Riti Walia receives first Popular Music scholarship

First year Indian student Riti Walia has been awarded the RNCM’s first Popular Music scholarship, sponsored by The Holroyd Foundation.

Covering tuition fees for the full four-year undergraduate course, the scholarship enabled Riti to accept her place on the Popular Music programme, and will allow her to travel to and from India during the holiday periods.

Riti’s ‘outstanding’ talent was recognised by Andy Stott, Head of Popular Music (pictured above right with Riti and Bill Holroyd), from her audition videos. In a Skype interview from India, Riti proceeded to give ‘one of the most intelligent, articulate and convincing interviews’ Andy has witnessed.

Riti – who names Jessie J, Christina Aguilera and Beyoncé as musical inspirations – was delighted to begin her studies at the RNCM last month: ‘Where I’m from in India, in Delhi, there isn’t the option of studying an undergraduate course in western music. Getting the scholarship has given me the opportunity to study what I want… it’s changed my life,’ she said.

Riti also spoke of her dreams for the future: ‘I want to be a singer and once I graduate I’m still pretty sure I’ll want to be a singer. But the RNCM will open up other options as well… I might want to manage an artist or have a label or do something else in the music industry. There are different opportunities to explore and I’m excited to see where my studies will lead.’

Andy spoke of what the new scholarship means for the RNCM: ‘Being the first scholarship for the Popular Music school, it’s testament to how far we’ve come with the programme,’ he said. ‘This is our tenth year of doing popular music at the RNCM and I can say with confidence that we have one of the best programmes in the world. We’re attracting the best students globally and Riti’s a great example of that.’

Bill Holroyd, one of Britain’s most prominent philanthropists and Chairman of charity OnSide Youth Zones, explained his decision to specifically sponsor a popular music scholarship: ‘My children are mad on pop music, non-stop fanatical,’ he said. ‘The house is full of music and my son works in the industry. We listen to a little bit of classical music, we go to the opera occasionally, we go to the ballet occasionally, but pop is much more prevalent [in our lives].’

Bill also discussed the fulfilment he experiences when helping others: ‘In my life a few people along the way have given me a helping hand, so it’s a delight to return the favour… Riti is a massively talented singer and I’m sure she’ll make the most of her time in Manchester,’ he said.

The RNCM is seeking to expand the number of scholarships on offer to popular music students. We currently award over £1 million in scholarships and bursaries each year to over 100 students, but we are only able to meet around a third of the demand. Our aim is to ensure all students in need can access financial support. If you are interested in transforming the life of a young person please contact [email protected]

18 October 2017