Monday, 30 July 2018

Single Review:Robbie Zereka-'Favourite Feelings'


Robbie Zereka is one of six children from a loud, rural Irish family, currently living and studying in London. Although he sang in the local choir from an early age, he struggled with his confidence until secondary school, where he auditioned for the school musical after encouragement from his music teacher.

During this time Robbie became close friends with another cast member, who sadly, later on, took his own life. Robbie says "It really forced me to think hard about depression and how people bottle things up. I owe that experience for teaching me to vocalise my feelings. I wrote my first song about him". That experience helped shape Robbie as an artist and influenced his approach to lyricism. Further influences were fellow singer-songwriters such as KT Tunstall and John Grant. Robbie appreciated their honest and fierce approach to songwriting.
Robbie has been performing now for a number of years his first performance in his current style was at The Stage Door in Waterloo for an open mic night back in 2011. Now as he gears up for his headline slot at the Hospital Club Covent garden on the 8th August, I check out his debut single 'Favourite Feelings'.

ReviewAfter talking to Robbie briefly I was excited to hear his debut single , he has a passion for songwriting and writes lyrics that mean something to him personally. This is an honorable style of writing as you really put yourself out there as an artist which puts you in a vulnerable position. However, this often leads to the best results with the listener being able to relate and connect to the music personally. When I listened to 'Favorite Feelings' I certainly wasn't disappointed. Robbie wrote Favourite Feelings to help a friend who is suffering from anxiety and depression. The song is basically his way of trying to offer comfort and reassurance and saying that we all want to be happy but it’s not always that easy.

Favorite feelings is a strong debut single from Robbie who wrote the track in London and recorded it with Jack Parry in his Fulham studio (Jack is a producer as well as Robbie's guitarist). Robbie is an alt-rock artist but 'Favorite Feelings' is full of funk too with a strong bassline in the intro. Its an intriguing intro and the bassline stays strong throughout the track.
Robbie's vocals are strong and simple in the track the main focus being on the lyrics and the meaning behind the song. The song also features some beautiful female backing vocals which add to the depth and sincerity of the track. The track flows great and Robbie uses the question  "what is my favorite feeling?" as a clever hook line throughout the song. This really catches the ear of the listener and leaves you asking yourself what is mine?

The chorus is also extremely catchy and seems to explain the broader meaning of the song. I found that every time I listened to the track I understood it a bit more and was soon singing along. The song is very empowering and all about pushing through the hard times and carrying on. I felt Robbie wrote the lyrics then built the song around them which is not always an easy task. Favorite feelings is a strong personal piece from Robbie and a great debut single. It is relatable, simple but very memorable and I can't wait to hear more from Robbie in the future.

Robbie's single launch is at the Hospital Club, Covent Garden on Wednesday 8th of August. With the background to the song, it felt right for Robbie to align with the mental health charity, SANE, to use the event to raise awareness of the issue. As well as combating stigma, SANE is a leading force in mental health research and they offer direct and vital support and advice on treatment through their helpline and website.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Verity White- 'Breaking out' Album Review

Well what a interesting rocktronic (yes its a thing) masterpiece breaking out  is. Verity collaborates with her husband Alex on the album and it really is a match made in musical heaven. With verity focusing on the vocals and lyrics for the album and Alex working on the production the finished project is the exciting album Breaking out.

The first track and album title 'Breaking out' sets the tone for the rest of the album which is empowerment, attitude and a sprinkle of sass. Verity's strong raspy vocals are very empowering and her sound really draws you in. The mixture of Verity's powerful rock vocals featured in songs like 'Breaking out' and 'I don't care' against Verity's haunting classical angelic vocals in songs such as 'exhale' and 'Zeroes and ones' is not a combination you often come across in music. This shows real talent and also shows Verity is not afraid to stand out and try something abit more daring with her music.

Breaking out really has something for everyone and would appeal to a wide range of genres. However there is definitely a progressive rock influence and I love the sound produced when rock music is combined with a classical sound.

