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Announcement and Statement from Editor

As of the new year, 2014, all interactive features of CCUK will be removed for good. The contact page, the voting and the comments feature will all disappear. CCUK will become an information reference site - nothing more. We will not accept any more submissions or enquiries. All of the user trophies and 2013's voting will still be included, and the final results from this year will stay on the site permanently.  

The 2013 voting will NOT be affected.

A full statement from the editor regarding this decision is below for all of those interested.

Letter from the editor, Nicola Tilley.

I became interested in Classical Crossover music in 2000 after discovering Sarah Brightman. Within just a few years, I had collected almost every modern classical crossover album that had ever been released in the UK, and bought any new ones as they were released, UK or otherwise. During this time, I signed up to several communities online and became familiar with different fan bases and witnessed what type of artists appeal to what type of audiences. I had unconsciously gathered a massive amount of knowledge of the music, repertoire, artists, markets, and perhaps most importantly, the audience.

The idea to create CCUK came to me out of frustration - the lack of foundation for artists to spring from, the constant misunderstanding in the media and the fickle nature of the major record companies who, instead of nurturing, left massive talents high and dry when they didn't produce a quick buck. Already a member of many online fan communities, my forum posts recommending artists who were not necessarily riding high in the charts went largely ignored. Hoping to attract some casual browsers, I started writing short profiles for different artists, along with a rating system and personal opinions on my online blog.

I approached my then best friend Adam Tilley (who would later become my husband) to create a dedicated website for my profiles and reviews. CCUK began purely as a personal opinion website, but when requests started appearing for profiles (the first ever request was from Lisa Evancho in August 2009 for a little girl named Jackie) and PRs called to have their artists interviewed, CCUK made a slow transition from online blog to promotional site. The profile reviews became more balanced, less personal and put more weight on the artists sound and which audience they were likely to appeal to.

With no training in music or journalism, nor even a remote idea of how much hard work and dedication was required from then on, I went straight in. Any why not? Still living with parents and only with a part time job, I had the money and time to spare. The new (and uncomfortable) experiences piled up and I fumbled my way through them - I was interviewing the famous, attending private shows, invited to red carpet events, award ceremonies, given VIP seats and enjoyed press and album launches. Demo and advanced copies of albums piled high around my desk and my virtual mail box started to fill up to unmanageable proportions. Artists, PRs, songwriters and record companies globally sought out my advice. I suddenly found myself a journalist, socialite, networker, PR, consultant, critic and A&R. As a shy, quiet and introverted person, these roles did not come naturally.

Once one of our profiled indie artists, Jackie Evancho, stepped out onto America's Got Talent, and directed a large proportion of her audience to our site, CCUK's popularity sky rocketed. It quickly snowballed into something bigger than us. In addition to this, Adam and I had become a couple and moved in together, I had got a full time job which was nearly 50 miles away from where I lived. Despite my decreased activity on the site, the requests, enquiries, submissions and visitor traffic only increased. Struggling with all the life changes, the interaction aspect of the site was taken down so I could spend some time to adapt to my sudden lack of free time and thirteen hour working days.

Nine months later, my environmental adaptation somewhat complete, I was missing the site, and the features were reinstated. The site got bigger than it ever had done and the opportunities offered were even more incredible and humbling - in 2013 I had become a member of the Classic Brit Award Academy and invited to interview the biggest name in crossover (which I couldn't go through with). Yet, it didn't take long for me to remember why we had taken the features away. The work was too much, and I felt consistently exhausted and impossibly pressured. After three years of CCUK, I felt, for the first time, a great desire to close the site and just live my life. But my conscience would never allow it. I had e-mails from artists thanking me that such and such found them on CCUK, and this and that gig was given to them because of what I had written. I also wasn't emotionally ready to leave the community, artists and the music. Tired as I was, I was still attached.

Mid 2013 saw more big changes in my personal life (promotion and marriage), and a boost of online CC activity. The personal changes saw the beginning of me emotionally letting go of the site and I stepped back from CC's social media. The online CC activity eased my conscience. The announcement of Classical Crossover International (CCI) seemed to be the perfect opportunity to not only let go, but to pass the reins over without feeling like I'd be letting everyone down. I decided, on CCI's imminent launch, I would publish this statement, as my goodbye to the community, and as a big welcome to CCI.

Being an active editor of CCUK has had great highs, and some lows. I've learned about the music industry, but learned more about human nature. I've learned that there are selfish people and that the industry could be a ruthless place. But my life has been enriched by the majority - the generous, the caring and the supportive. I have never been paid money for the work I perform for the site, but I got the biggest payback from the friends I had made. I treasure the memories I possess; devouring sushi with Hayley, laughing until my stomach hurt over coffee with Thomas and the glorious smell of breakfast in the Lusty household in the early morning. Texting Sisca for hours late in the night, finding a musical taste soul mate in Samantha and being forced into a picture with Annelies and the Tenors of Rock by her mother as I was too shy to do it myself... and being secretly grateful afterwards.

