a massive privilege. I can’t emphasise that enough. I’m massively privileged so I want to get as much out of it as possible while I’m here. I see it as a fantastic opportunity.

Visit for more information on Tricia's music. Listen to her track 'Normal' below: 

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 or give them a call on 020 7328 0222.

Songwriting courses
by Jim Ottewill
April 26, 2023
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