The ICMP Spotlight aims to support as many students and alumni as possible in their personal careers within the music industry.

Whether you're working on a musical, have joined a cover band, started out as a booking agent/artist manager/music journalist/etc, we want to know all about it and support you with any possible means.

Each month we present a student or graduate music project, making it our #ICMPSpotlight.

This month we're showcasing our alumnus Coda and the Trans Voices Choir, the UK’s first professional trans+ choir. 

Coda and Trans Voices

Trans Voices explores and widens the possibilities and routes for vocalists outside of the gender binary.

Composed of eight core members, the choir counts a diverse group of over twenty vocalists who identify as trans+. 

Could you talk a little about your venture Trans Voices? What was the motivation to launch it? 

When I moved to London from Sofia to attend ICMP, I figured it would make sense to seek out professional singing opportunities alongside my studies.

That led me to London Contemporary Voices (LCV), which resulted in recordings with ABBA and Jools Holland as well as performances at Royal Albert Hall, Southbank Centre, and various festivals.

The more I came into my trans identity however, the more I realised there wasn't a space for trans and gender non-conforming people in traditional choral structures. That's where the motivation to launch Trans Voices came from, which I co-founded with LCV director and interdisciplinary artist Ilā, who's also part of my chosen family.

It's a space that caters to and provides opportunities for professional vocalists who are trans. 

How did you go about launching the choir? 

We launched in spring 2022 with a Guardian documentary 'Reclaim'. Since then, we have collaborated with Olly Alexander from Years & Years on Absolut's #BornToMix campaign and performed at venues such as the Roundhouse and the Royal Opera House. 

How has your time at ICMP helped you develop your skills and further your career? 

ICMP was a curious experience for me. When I first applied to the BA (Hons) Songwriting course, I was rejected, because my song material was deemed weak - which it was. I had to persuade the faculty that I'm committed enough to the craft to get in (thank you, Jonathan Whiskerd) and my first year and a half certainly felt like a baptism of fire since I was constantly playing catch up with the people around me. 

Over time, I got a chance to hone many of my key skills, including songwriting, creative collaboration and music production, as well as my academic writing skills and understanding of queer, social and music issues (thank you, Dan Green).

I'm grateful to ICMP for the patience and belief the faculty put into my education. I was given the space to make mistakes without judgement and to tailor the learning to my needs, which culminated in me graduating top of my class."

Have you any advice for future students on how to make the most of your time at ICMP? 

My advice for students would be to musically venture out of the bubble of ICMP. Bubbles are great, everybody loves bubbles, but I know how valuable my experience outside the school was in widening my perspective. I think building networks outside the institution is also useful post-graduation when your fellow students inevitably scatter around the globe and everyone's doing their own thing. In my opinion, students who are immigrants could benefit from this doubly so.

Another thing I would recommend is to learn how to write funding applications. My mentor, who I secured outside ICMP, was invaluable here.

With their support, I've been able to secure the Do It Differently fund (DID) from Help Musicians for my personal music project as well as the Developing Your Creative Practice fund (DYCP) from the Arts Council for my post-facial reconstruction vocal recovery and community work. There's a lot of funding out there for project-based work, which artists can tap into, and great people who can help you. 

What are you up to next with your project? 

We're returning to the Roundhouse this April in collaboration with Luca Manning and also performing at Brighton Festival in May with BISHI.

As part of the DYCP-funded project, I'll be facilitating a series of creative workshops to develop new work in June. Otherwise, there's a few other cool things on the horizon and my own music to release, but as per, watch this space, more to come, all the cliches...

Watch 'Reclaim' below to find out more about Trans Voices.

Take the first steps in your music career with ICMP

We've been developing and delivering contemporary music education for over 30 years – longer than any other music school in the UK. With a proven track-record, countless music industry connections and unrivalled access to facilities, it's easy to see why hundreds of students choose ICMP each year. 

To completely immerse yourself in your music career, chat with our friendly Admissions Team via email or give them a call on 020 7328 0222.

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