Breaking out is definitely a singing into your brush in your bedroom album, whilst air grabing and doing some air guitar of course. It is an album you could listen to on repeat on a road trip and never get bored. It is a album you could never get tired of and discover something new everytime you listen to it. Verity should be very proud of this achievement, the album is strong both musically and lyrically and her vocals are powerful and endearing.

Below I have featured a short interview with Verity to get to know the crazy cat lover behind the album. I also had the pleasure of watching Verity live in London on her recent tour promoting the album and I would highly recommend going to one of her gigs. There was lots of giggles and dancing and great music... a perfect gig night. Her next gig in London is on the 30th March at 93 Fleet street, East London and you can email verity directly for tickets. Hopefully see some of you guys there!


Remember its so important to support live music venues and live artists!

Verity White interview 2018

Hi verity, great fun watching you and the band perform, so how long have you been together?

I actually only made the leap to start releasing my own music about 18 months ago! Until that point i did not have the confidence to put anything out there, but when i came back from a tour of Europe as a backing singer in the band Pendragon, people started asking if they could buy MY music - I never thought anyone would be interested before! Alex and I had a chat and decided that we’d work together on my first release (Parentheses) and it went from there. He writes the basic structure and then I work on lyrics and melodies and we finally record it all and then add incidental parts. The boys in the band only came along in November when I started to focus on getting gigs as Alex plays all instruments on the releases (yeah, he’s one of those annoying people!)  

When did you first start singing and writing music ? Did anyone in particular inspire you?

 I’ve sung since forever, my folks regularly tell me that I’ve always been loud and wanted to be Centre of Attention! I started learning guitar at age 9 and writing songs at 11. I even had a recording studio trip for my 16th with my Dad who got his band to come and play some extra parts for me, I think I still have that on cassette somewhere! My parents inspired me really as they were in a function band and I loved listening to them rehearse, I remember also listening to Fleetwood Mac and Aretha Franklin and just thinking - YES - this is what I want!

What genre would you class yourself as?

Oh MAN! I find this so hard... I’ve taken to saying RockTronica as it’s a combo of rock and electronic music is most of the songs.

What's your favourite type of venues to perform in ? 

Small fun ones where I can get a great sound and good energy from the audience!

Most memorable experience performing? 

We supported Pendragon on their European dates last year. I walked out to a sold out gig in Holland, about 1000 people and introduced myself to a massive cheer, I then introduced Alex to another cheer and told them he was my husband - that got a massive BOO! So funny! 

Highlight of career so far ?

Probably actually just completing my very first tour and making it a success! That was such a sink or swim moment for me and I never knew how it would go!

Future plans ?

Loads more gigs, music and happiness!

Where would you like to be at the end of this year what's the dream ?

Ideally with some festival dates under my belt and a bigger fan base than I started with! Obviously music full time is the dream so however that can happen I will try!!

Do you have certain techniques when writing songs ? 

Alex and I work separately on them actually, he works up structures and I then work on the lyrics and melody and then we come together to finish them off. As my confidence grows I’ve taken to writing a bit more with my guitar, which is fun, and we're working some of those into songs for he new album too.

Is there a theme for your album ?

Breaking Out is a very real account of overcoming my personal demons that hold me back.

Best thing about touring ?

Friendly times and fun!!

Biggest diva in the band ?

Definitely Alex - he’s the only one of us who can’t live without a proper bed and a hairdryer!!

Funniest person in the band?

That’s so hard! Everyone is SO funny which is why it’s so much fun touring! Though I think I have to say Mac (drummer) as he comes out with some classics!

Funniest moment on stage on your recent tour ?

Evil Death unicorn! I’m just gonna leave that there with no other explanation.

Any band secrets ?

If I told you they wouldn’t be secret ;) 


Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Martyn Peters- 'Veins' Review!

Martyn Peters is a singer songwriter from North Wales whose passion and love of Music has brought him to London. He is currently gigging around various venues in London promoting his first solo album Veins.

