Brought up in Coatbridge, Maureen studied voice and piano from the age of 12. She went on to study music at Strathclyde University, gaining a first class degree in Applied Music, winning the ‘Sir Alexander Stone Prize for Excellence in Performance’ for her final recital.
Maureen has trained in a range of styles, from classical, musical theatre, jazz and contemporary. In 2007 she performed at the 41st Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, where she beat off competition from thousands of singers worldwide to compete in the semi-final of the Shure Vocal competition. She was the only UK singer to reach the final eight.
Acclaimed Scottish jazz musician, Tommy Smith, describes Maureen as a ‘phenomenal singer … [whose] … voice embraces jazz, blues, gospel, and soul and transmits emotions like few other singers.’ As a singer/songwriter and backing vocalist, Maureen has performed at many major Scottish music festivals, including the Edinburgh ‘Fringe’, Celtic Connections and the Glasgow Jazz Festival, and has worked with some of Britain’s most influential contemporary musicians. In 2008 she joined the Scottish Jazz Orchestra as the singer on their Jazz Toons tour.
After working hard as a full-time professional singer for some years, Maureen has a strong desire to expand her knowledge of music and develop her creativity as a singer/songwriter. She has been awarded a partial scholarship to study for a Diploma in Professional Performance at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston.
How the Award Helped
The Dewar Arts Award will provide financial assistance to enable her to take up this fantastic opportunity.
In 2008, Maureen once more was selected for the semi-final of the Montreux Jazz Festival, Shure Vocal Competition, in Switzerland. She is the only UK entrant to make the final 12 worldwide. The president of the jury this year is jazz/soul legend Patti Austin.
Since the Award
Maureen made the most of her opportunities while at Berklee, graduating with top honours (Summa Cum Laude) majoring in song-writing. Her tutors at Berklee have tipped her as the one who will make it. Maureen was invited to sing during the Commencement Ceremony of her graduation. Afterwards Barbra Streisand, no less, came back stage to congratulate her and encourage her to continue singing. Maureen has gained an internship with the world-famous Warner/Chappell house in Nashville which has some major names on its label. Maureen writes, "Sometimes it is hard to put into words how much this experience has completely changed my musical horizons and perspectives. Doors are opening up for me now that I could never have imagined..I have only positive things to say about the Dewar Awards who believed in me from start to finish and allowed me to follow my dreams."