A FORMER STV newsreader turned singer-songwriter is asking people to get behind her crowdfunding campaign to help bring music to those living on the margins of society.

Jill Brown launched her campaign as she released a new track Every Contact Leaves a Trace, which is also the name she has given to her new initiative.

She wrote the song and recorded it with Lewis Gardiner, who was drummer with Scottish indie band, Prides, before he set up as producer and writer.

It is Brown’s first track in three years and the distinctive title is based on a principle underpinning forensic science.

As Jill Robertson, the East Dunbartonshire-based musician was a familiar face as a roving reporter on the likes of Scottish Action and a presenter on STV news bulletins. She gave up TV to set up her own media company and follow in her family’s musical footsteps as a solo musician.

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Brown has played gigs in places such as King Tut’s and Glasgow’s Clyde Auditorium for the country music festival C2C: Country to Country, but has also played less popular venues, including a series of special gigs in Barlinnie Prison.

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At these concerts, she asked prisoners to join her on stage to duet as well as performing some of their own songs for which she provided backing vocals.

“When I first heard the phrase, ‘every contact leaves a trace’, I thought of the impact people have on our lives for good or ill,” she said. “Sometimes it’s just a smile and a small act of kindness by a stranger that makes all the difference to our day.

“Like many others, I struggle with my mental health and it can feel I’m in a psychological prison from which I’ll never escape.

“I have times of crippling anxiety as well as times of depression and it’s this experience of bleakness and battle that gives me empathy for those society neglects. I’m also a very optimistic and upbeat person though and don’t let difficulties define me.”

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She added: “Suffering is a real leveller. So many people have chaotic lives, have survived trauma and struggle with mental health. So far, I have been funding myself and doing gigs voluntarily but I would really value the support of others to enable me to keep creating what I hope is honest music that really resonates with people. We all have a story to tell and I believe the most powerful story you can tell is your own.

“I hope my music encourages those hanging by a thread to keep going.”

Brown has in the past organised a gig called Soul Food at King Tut’s, where people were asked to buy at least two tickets, with one going to someone who could not afford it. She is planning another Soul Food event this year and is looking for suggestions of unusual venues as she continues her mission to make music accessible to all.

The National: HMP Barlinnie

She has set a target of £5000, which she says will help facilitate the work in prison: “In the past, I have self-funded all the outreach work I have done. If the campaign is successful, it means that I can pursue this valuable work without the financial worry.”

The crowdfunder is here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/every-contact-leaves-a-trace and her music can be found on her artist website http://www.jillbrownmusic.co.uk/