Jack Shaw, class of 2008 / 2010

My journey from university to working life has not been easy, having spent 20 months living on sofas and busking to make money, however if you want  to do something bad enough, then you’ve just got to do it.

I went to university with two aims, to be as creative as possible and meet loads of people on the same wavelength as me. At the time I had come from an art background with a small amount of experience in Video production. Throughout the first two years of the Media Production Bachelors Degree I began to develop as a creative thinker.

Always being an impulsive person I tended to make course choices based on not very much. I majored in Multi-Camera with some great and not so great moments along the way. Working in such a competitive environment, with 10% of the people doing 80% of the work it was either a struggle to have something to sink your teeth into, or you were just overrun. That being said, it’s the key skill set I got from Multi-Camera that laid a foundation for the coming years.

Since I have been 7 years old I have been writing, scrawling down words. Writing has always played a part in the creative process of all my work. Naturally when you become a greasy teenager, angry at the world, you start to explore songwriting more. This is always something I have done and I began to spend more and more time doing this.

When I got to Lincoln University I knew I wanted to play music more, and that was when I made some of my best friends. By complete chance or whatever you will call it, there was a select group of Media Production Students who at the end of our 2nd year began to use the facilities in the MHT Building. The Multi-Track Studio on the 2nd floor was almost always vacant. Lecturers would come in occasionally and offer some advice on what to do with certain bits of kit, but at this stage there were two groups using the studio.

A rap outfit known as Lincs Illest and the band of vagrants I formed an acoustic act with called Dancing Lotus. Both had a core of Media Production students just wanting to make music. Hours upon hours of time was spent in that studio making a demo EP and a collaboration between the two formed he start of my Musical madness.

As I said before I would always write a lot, but one thing that had always stumped me was writing the “Hook” the chorus, the catchy bit that grabs someone. I don’t know whether it was the people being put together or just the Lincoln air but all of a sudden I began to write Hook after Hook. We recorded, released and gathered a huge fanbase which would have never happened had we not all gone to Lincoln and had the facilities to pursue the music. Alongside the not so interesting lectures on Ideology and such, every hour was spent, writing, recording and Videoing for the band. We literally became consumed by it.

At the end of the course Luke Billing (Producer –Dancing lotus. Director – Berry Street Studios London) Lanre (MC – Dancing Lotus) and I continued study and undertook the Masters Degree.  We did not however choose any of the 6 specialized areas on offer. After a discussion with course supervisors Andy  Mckay, Ronnie Fowler and David Sleight we agreed that our specialism would be in Music Production.

The guidance I was given at this level was second to none, I was encouraged to explore different ways of approaching songwriting. In the course I worked with Luke who was quickly becoming an astonishing producer. In the one year course we wrote 3 albums of content and produced 4 music videos .

The MA is not for everyone, you have to really want to do the course, otherwise that extra episode of Jeremy Kyle will just stop you from going. It does allow you to explore in more detail exactly what you enjoy. I worked the whole time I was studying and gained invaluable work experience in Photography (travelling round Europe shooting motorsport) and WebCasting (Broadcasting and Producing for Interflora UK).

I moved to London in Dec 2010 to keep pursuing what I know I love doing. Dancing Lotus is going well and we are still producing new music and working towards a recording contract for 2012. In the past year we have played on Main stages with Givers, The Maccabees and Graham Coxon. We have been championed by BBC Introducing and In April 2011 Dancing Lotus released a collaboration single with Elliott Morris that reached number 1 in the iTunes singer/Songwriter Chart, the first unsigned Act to top an Itunes singles chart in 5years.

In the mean time I am currently working for the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) as an AV technician at their Head Office in Oxford Circus. My role switches from operating sound desks, to rewiring display screens and in December 2011 I am installing a websreaming facility to run Live broadcasts. 

As London is such a melee of people, I have also started songwriting for the acclaimed TinPanAlley Studios in Denmark Street, which has again been a result of the time I had at uni to explore my songwriting.  I did go for a job as a studio hand for a producer who turned out to be one of the co-writers of Adeles 21 album, I did feel slightly out of my depth and needless to say I didn’t get the job but but I keep in touch with him  picking his brains for advice whenever I get stuck.

My journey from university to working life has not been easy, having spent 20 months living on sofas and busking to make money, however if you want  to do something bad enough, then you’ve just got to do it.

On a final note, I would say that the network of friends, peers and lecturers that you get from Lincoln Uni is invaluable and I frequently meet and share work or partner with them whenever possible. It makes me proud to see how many people from Lincoln University are working in the creative industries in London.

To see examples of my work please visit www.dancinglotus.co.uk

1 thought on “Jack Shaw, class of 2008 / 2010

  1. I suppose I can take some perverse paternalistic pride in being partly responsible for “the not so interesting lectures on Ideology and such” but also being fully responsible for spawning one of the Dancing Lotus band members….

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