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New fund launched in memory of former BMG Chair John Preston

By | Published on Monday 20 September 2021

John Preston

A new fund has been launched in memory of former BMG and BPI Chair John Preston to support young musicians and songwriters in Scotland.

Set up by Preston’s widow Roz, in partnership with the Liam Colgan Music Fund, the John Preston Memorial Fund will distribute money via two awards for music graduates from the University Of The Highlands, and two others open to all young musicians and songwriters across the Scottish Highlands and Islands.

“Throughout his career in the music industry, John was committed to finding and supporting emerging talent, both among artists and business people in the music industry”, says Roz Preston. “He would be honoured that this memorial fund in his name will go towards creating awards for music students and others from across the Highlands and Islands who dream of a career in music”.

Iain Clark, former drummer with Uriah Heep and now Chair of the Liam Colgan Music Fund, adds: “I worked with John some years ago when he was chairman of one of the European pioneers in digital music distribution companies. He was one of the most kind, decent and honourable people I’ve ever met and we went on to become good friends. I was honoured to help his widow Roz set up this memorial fund in John’s name”.

“John was also a proud Scot who I’m sure would have been delighted this fund is supporting young people in this remote area of Scotland”, he goes on. “Many people simply don’t see past the stunning landscapes and natural beauty of this region, but in isolated, rural areas like this, many young people often feel disconnected to the wider world”.

“We want to give young people here, many of whom are genuinely talented and keen to get into the music business, access to the opportunities and support available to their urban counterparts, to help them pursue their ambitions”, he concludes. “It’s something I know John would have supported 100%”.

Preston died suddenly in 2017, following a short illness, aged 67. He began his career working at a chain of record shops in Scotland before gaining his first record label job in artist development at EMI in 1977. He then went on to hold a number of senior positions at various record labels, including Polydor, RCA and BMG, during their late 20th Century boom.

He left the music industry in 1998 in order to train in boat building, he and his wife building their own boat in order to sail around Europe over a period of seven years. But he retained some links to music, in particular working on the development of Dave Stewart’s Hospital private members’ club in London.

Applications for the two open awards being offered by the new fund are open now. One songwriter and one musician aged between sixteen and 30, and based in the Scottish Highlands, will received £500 each. Find out more here.