A Music Career Starts at DIME!

Music Career Starts at DIME header

James Ashbury knows first hand what it’s like to turn a commercial music degree into a successful career. James was a student at Kevin Nixon and Sarah Clayman’s school in England (before they set up DIME Detroit). James studied Commercial Music Performance – Guitar and instantly made connections with other musicians:

“Day one I met Siddy Bennett, in our Live Performance Workshop class and instantly we started writing songs and performing together. We started a band with a couple of other students and off we went!”

The Siddy Bennett band went on to gain a big following in Bristol (UK) and they played all of the major festivals in England, including Glastonbury, Secret Garden Party and more.

James continued working with Siddy, writing songs and performing all over the UK and eventually formed a folk/rock band called Wildflowers. Wildflowers’ fan base started in the southern area of England and grew to be nationwide – even reaching Europe, America and beyond. They released two EP’s: Let it Go and Wild Among the Flowers before their long-awaited debut album On The Inside.


James talks about his experiences with enthusiasm:
“It was such an exciting time, 3 of the songs that me and Siddy wrote in our (very) small apartment at the time managed to get playlisted on Radio 2, which has the most listeners out of all the UK radio stations.”

“The connections that I made during my time at university definitely made all these incredible experiences happen”.

Wildflowers went on to play sold out shows, including a show at Glastonbury Abbey with Robert Plant in front of 16,000 people and a 30-date tour with Brit Award winner and fellow student Tom Odell.

“This was an incredible experience, Robert Plant and Led Zeppelin had always been a big influence on my playing and were one of the main reasons I started learning guitar“

Wildflowers supporting Robert Plant at Wolverhampton Civic Hall

DIME doesn’t just teach you how to be a performing musician; it also encourages you to learn about the music business as a whole. When James wasn’t touring with Wildflowers, he put together two music schools. First a private school called Ashbury Guitar School which managed to get over 100 guitar students. Then a couple of years later he moved to Bristol and started Bristol House of Music which taught over 100 students in disciplines including bass, drums, guitar, vocals, songwriting and recording.

“I quickly learnt that to have a long and sustainable career in the music industry I had to be competent at lots of different things, DIME teaches you not just to play your instrument to a very high standard, but how to earn money from doing this full time. I learnt about the music industry and I was encouraged to become an entrepreneur and once I understood the business and worked hard, everything started coming together very successfully.”

DIME Denver will be starting their programs this Fall (2017) and have 4 year degree programs in partnership with Metro State University focusing on Guitar, Bass, Drums, Vocals, Songwriting or Music Industry Studies.

“I would encourage anyone who has a passion for music and wants to work in the music industry to check out DIME and what it has to offer!”

Come and chat with James, now head of recruitment, at the DIME Denver pop up space where auditions are held every Friday. Call 303.623.1600 or email [email protected]