We are excited to announce the three artists who have made it through the latest round of our mjf hothouse programme.

Natalie Blooms, Jemma Freese and Helen Pillinger have all secured places on the scheme, which helps musicians develop as artists.

mjf hothouse is all about working with artists on an individual basis to understand what barriers they need to overcome in their professional development to get them to the next stage of their career.

The scheme, which is free to access, offers eight weeks of industry mentoring, paid rehearsal time, bespoke workshops and a performance workshop where participants gain industry feedback for the work they present, whatever it stage it’s at.

Here’s a little more about the artists we have chosen for this round…

Natalie Blooms is a singer, songwriter and original artist, specialising in gospel, soul, jazz, folk, and pop.
Nat’s inspiration is to write and perform songs that convey her everyday discoveries and experiences through life and to grow as a person. She describes herself as creative, innovative, fresh and raw.
Natalie delivers this through her songwriting and by collaborating with some of the most exciting musicians on the scene.


Jemma Freese is a keyboardist, vocalist, composer and lyricist based in Leeds. She is involved in several projects including freese trio, J Frisco, DOMI and JOULE.
Performance highlights include a headline slot at Vortex Jazz Club, and performing at jazz festivals in Lancaster, Marsden, Gateshead, Manchester, Preston and Ribble Valley. She was awarded the Jazz North Introduces award 2017-2018.
Jemma has an passion for creating darkness in the music she creates, whether in its harmony, arrangement, melody or lyrics.


Helen Pillinger is a Manchester-based saxophonist specialising in tenor and alto. Born into a musical family, Helen did not take up music until her early twenties. After establishing herself as a player, she soon secured places studying at Leeds College of Music and then Salford University.
Helen has played with bands such as the Hilary Step Saxophone Quartet, M6, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and the piano and saxophone duo Counterpoint. Helen also works as an instrumental teacher in schools across Greater Manchester.
More recently Helen has been studying Dalcroze at the RNCM.



mjf hothouse is supported by Help Musicians UK, Arts Council England and PRS for Music Foundation.

Applications for the next round of mjf hothouse will open in early 2019.