Martyn is abit of a one man band providing all the lead and backing vocals on the album and playing the guitar, organ, piano,bass and even the percussion on his the track Once (show off ha). There are 10 tracks on his debut album and the overall theme seems to be one of  love and relationships. Veins to me is like a great novel using music and intelligent lyrics to tell a story. Martyn's writing style flows beautifully and from start to finish his tracks take you on a bitter sweet journey, with each track creating a different mood. Interestingly Martyn told me how three of his tracks on the album are actually linked, something he didn't intentionally do at first. The first track of the three Drowning is describing an end to a relationship, the following track Sunday prelude is a instrumental piece about the moments just after it ends and Sunday is about moving on and pretending you are ok when really you are still hurting. These are definitely my favourite tracks on the album the power and pain of Drowning can be heard in Martyn's deeper powerful vocals. The songs seem to be a turning point for the more serious part of the album, and I feel the relationships Martyn writes about on the album change more from friendships to lovers from the song Drowning onwards. 

Sunday is a magnificent track and I can't help but imagine what a great Movie soundtrack it would make, I can just picture the ending scene of a great Rom com movie with this track on in the background and the credits start to role, leaving you feeling calm and warm inside. These three songs are not the only thing linked on the album. The title track of the album "veins" is taken from the line in the song This City 'Like blood we flow through the veins of this city'. Which in turn is reflected in the street map imposed on Martyn's face for the album cover. The album for me shows off Martyn's story telling talents which makes you connect with the songs on a deeper level and I think people will be able to relate to Veins on a personal level. Martyn has a great way of building a song up to a powerful ending which leaves you intrigued when listening to all ten tracks on the album. This is a very exciting debut album from Martyn and he definitely has a raw talent and a lot of dedication to his music.

I am looking forward to hearing more from Martyn and catching him live in some cool music venues around London. Unsigned artists like Martyn are really what the music industry today should be about. He is hardworking, talented and original.

Useful Links:

'Veins' out now and available on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Support live music and unsigned artists and make sure you give this album a listen.


Friday, 8 December 2017

Acoustic Superboy Fraser Morgan!

Hi Friends,

This weeks blog is a little early Christmas present for you all and the stocking filler is Fraser Morgan. I first met Fraser when I watched him perform at The Redrock Jam open mic night. As soon as Fraser got up on the stage you could see he was a cheeky chappy with a big smile for the audience and amazing stage presence. His set made the crowd laugh, dance and singalong just the right mixture for a gig. Fraser has a very clever songwriting style, he is a story teller and uses lyrics people can relate to. He touches on a wide range of issues in his songs from romance, loss and being a superhero in a Tesco's carrier bag ha.
Another thing that made Fraser stand out to me was the continued hard work he put in after his performance. He made sure he had  time to go around around and talk to everyone after the gig getting feedback and promoting his music. Fraser is someone I would love people to get behind and he is exactly what my blog is about! A talented unsigned musician working hard in London to make it and get his music out there. London is a great place for a musician to be, but it comes with hard times too particularly cost of living and funding yourself as an unsigned artist. However with determination, hardwork and bit of support  I believe London is still a city an artist can come and make it. I have included an interview with Fraser in this blog and I hope after reading it some of you will support Fraser on his journey and check out his music for yourselves.

Hey Fraser so I seen you perform at the Dublin Castle , You were great, very confident and had incredible stage presence. How long have you been doing open mic nights for?

Oh, thank you so much! Yeah I'm really comfortable with playing live, its my favourite aspect of being a musician. So, my first open mic I ever did, which was also my first ever gig, was on January 22nd 2014, in a rough, shabby little pub in my hometown Braintree Essex.

What age have you been playing guitar since?

I actually didn't pick up a guitar until I was 15 years old! I didn't actually mean to get into music, but after my first gig I discovered this whole new level of euphoria, and from then I was addicted to gigging.

