If you have missed the previous editions of this feature, then you can catch up at the links below and then come back to find out what has happened since.
What have you been up to this last month?
I recorded my album! Well, it’s nearly done, but that’s definitely been the focus of this month. Although recording and releasing my second album was a top priority for this year, with all the gigging there really hasn’t been much time or energy left to do this any justice. The summer months, despite the odd festival (played at Cornbury Festival at the beginning of the month, saw Dolly Parton’s sister performing Dolly Parton songs, which was odd…!), are usually a bit quieter, so in my mind I’d reserved it for resting and tackling recording head on.
The project took a complete u-turn when I went down to Middle Farm Studios in Devon for a trial day with producer Peter Miles…and decided to stay for the entire week to get the album done. We’ve finished seven songs (well, nearly finished!), most of them played in live with the amazing musicians Tim and Pat – it’s the first time I got to record live with a band in a beautiful live room (as it should be!) and it was just amazing. I overdubbed vocals and other fun bits and pieces later to take my time with them. It was a really tough week for many different reasons, but ultimately we managed to get so much work done and I can already tell that it’s going to be a definite progression from what I’ve recorded / released previously… so worth all the sweat and tears (literally).
What has been your highlight?
Highlights during the recording process were playing on the piano and drums for ‘Run’ – it was the first track we started working on and the first moment I felt it was happening and the right decision to pursue this. The final day, getting to work with India Borne. Was another definite highlight. It’s so wonderful to work with musicians who can not only realise the ideas you have in your head, but add to them and sprinkle some character and magic onto the songs.
The night prior to my trip to Devon, I played a showcase at the Kings Cross PRS offices. It was a bit of an odd gig for sure, but it went really well and I’m really grateful for the good relationship I have with PRS.
What about a lowlight (if any)?
All the doubting of self and holes one can fall in when trying to capture songs for eternity. I was physically unwell that week, so maybe that added to it, but I had moments of serious despair during the process of recording this album. Even at eight years old, I’ve always been frustrated with myself when I can’t match the potential I have in my head. Everybody probably knows that feeling, so I don’t mind sharing it.
I really should make more time for writing and rehearsing… if I had any spare income I would definitely have both singing and guitar lessons. Not because I don’t think I am good enough, but because I would love to spend more time and focus on making sure I am as good as I can be. I naturally get better by experience (with an average of about 80 gigs per year over the last five years), but I feel I lack a little perspective and focused imporvement. Such is the life of a self-managed singer / songwriter – there are only so many hours in the day and so many pennies in the bank. So, after that rant, there were lowlights (I like that word), but I am confident they were worth it.
Has any new music made a mark on you?
I love that question. YES! Pat, the wonderful musician who played some piano and bass on my record, produced this project – I just love this track:
What’s the plan for the next month?
Finish the album, confirm shows for the end of the year and celebrating The 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ Revolver. I’m putting on a big show at Leaf in Liverpool on Friday 5th and I just can’t wait. It’s my favourite album and I can’t wait to celebrate it. I’m playing through the album together with some of my favourite Liverpool musicians, it’s going to be so much fun. Proceeds go to the amazing charity, In Place of War.