Press Release: Queen legends praise winner of Academy of Contemporary Music



The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) today announced the 2019 winner of its exclusive Freddie Mercury Scholarship in partnership with Queen legends Roger Taylor and Brian May.

Recognising talent, dedication and passion for music, the scholarship was launched in 2016 to honour what would have been Freddie Mercury’s 70th birthday and celebrate rising musical talent in the late singer’s name.

ACM is one of the most acclaimed contemporary music colleges in the country with campuses in Guildford, Birmingham and south London. ACM has been supporting scholarships for four years and awards six annually – each worth up to £27,000 – in a variety of disciplines. Scholarship recipients are now regarded as the next generation of talented musicians.

This year the academy was inundated with standout submissions for the Freddie Mercury Scholarship and after its world-class tutors whittled down entries to three finalists, ACM patron Roger Taylor and Brian May selected Kayla Grace, 18, from Watford, as the winner. Kayla’s entire Creative Artist Pathway Music Industry Practice degree will be fully-funded.

Brian May said: “Congratulations to Kayla. We all feel her exceptional talent will blossom under the extra care of the Academy of Contemporary Music. ACM and the Freddie Mercury Scholarship are proud to foster developing artists like Kayla. Rock on!”

Kainne Clements, ACM’s Executive Chairman, added: “There were so many great contenders this year. My congratulations go to Kayla and I very much look forward to seeing her artistry go from strength to strength under the guidance of the great mentorship programme at ACM and the tuition from some of the UK’s finest music education practitioners.”

Kayla submitted a video detailing her reasons for applying plus a recorded performance of a self-penned track and admitted she was astonished to have been picked.

Kayla said: ”Winning the Freddie Mercury Scholarship is a massive honour and shock. Being chosen out of many applicants by such talented people is amazing and still hasn’t sunk in yet. I genuinely feel so lucky and validated and it has given me so much more confidence in my songwriting abilities. Being chosen will open many doors for me as an aspiring musician, allowing me to meet people from within the industry and to take full advantage of the amazing facilities and connections offered by ACM.”

Kayla grew up in a passionately musical family. Her father is a guitarist who introduced her to a variety of different music genres from a young age, particularly when driving together in the car. Kayla, who says she has been singing “since as early as she can remember”, began songwriting at the age of 10 and first picked up a guitar at 16.

Kayla (pictured below) added:I applied for this scholarship with no expectation of winning, simply to at least know that I tried. It has taught me that every opportunity in the music world is worth trying for, and from now on that is what I will live by.”

Kayla Grace ACM
KAYLA GRACE ACM [photo provided]

If music is your passion, discover how ACM’s scholarships could help make your dreams a reality at an ACM Open Day:

ACM has campuses in Guildford, Birmingham and Clapham, south London, and has been building sustainable, long-lasting careers for music students in all corners of the industry since 1995. Its innovative learning-by-doing approach to education is delivered in an industry environment by world-class tutors.

For the 2019/20 academic year ACM has made available scholarships worth over £130,000 combined to reward academic, technical, creative and/or entrepreneurial excellence and will provide bursaries valued over £330,000 for students from low-income households and under-represented groups.

ACM has received four Independent Higher Education awards for providing the highest quality of personal and professional development to its students, including the Outstanding Support for Student Learning Experience award, Industry Partnership of the Year, Technology in Learning, and Breakthrough course: Innovation in Design or Delivery. Partnered with Metropolis Studio, Europe’s largest recording facility, ACM’s exclusive industry connections gives students an unparalleled learning experience, making graduates highly-regarded by music business professionals. Many alumni including Ed Sheeran, The 1975’s Matty Healy, The Shires and Newton Faulkner have achieved global success.

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