And there's no ignoring the experiences I've had. When I've looked around at a private show, seeing executives, the famous, feeling so out of place but thinking to myself "My god... my writing has got little old me here"... that's no small thing. Crying uncontrollably at Camilla's album launch as she performed "This Woman's Work"; watching and hearing Jackie grow for two years and then seeing her nail it on America's Got Talent - I watched it over and over and cried until there were no tears left; and even gate crashing the stage in front of a thousand people after Lindsey's set, riling the crowd to scream her name louder so we could get another encore. These things stick out in my mind and that's something money can't buy. You get it by working, and I achieved all this simply because I had a passion. It's taught me that I'm good enough, not to be afraid, and that I can do anything that I set my mind to.

So, I want to thank all of you. The artists and the fans who have been nothing but supportive. To the fans, thank you for reading my work, for listening to me, and giving the otherwise unknown artists a chance. To the artists, thank you for believing that I am somebody worth talking to! I feel the time is right to move on, but I have no regrets. I leave you with warm, fuzzy feelings and nothing but fondness. I'm no longer an active editor, but I am always here as a friend.

Before I sign this letter, I want to say a massive thank you to John Harvey. CCUK would have been a (much) lesser place without him. He's the unsung hero of CCUK who demands no acknowledgement, attention or praise. He did work for the site behind the scenes and has been a great supporter of both me and the genre. Thank you for your help, John and an even bigger thank you for your friendship.

My love to you all,
Nicola Tilley
29th September 2013


#35 Peter K Langston 2013-11-03 20:53
Hi Nicola, This site has given me a great introduction to Class Crossover Artist, people who I would otherwise never have heard of, even worse would never have heard sing or play. I will really really miss my time browsing through all the pages, and info which you have provided. I suspect the 'World of Classic Crossover' will be the worse for your leaving.
All the best.
#34 Richard Megowan 2013-10-05 02:22
Thank you Nicola.
You and your site have opened up a new genre of music I would of never looked at. I have found many new artists to appreciate and enjoy because of your site.
Good luck in whatever you do in the future.
#33 Affinití 2013-10-02 21:02
Dear Nicola,
A hard decision for you but understandable. You have worked tirelessly to make CCUK a place for a genre of music that should get more recognition. You have deservedly achieved great things from your dedication to the genre and this fantastic site you built up from nothing. It is with great sorrow we see you depart but with great happiness for the life ahead of you with Adam who must be your absolute rock. Reading your announcement and statement that's so well put together has us quite emotional. Your recent comment on Twitter stating we might possibly be your favourite CC group was just the ultimate compliment for us. So from, Mary, Emer & Aisling of Affinití we wish you a long and happy life with the hope that you will one day see us grow into a worldwide household name. Something you will have been a huge part of. Thank you. xxx
#32 Susan Larsen 2013-10-02 14:28
Having just recently joined the Classical-Cross site I can say that Ive had a fabulous time here! What a great job you both have done ~~so much work and dedication~~ I hope for you both the very best success and good health!! :-)
#31 Elizabeth Fley 2013-10-02 14:03
Nicola and Adam,
I came across your site when searching for Micheal Castaldo and absolutely loved it!! Thank you so much for creating it. We are all very appreciative of your hard work and dedication!! Best wishes to you both! :)
#30 Maria Ann 2013-10-02 12:51
Thank you so much for your dedication and hard work.
#29 Michael A Reardon 2013-10-01 21:56
Hello Nicola, i just like to say thank you for everything you have done to help me,i am a newcomer to the world of Classical Crossover i was sitting down the gate of my work as a security guard fed up with the world of the radio over the years i have been up and down the dial, but in the end the pop world was driving me crazy, then i remembered Bond, watched them on you tube loved it, then i wanted more artists google searched Classical crossover artists then your website came into my life and opened a whole new world for me, i will forever been thankful for that, over the past year i have been able to see Lindsey Sterling in concert and Met the the incredible Keedie and found numerous amount of friends, fans and artists a like,that is down to your website, i respect and understand the reasons you are doing less with the website please let me wish you all the best in the future in everything you do you are so AMAZINGLY BRILLIANT xxx
#28 Françoise Martiré 2013-10-01 18:29
Thank you Nicola for all you have done. I have been very pleased from France to vote for Jackie. Then, I discovered miscellaneous artists and it was so great. By visiting your site my life was changed ! I wish you all the best for your new life with Adam and for your future career. Best regards. Françoise
#27 Quinn Golling 2013-10-01 06:03
If I have not done so yet, allow me to apologize for my frustration with the the interface not working for me as well as I wanted it to.

