Making nice work of music careers
A CHANCE meeting at Scunthorpe Job Centre for two job seekers has seen them turn their work-searching woes into a hit – by becoming full-time musicians.
And now they are to launch their debut album in the town which has taken them and their music to heart.
Pete Sowerby, from Belton, and Rhiannon Scutt, of Owston Ferry, had both returned to the area after completing their university studies.
But though Pete had a degree in drama and a masters degree in sports journalism, and Rhiannon had a degree in music technology, neither could find a job.
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In fact, Pete reckons he may have notched up something of a record to his name after applying for 329 jobs without even being offered an interview.
The duo, who had been at South Axholme School together and had both played in the school wind band, met again on the steps of their local job centre after another fruitless search for employment.
Mr Sowerby said: "We both agreed that we had to do something about making a living.
"We decided to team up as a duo and got some gigs performing covers.
"But we both hated that.
"We soon realised that we wanted to write and perform our own songs.
"And that is what we have been doing for the last 12 months."
The duo call themselves Rita Payne and they have begun to make a name for themselves on the acoustic music scene throughout the region.
Mr Sowerby said: "We have in fact played at more than 100 gigs since March.
"It has been busy and hectic, but it is great fun – and more rewarding than looking for jobs that aren't there."
Despite the busy work schedule, they still found time to record their debut album, which will be released this year.
Produced by percussionist Keith Angel with former Kate Rusby Band member Andy Seward on double bass, the album will be introduced to the public at a special show at Doncaster Ukranian Club, where Rita Payne played one of their earliest gigs.
Mr Sowerby said: "We could have gone to one of the big cities around the region for the launch but we wanted to thank local people who have been supportive of us so far."
The show will be staged on Saturday, January 5, when copies of the album will be on sale at half price for those attending.
Also on the bill will be 13 Women, a skiffle group made up of three men.
Rhiannon, who plays guitar and sings, said: "We have really appreciated all the lovely people who have been willing to help us out, not to mention surprised."