‘We couldn’t believe we’d met him’ – Hitchin 10-year-old’s Glastonbury ambition after chance meeting with BRIT Awards winner James Bay

Hitchin Hitmaker James Bay with Finn and Rowan Scourfield at a chance meeting in Oxford,

Hitchin Hitmaker James Bay with Finn and Rowan Scourfield at a chance meeting in Oxford, - Credit: Archant

A talented 10-year-old has set his sights on conquering the music world after a chance meeting with Hitchin hit-maker James Bay.

The Scourfield brothers, Finn, eight, and Rowan, 10, performing in the Seaside Stompers Ceilidh Band

The Scourfield brothers, Finn, eight, and Rowan, 10, performing in the Seaside Stompers Ceilidh Band at the Sidmouth Folk Festival - Credit: Archant

Rowan Scourfield started playing music at the age of six and the Samuel Lucas JMI School pupil loves the piano, drums and guitar.

While visiting family in Oxford, he spotted global success story James outside the city’s 02 Academy and leaped out of the car to try to catch a brief word with the award-winning singer-songwriter.

Rowan told the Comet: “I told James I wanted to be a musician and his advice was to perform at every place I could and not be shy or afraid. He said the best thing to do was to try to perform at bigger venues every time.”

When brother Finn, also a big fan, wanted to meet James as well, the superstar was only too happy to return and to have a chat and a picture with them both.

Rowan performing Nobody to Know at the Songwriter Showcase at the Nobel School in Stevenage in Decem

Rowan performing Nobody to Know at the Songwriter Showcase at the Nobel School in Stevenage in December 2015 - Credit: Archant


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Rowan said: “We couldn’t believe we had met him, he was really nice and we were so pleased.”

After taking the advice to heart, Rowan began impressing teachers and friends with his music and got quite a following in school. Then he decided to start penning his own material. “I thought if I wrote my own songs, I would have more music to play for people,” Rowan said.

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He started performing at his school, for fellow cubs, and even at the famous Sidmouth Folk Festival in Devon where he was joined on stage by his brother.

Rowan has praised his friends for supporting his music, singing his songs and coming to see him when he plays.

“My friends have all been really supportive, they tell me to keep going and to never give up,” said Rowan, who is still a member of his school’s orchestra and choir.

The Year 6 student’s music teacher Nicky Footer also saw his potential, pointing him towards the MusicNet-East online chart for songwriters under 18 in Herts, Cambs and Essex.

His first posted effort, called Nobody To Know, was recorded with guitar teacher Zac Campbell – it soared to number three in the chart and received glowing reviews.

Music is in Rowan’s blood – accountant mum Inga, 44, plays the fiddle and piano and dad Paul, 42, is an acoustic consultant by day and folk musician with ceilidh band Chalktown by night.

When he’s older it’s no surprise that Rowan wants to become a full-time performer, just like his idol, whose latest success saw him perform at the prestigious Grammy Awards on Monday, where he was nominated as best new artist.

Rowan is hoping Finn, who is learning the guitar, piano and melodeon will follow in his footsteps. He said: “Finn is really into music as well, he looks up to me and we enjoy playing together, my favourite thing about music is listening and jamming along.”

When he’s older it’s no surprise that Rockstar Rowan wants to become a full-time performer, just like his idol who performed at the Grammy Awards on Monday where he was also nominated for best new artist.

Rowan even has a head start on James being a year younger than the star was when he first picked up a guitar aged 11.

Rowan’s big ambition is to play at festivals like James who has received rave reviews for his live shows, playing Glastonbury and the V Festival 2015 as well as making his debut across the pond at California’s Coachella festival in April this year.

Back home, Rowan is eager to impress once again with his new song ‘Never Give Up’ which he hopes to record soon. You can listen to his music by going to www.musicnet-east.org.uk/songwriter2015.

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