A SINGER-SONGWRITER is setting up Scotland's first record label for ex-offenders.

Jill Brown, who has worked and performed in Glasgow’s Barlinnie Prison over a number of years, completed a series of songwriting workshops in the jail just before lockdown this year.

And this experience sparked the idea to set up Criminal Records.

Jill said: “It’s hard to express how much I enjoy working with guys who end up inside.

"Society writes off and dehumanises prisoners but my experience of working in Barlinnie made me realise that the people there are largely from chaotic and troubled backgrounds.

"There are some really talented people inside who will never be given a chance to leave their old lives and pattern of offending behind, something most are keen to do.

"As a universal language, music is something we all have in common.

"It has taken years for me to find my own voice and I want to use my gifts, abilities and experience to equip and empower others to use and find theirs.

"I aim to offer an alternative to criminality and give people a range of transferable skills and opportunities.”

The label is being launched with the support of American music heavyweight, Eric McLellan, formerly right-hand man to legendary A&R mogul, Seymour Stein, whose signings included Madonna, Talking Heads and The Pretenders.

Eric, who will head up the search for new talent, has expertise in hip-hop, a genre very popular amongst younger prisoners and often their preferred means of musical expression.

Eric has signed highly acclaimed US artists such as rapper Deniro Farrar, the folk rock band, Delta Rae and blues guitar sensation, Samantha Fish.

Eric said: “I’ve known Jill for some time and when she told me about the label I jumped at the chance of being involved.

"Music can be a very self-seeking industry and she’s doing something really distinctive and worthwhile.

"I’m really looking forward to being part of Criminal Record’s vision and discovering talented musicians we can develop.”

Criminal Records will be a social enterprise generating income through training as well as seeking funders.

Jill was a reporter and presenter with Scottish TV before establishing her own communications consultancy in 2007.

Her new venture will offer a range of courses in, for instance, traditional and social media media, as well as teaching presentation and positive personal impact skills.

Workshops will be offered externally as well as to those signed to the label.

Jill’s new track Promised Land is being released to coincide with the launch of the label.

It can be found on Bandcamp, along with the two other songs she has released this year.

All were co-written and produced by Lewis Gardiner, formerly the drummer of the Scottish indie band, ‘Prides.’

Jill is asking people buy to her music on Bandcamp for any amount - all money raised will go towards setting up the enterprise.

Her tracks are also available on Spotify where she is appealing to the public to add the songs to their playlist to give her a platform to talk about the label.