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British musician and composer Sadie Jemmett hits back at UK chancellor after he tells artists to find other jobs

‘I would rather live with nothing and still make music, the Tories have stripped social welfare and healthcare and now they are stripping the arts,’ she says.

London, 9 October 2020. ‘London activist and folk singer-songwriter’ Sadie Jemmett has criticised  comments by UK chancellor Rishi Sunak, who has suggested that musicians and people working in the arts impacted by the pandemic should retrain or find other jobs.

Sunak was interviewed by ITV News reporter Daniel Hewitt who replied: “We’re a country that has created so many fabulous musicians and artists and actors, and you’re effectively saying ‘I know it’s hard, but maybe go and get another job’.”

In a Facebook post Jemmett said: “I feel completely privileged to have spent the best part of my life creating music.

“Ever since I picked up the guitar at the age of 11, music has been my companion, my confessional and the source of a deep inner joy and peace. I would rather live with nothing and still make music, I am no longer interested in the trappings of fame or wealth, as I am now of an age when I know that they will not give me more happiness (other than what I already have).

 “But I will continue to create music because a world without music is unimaginable to me, and I can only shudder to think what kind of world Sunak and the rest of the Tory party would have us live in. One where society is stripped of its basic needs, social welfare, healthcare, and now the Arts. This is not a world I want to live in.”

Ray Jones, CEO of TALENTBANQ, a London-based music management and promotion company, said: “We must not write off or discourage a generation of British talent.  For independent artists that wish to follow the dream of making a living through music, TALENTBANQ will do all we can to encourage, support and provide income through live performance.”

Jemmett, who also composes music for theatre, is one of a new generation of protest singers unafraid to say what needs to be said. Earlier this year she released The Killing of George Floyd single in response to his brutal murder by police in Minneapolis.

Her single Don’t Silence Me, off her latest album Phoenix, became an anthem for the #MeToo Movement and she also wrote the EDM tune OK.Wow! about climate change and President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris agreement.

In a recent interview with Nashville’s MusicMecca, Jemmett said: “I think that for a lot of mega mainstream artists it is very difficult for them to get too political with their work, as the big labels (who are now often merged and affiliated to huge corporations) don’t like taking any risks. I know that even for an independent artist like myself it was difficult to get radio play for ‘Don’t Silence Me’ (my song about #metoo) because producers didn’t want to take the risk. It’s very sad, and I feel like we live in an age where the protest song is no longer valued in the way that it was, but I do think that in other musical genres, for example rap, people are less afraid to say what they feel, and it is still a vehicle for protest and for change.”

Sadie Jemmett’s new single explores calmer waters and is a cover of Townes Van Zandt’s Americana classic At My Window, which is released by TwoUpTwoDown Records/Absolute via Universal.

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