I lashed out verbally & truly regret doing so.
#26 Peter Tai 2013-09-30 18:21
Hi Nicola,

I stumbled onto CCK last year when I was searching for Jackie Evancho sites. The content on your site was enlightening and informative. Your comments were interesting and well-thought out.

What a run you've had as webmaster, editor, and music industry critic! What experiences! I've enjoyed your perspectives on things and how you've managed CCK (which I'm sure was very challenging, not to mention time-consuming) . I do web site/applicatio n development/sup port so I have an idea.

I hope you will find a way to keep in touch with your fans! While CCK will make way for other sites, I'm sure that folks will really be down if you're going away for good and hope you stay in touch if only on a small scale. Best regards!!
#25 Nidia Ortiz 2013-09-30 17:43
Hi Nicola, Thank you so much for your dedication!!... . like you I have a passion, in my case for an artist and like you, created something that I'm passionate about!!..also learn a lot from you!!....Thanks you for all your help and for everything you have done!!...I was beginning to missed you and now that I know that you will not be part of the CCUK anymore, will missed you even more !! :sad: ...But understand that you need to move on !!!Wishing you the best in your new life and career!!...Send ing you my love!!
#24 Nida Ortiz 2013-09-30 17:38
Hi Nicola, Thank you so much for your dedication!!... . like you I have a passion, in my case for an artist and like you, created something that I'm passionate about!!..also learn a lot from you!!....Thanks you for all your help and for everything you have done!!...I was beginning to missed you and now that I know that you will not be part of the CCUK anymore, will missed you even more !! :sad: ...But understand that you need to move on !!!Wishing you the best in your new life and career!!...Send ing you my love!!
#23 Andrea Claire 2013-09-30 16:10
We have not known you very long but your hard work and values have not gone unnoticed. As a family we cannot thank you enough for what a boost you have given to a young girl just starting out on a dream by simply recognising her and giving her some encouragement to have a go. Through the site we have met some wonderful people and artists on our journey and who knows where it will bring us or what the future holds. It was lovely to meet you and Adam briefly not long ago and hope that maybe our paths will cross again. Take care both of you we wish you a life of happiness. The Quigley family xxx
#22 Sheila Owen 2013-09-30 13:53
Nicola, you created a wonderful resource for Classical-Cross over artists and fans - which brought together a community that would possibly never have 'met' otherwise. Siobhan and her family would like to thank you for all your support and beautiful words which have helped boost her career and increase her fan numbers and album sales. Siobhan is especially proud of her "Storybook Journey" being awarded 2012 CCUK Album of the Year, and of your beautiful commments about it. It was fabulous meeting you in January - we just wish we could have chatted with you for longer. I'm sure you'll still keep an eye on everyone, to see what they are up to, and hopefully we can catch up with you next time we are in the UK (2015) or next March in France ... ;) Thank you also Adam and John for all you have done behind the scenes. Nobody will ever forget what you've done for them Nic. You have a special place in our hearts
#21 edbrooks 2013-09-30 13:15
never voted once because i would have spent all my time voting for everyone. just enjoyed from the first time i found your site.
#20 Bob Scullen 2013-09-30 11:08
Hi Nicola, much of what I wanted to say has already been said. However, I could not pass this opportunity by without saying a massive thankyou from me for all you have done for this Genre and for alerting me to many fantastic artists through CCUK. You will be missed and life will not be the same without you. Best wishes and God Bless x Bob
#19 Grace Bawden 2013-09-30 09:19
Thank you so much Nicola for all your love and support too. I'll never forget the first message you sent me. I was so touched and I thank you for making it possible for me to meet new fans and friends. Blessings always xoxo
#18 shane 2013-09-30 09:03
Nicola,thanks for the great letter.I really enjoyed reading this.I have mentioned privatly to you before how thankful we are to you for giving Toni such a great boost in her career.Without you we would not have made such amazing fan support from all around the world.We would not be in the position we are in now..for that we are very thankful and we cant wait to meet you in person,which I know we will sometime soon!!!. :-)
#17 Michael Powell 2013-09-30 08:52
Nicola, you have done more than anyone to promote the Classical Crossover genre, your site has opened so many eyes and ears to this music which encompasses many different styles and has appeal across the generations. Thank you for all you have done and the untiring dedication you have given to your passion. I wish you and Adam the greatest happiness in your future together.
#16 Charlotte Jayne 2013-09-30 02:22
Thank you, Nicola, for all the love & support you've given to all the CC artists. we sincerely appreciate your hard work and dedication. Best of Luck to you and Adam for a long and happy life together :-) Charlotte

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