Brought up with a wide range of music and music teachers as parents, it was a natural step for broadcast journalist Elizabeth Alker to get into the industry. Based in Manchester Elizabeth is part of the BBC 6Music team!
What made you be involved as curator for OTR?

It seems like a great platform for new and up and coming artists. I love introducing people to new music. Mostly for me this is via the radio so I’m hugely excited about getting the chance to do this in a live setting.

Manchester has recently been ranked as the ‘best city in the UK for live music’ – how do you think the music movement has changed in Manchester since the early 80’s? 

It’s changing all the time and it’s changed tons since I first started going out to see new music in Manchester in the mid-90’s. Manchester is producing great bands who are making an impact nationally and internationally all the time. I’d say the scene is far more diverse now than when I first started to go out and watch live music. If I think of some of my favourite artists to emerge from Manchester in the last decade; Everything Everything, Connan Mockasin (I know he’s not from here but he based himself here), Jane Weaver, Jennifer Reid, Kiran Leonard, Spring King, they’re all so different. There are lots more women involved in the music scene here now too than ever before.

We also have lots of excellent venues now; The Soup KitchenThe CastleGulliver’s, The Eagle and The Deaf Institute are all charming and atmospheric venues for new and underground bands to play. They also have really brilliant, passionate and switched on promoters.

What do you think people can learn from the OTR conference?

I hope it’s a chance for music fans and people in the music industry to be introduced to some really good new music and that the spotlight will shine on some musicians who deserve to be heard but might not have found a platform like this otherwise.

What advice would you give to bands starting out in the industry? 

Play live as much as you can, have new ideas, be nice to journalists.

 What inspired you to get into the music industry? 

My parents are both music teachers and music lovers. I was brought up with tons of different kinds of music playing in the house all the time so I’ve always been a huge fan of all different kinds of music.

How important is it that new bands are recognised? 

It’s important that people are encouraged to seek out new things and it’s great the an event like OTR might introduce audiences to something they wouldn’t have sought out themselves or that they might be challenged by and stuff that they’ll enjoy too.

What is your favourite music venue in the UK? 

The Albert Hall here in Manchester. The story behind it is just so brilliant. It was an old Methodist chapel but it was completely forgotten about and used as a storage space for a nightclub. The guys who own Trof and The Deaf Institute discovered it and revamped it about 4 years ago. Luckily, most of the original fittings, including the organ, pillars and windows are still in tact.