November updates from our Resident and Emergent artists!

Read on to discover what Drake Music Collective’s Resident and Emergent artists have been up to. Resident artist Daisy Higman delves into collaborative pursuits, whilst Ysabelle Wombwell shares insights into her creative process. Emergent artists Geo Aghinea navigates the live music sector,  Rivkala draws inspiration from storytellers and Elizabeth J. Birch explores inclusive music practices.

On the left, a photograph of Daisy Higman in a circle frame on a computer wearing black Mi Mu gloves wearing a colourful jumpsuit. On the right, a photo of Yssi Wombwell behind a computer wearing black Mi Mu gloves with the words Resident Artists Updates in the middle against a dark grey background.

Daisy Higman

The past month has been a whirlwind for Daisy. She kicked it off in the first mentoring session with our Emergent artists, discussing shared experiences and guiding them through setting up an Access Rider. “I’ve met some incredible artists this month – learning about their work has been so inspiring!” Daisy said. 

In her quest for collaborators for her creative project, Daisy interviewed some amazing disabled artists in the south west. “It’s tough to choose just one to join the team; I wish I could work with them all!” 

Dealing with a bout of illness, Daisy found a silver lining: “It’s given me lots of time to think about the upcoming Open House session on the power of rest, which I’m very (restfully) excited for”. 

Next month is looking to be super busy as Daisy starts the R&D for her creative project. “I’ll be working with two other artists to create a piece exploring the idea of utopia from a disabled perspective. We’ll be using vocal improv and body music to generate new material which we’re hoping to perform at the DMC showcase in January”.  

Ysabelle Wombwell

Ysabelle shares exciting updates on her ongoing projects and workshops. The documentary on live performers is progressing, with all interviews now successfully filmed. In her creative project, Yssi is aiming to finish a new song before starting the recording and mixing process. Working with collaborators, efforts will then extend to storyboarding the accompanying music video. 

Reflecting on her journey, Ysabelle offers insights into the realities of the creative process under time constraints. “I’ve learnt that writing music and lyrics for a deadline is quite overwhelming and made the creative process difficult to start.” 

In the mix of a busy month, a standout point for Yssi has been the interviews with Ruby Addy and Dom Sphere. These perspectives promise to enhance the forthcoming documentary, which Yssi is looking forward to sharing. 

Daisy and Yssi will also be joining the rest of the Drake Music Collective team on a trip to DM headquarters to attend DMLab and to experiment with some very exciting technology, including the MiMu Gloves. 

Image of 3 portraits of people. On the left, an image of Elizabeth Birch wearing black lipstick, in the middle an image of Rivkala wearing orange glasses and checkered trousers against an orange background and on the right, an image of Geo in black and white with hair tied up wearing a hearing aid.

Geo Aghinea

Geo recently joined DMC as one of this year’s Emergent artists after discovering the programme through Drake Music’s newsletter. Since joining, Geo has been learning more about the live music sector and the inner workings of it. “I hope to learn how to successfully navigate the industry as a deaf musician. I also hope to gain more confidence as a disabled performer by listening to other people’s experiences and by being given the opportunity to perform.”  

Inspired by the likes of Bjork, as well as everywhere and everything around them, Geo sees value in making music, as “once you put it out in the world, you leave a trace of yourself forever”.  

For other disabled artists, Geo emphasises the importance of finding one’s own mechanism for creating art, encouraging others to explore with different methods and approaches. “Never underestimate your power – your different approach to creating music can only lead to unique outcomes.” 


Another of our Emergent artists, Rivkala stumbled upon the program while searching for funding opportunities online. “I don’t remember specifically – it may have been the PRS website or something like that,” they recall. 

Influenced by musicians like Carole King, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, and Amy Winehouse, Rivkala finds inspiration in their storytelling and their unapologetic decision to make art that shares their life, their vision and their point of view. “My inspirations are endless – I often find myself moved to create by the moon – but I suppose most often I am inspired by other women, and by people in general exploring the aches and joys of being a person.” 

Excited about the Emergent opportunity, Rivkala looks forward to collaborative learning and lasting connections. She plans to use the time to improve her piano, vocal, guitar and marketing skills. She will use the funding to put towards the first of 2 EPs, hoping to significantly launch their career in an exciting new way. 

For other disabled artists, Rivkala advocates for self-expression and advocacy, encouraging them to claim their space in the industry and to advocate for all necessary accommodations to enable this. “ Your point of view and experiences are exactly what the world needs to hear more of.”

Elizabeth J. Birch

Elizabeth spotted the Emergent program on Instagram. Through the opportunity, Elizabeth plans a deep dive into technical music skills like found sounds and audio manipulation, alongside videography and branding. She wants to learn a more inclusive and accessible approach to her music practice by understanding and addressing access needs, and is also passionate about cultivating a healthy work-life balance, prioritising well-being and healthy working practices. 

As well as boundary-pushing artists like Gary Numan, David Bowie and Low, sound, for Elizabeth, is a source of profound inspiration, “I am inspired by sound, as I believe sounds carry stories. Just the turning of a page in a book conjures images and thoughts without the need for anything else.” 

Her creative wisdom centers on leaving a legacy through creating “content that is evergreen” encouraging others to consider the lasting impact their music and creativity can have “not only now in their village, but in the future of the world.”

Offering advice to other disabled artists, Elizabeth champions perseverance: “Don’t give up; Life is a constant war and sometimes I’ve felt at a large disadvantage on the battlefield. However, the minute you want to fall back is when you should press forward. Be tactical on your approach and show everyone that anyone can be a soldier.”