Derby professor’s Tune Into Nature Music Prize announces first winner

30 September 2020

A national music prize that was the brainchild of a University of Derby professor to inspire songwriters to compose works celebrating nature has announced its first winner.

I Eden’, by 21-year-old Liverpool-based artist LYDIAH, has won the inaugural Tune Into Nature Music Prize devised by Miles Richardson, Professor of Human Factors and Nature Connectedness at the University.

Miles, who heads the University’s Nature Connectedness Research Group, said: “Research tells us that the connection between young people and nature dips during teenage years and takes more than a decade to recover.

“It has been found that references to nature in contemporary music have decreased consistently since the 1950s. This matters, as a close connection with nature helps both the wellbeing of people and our planet, as people who are tuned into nature are more likely to care for it.”

LYDIAH’s prize includes a £1,000 grant, supported by Selfridges, and a remix at Tileyard Studios in London by legendary producer and musician Martyn Ware, formerly of hit 1980s pop group The Human League.

Her song will also be played at the Selfridges department store in London as part of the company’s Project Earth campaign, which aims to support emerging creative talent committed to promoting a more sustainable future for people and the planet.

Miles added: "LYDIAH's lyrics stood out as they tell the story of the importance of the simple things in nature - the birds and the trees, and their beauty.

“Our research this year shows that tuning into these simple things really matters for nature's wellbeing and our own wellbeing, yet people tend not to notice them. Through singing of Mother Nature's loss, LYDIAH helps highlight their importance".

Joining Miles and Martyn as competition judges were folk singer Sam Lee, music critic Kristin J Caryl and popular music lecturer Dr Simon Lesley, of Birmingham City University, alongside representatives of Selfridges, Tileyard Studios and Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which facilitated the competition as part of its mission to promote positive change. They considered a total of 180 entries, and highly recommended a number across many different genres.

Martyn said: “Our winner is a very talented young artist who I’m looking forward to meeting and working with to create an exciting remix. As an artist and an activist myself, I hope this will encourage more young people to creatively respond to the issues we face today. We all want the success of this year’s competition to encourage even more entries next year.”

You can hear more from LYDIAH on Soundcloud.

Find out more about the work of our Nature Connectedness Research Group at the University of Derby.

Find out more about Selfridges' Project Earth campaign.

Singer and songwriter LYDIAH sitting in a woodland
Singer-songwriter LYDIAH, the first winner of the Tune Into Nature Music Prize

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