I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!
Music & Me
July 31, 2018
I’ve decided to start a blog, if that wasn’t obvious... Posting once a week, on song writing, performing, music news, motivation and my own experiences. So, I thought I’d start out by letting you know a little about the person you’ll be taking advice from – if you want to that is.
Before I get started, I just want to say that for my future posts about advice, techniques and tricks I’ve learnt, I am absolutely by no means a professional. To be honest, I don’t think anyone is because when it comes to music it really is down to the individual. What works for me may not work for you – and that’s okay! I just want to put out what I’ve learnt in the hopes that it may inspire you to find your own way.
Now that those ramblings are out of the way, I’ll get started.
What started my passion for music:
If you ask anyone who knows me, they'll agree with an eye-roll that I quite literally never stop singing… I couldn't count the amount of times I've been singing and someone's walked round the corner, giving me an awkward sideways stare and I just slump down into my chair, pretending I wasn't doing anything.
So, it's clear to me that I have always been obsessed with singing. Unfortunately, I couldn't tell you the exact root of my passion, because I've been singing since I can remember. But, I do know where my passion for songwriting originated. When I was around eight or nine, my friend and I were in a "band". We would write songs and sing them to our family, we made album covers - in fact I still have one! And I can still remember the songs we wrote - an earworm I will never be rid of. After one devastatingly and catastrophic (for a nine year old) argument, the band broke up. After that, I would always be writing scraps of verse on whatever I could find, but I couldn't play an instrument, so they stayed floating around in the corners of my mind.
When I started writing, I was writing about love and boys and heartbreak. Let me repeat; I was nine. There was no way I understood any of these things and although it was fun to write about, as I grew up (a little) I began writing about my own experiences and writing songs that actually meant something to me, that were actually real.
After changing my subject matter to things that were important to me, I discovered that writing actually helped me. It was and is an amazing emotional outlet. From then on, I vowed to myself that I wouldn't write about love or heartbreak - because I hadn't experienced it. To this day, I still haven't written about "love" in the romantic sense. Over the years, I have had enough experiences and thoughts to write about that I haven't needed to make something up (this isn't me saying that this applies to other songwriters, this is just my take on the matter).
Another thing to know about me is that I have grown up around horses. So, since I was always around horses, I inevitably was very invested in them and for most of my life, they have actually been my "defining quality" per say, rather than music. This wasn't because I didn't love music whilst I was involved with horses, it's just that, like my mum always said, "horseriding isn't a hobby, it's a lifestyle". When I was eleven I became an affiliated showjumper, so my whole life revolved around my ponies. As much as I loved them and the experiences I had, I decided to give up riding when I was fourteen. This was probably the biggest decision of my life so far, because I didn't really know who I was without horses. Everyone said I would regret it, but it was the best thing I ever did. Because it gave me the chance to pursue music.
Following my end to riding, I threw myself into music. I taught myself the guitar, brushed up on my piano skills (I got to grade 2 when I was eight so they weren't great…) and I kept writing and writing and writing. It was at fourteen that I decided that this is what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to write, I wanted my music to help others, like it had helped me and like other music had helped me. Because that's one of the most amazing things about music - it expresses what you can't with words. I know that sounds cliché, but it is absolutely true. So, that's where my passion came from. Music is my best friend and if I can give to someone else what music has given to me, then I'd be complete.
What drives me:
I know I got rather sentimental there for a second. If I'm honest, this probably won't be much lighter!
One thing that I've always loved about my parents is that they have never tried to steer me. They've always given me the freedom to choose what I want to do, they've always supported my dreams and goals - be it three A*'s at A level, champion at Horse of the Year Show or successful singer-songwriter.
My Dad's a motivational speaker, so I could write an entire book filled with inspirational quotes he's put in my head. He's given me the mentality that if you want something enough, you can get it. And I mean literally anything. If I wanted to be an astronaut - I could be. Granted I would have to put a lot of work in, but it's entirely possible. The same goes for music, and any goal - big or small.
This is probably the most significant thing that drives me - the belief that I will get to where I want to be, I just have to keep going. But it will never happen if I don't make it happen. I'm not going to sit in my room with the window open, singing all day long just hoping a talent scout walks by and notices me (but it could happen, so I still leave the window open…). No, one of the mantras I live by is "if opportunity doesn't knock, build a door" (Milton Berle).
What music do I listen to:
Now this is the million dollar question I wish I had the answer to. I listen to pretty much everything - I'm a sucker for the classics like Highway to Hell, but I will also dance around to Phantom of the Opera. One thing I can say about my music taste is that it isn't necessarily "mainstream". If I go to a club, I couldn't tell you a single song they are playing. Suffice it to say I don't keep up with House music. Pop music I like, but I prefer the old pop genre, it's kind of my guilty pleasure - I hate to love it but I can't help it. Another of my favourites is Country. Sometimes I wish I was American so I could sing true Country, because I don't like putting on an American accent when I sing, and I always sound silly singing Country music full-blown British.
As for artists, I am typically drawn to the acoustic types since that's what I do - Ed Sheeran (obviously), James Bay and my biggest inspiration - Passenger. I could sit and listen to his lyrics all day - they are absolutely genius.
I've been delving into more Jazz recently. I feel unbelievably ashamed to admit that a couple years ago I had no idea who the Rat Pack were - or Sinatra for that matter! Now I could have them on repeat all day long.
My biggest piece of advice:
So, I've told you a little bit about my background. As my blog continues, I hope to give you much useful advice. But the one thing I think is most important to remember throughout your entire relationship with music is; make sure it's for you.
I'd be lying if I said I hadn't been a victim to playing music for other people. Be it covers on YouTube, songs at gigs, my own material - but that's not the point of music. Music is a passion and it has to be for you.