Tony Iommi has sold over 70 million albums worldwide as a founding member of Black Sabbath – one of the greatest rock and metal bands of all time. His legacy spans an incredible 50 years and his continued support towards BIMM is an inspiration to our students. With that, there is no one on the planet better suited to unveil our brand new BIMM Birmingham college. Thankfully, he obliged…
The pioneering guitarist toured our brand new £4M state-of-the-art college and was even treated to a live performance workshop by our Songwriting tutor and lead singer of The Whip, Bruce Carter. Tony listened to our inaugural students, while each critiqued one another – a nerve-wracking moment for any aspiring musicians; however, Tony – as he often does – made everyone feel at home.
The tour also took in the impressive drum room, where Tony had a one-to-one meeting with James Atwood, who had been personally selected by the Black Sabbath guitarist to receive a once-in-a-lifetime scholarship bearing his name. Being awarded the prestigious scholarship means that means that James has his course fees covered for the entirety of his degree at BIMM Birmingham.
Speaking after the meeting, an elated James told BIMM:
“It was brilliant; there was a great atmosphere in college. It’s a privilege to receive this Tony Iommi scholarship; he’s a guitar legend. Essentially this bursary will allow me to practice my art and follow my career choice.
“It’s a massive weight off my mind; I can immerse myself in studying for my degree without the worries of paying a loan back when I graduate. Tony was very friendly and asked me about my ambitions. He was interested in what I’ve been doing at BIMM and how I’m progressing. To be recognised for my drive as a musician is an honour.”
As well as the scholarship, we have also awarded three Tony Iommi BIMM Birmingham Bursaries to help prospective students access a £1,500 bursary for their first year of study. Tony’s support of the BIMM scholarship and bursaries scheme is a testament to our close ties with the industry, and a massive honour for all of us.
Following the tour, Tony, who grew up in nearby Handsworth, spoke highly of BIMM and the facilities here, which he believes will help more aspiring musicians release their dream.
“I’d have loved something like BIMM where you get the opportunity to live your dreams. In my day, I had to teach myself, but now with all these facilities you can learn everything you need to know about the business,” he said.
And then the moment we had all been waiting for… Tony was later invited to cut the ribbon in front of an audience of BIMM Birmingham students and tutors by Executive Principal Dara Kilkenny, who also had this to say:
“This building is where so much is going to happen. It’s a creative, exciting music environment, and will go on for a very long time. It will also rejuvenate the area. Tony Iommi is steeped in the history and heritage of this city, and we are thrilled he’s here to share this special occasion with us and to award the Tony Iommi Scholarship.”
Dara then invited James Atwood to come forward to receive his scholarship certificate. Tony then cut the black – very fitting – ribbon and declared BIMM Birmingham officially open. After raucous cheering and applause from the students, we heard some final words of support and encouragement from the man himself…
“You can learn a lot here. Love what you do, stick with it and you will be successful. I want to come back and see how you do. Good luck everyone.”
If you would like to find out more about the courses we offer at BIMM Birmingham and how we can help kickstart your career in music visit our courses page. Or you can visit us at one of our Open Days.