Gigging is pretty addictive. So when did you write your first song ? and what was it about ?

So, I've always written poetry, I remember writing and loving it from around 7/8 years old, it was nothing major, but i knew it made me happy. The first song i wrote myself was a few months after i picked up a guitar. My uncle had passed away about 2 years beforehand but he was my role model, so his passing really shook the ground beneath me , so the first song i wrote was actually about him. I still have the piece of paper i wrote it on till this day.

So Who are your influences? What made you want to pick up that guitar and sing?

So before 15 years old, I never really listened to music, I'd listen to what ever my mum would play and then i listen to the radio, but the first time i heard guitar was by the man himself ; Ed Sheeran. But what drew me in to him wasn't the usual "I want to be him" it was " I have a lot to say, if he can do it with just a guitar,then so can I. " Before that, I though you had to be in bands to express yourself, so hearing someone with just a guitar, expressing themselves, really appealed to me, and even more so really inspired me.
I'd say what really expires me musically these days would be predominately Jamie T and The 1975; it's all very honest music. However when it comes to my rap side , it's Eminem. He was actually the first artist i listened to off my own back. I was 8 years old when my mum brought me Curtain Call for Christmas. Mockingbird was the first song i ever learnt all the words to.

Can you remember that moment when you thought, That's it I want to be a musician?

So going on from my point in my second answer, I remember the exact moment I wanted to be a musician. So the first gig I played was in a pub, to a small (disinterested) crowd. But after I finished my set, they actually asked for more! And I thought "man... this feels pretty good you know". Then came the next day. It was 9am, I was sat in my Philosophy lesson just feeling unfulfilled and empty, and I couldn't work out what it was... and then it clicked; I wanted to be a musician. I knew for a fact that that would be the only thing in life that would ever bring me true happiness ever again. So I did just that.

Do you have a certain routine when it comes to writing songs ?

Asking someone if they have a song writing routine is like asking someone to predict British weather; it's unpredictable. For me at least. I mean, sometimes I'll just be having a bash on my guitar strings and I'll just start writing words over the top, but 85-90% of the time I'll either 1) Have an idea for a song 2) Something inspired me or 3) I'll just have a random like or 2 come into my head. However, no matter where the idea/song started, it'll always start with me writing this idea into my notes on my phone, and then slowly progressing and working at it. Some songs take a month or two of coming back to it and adding a little bit every time, and then others will be written and finished in under an hour.

Are you doing gigs as well as open mic nights?

 I'm doing the whole shebang! From open mics, to busking, parties, pubs, restaurants and even weddings. I don't care what it is or where it is, give me my guitar and I'll perform; I just really, really love performing.

What made you want to come and live in London ?

So, I was going to go to Brighton BIMM so I could pursue my music in Brighton, however I was speaking to my friend who was the A & R  guy for the High Time (he discovered and signed The Hunna and Coasts, so i trust his word) and he told me that if I wanna go somewhere to and pursue my music, London is the place. It's where all the big guys from companies go and there's always something going on! I didn't actually come to BIMM for the degree, I've told them this. I never panned to go to uni, and I accidentally passed college, but I wanted to live in London, so I thought I'd apply for uni and use my student loan to live and gig in London. Despite a degree not being my aim, that doesn't mean I'm not going to try, I mean, I'm lucky I have the opportunity to go to uni. But I'm here for music; I'm here for business. I'm here to show people why they need my music in their life, and if I get a degree then that's just a bonus.

 What do you find the hardest part about being a musician?

Being a musician... is the hardest part about a musician. Especially if you're unsigned. Because you don't turn off. You do everything yourself. From arranging gigs, talking money, planning journeys, managing all your social medias, setting up campaigns, arrange promotion. Then that's not including the performing itself, writing the songs, practising, recording; there's just so many aspects to being a musician. And if you're like me, I never leave the mindset of "Fraser Morgan The Artist". Whether I'm at work, at uni, in the street or at the pub with my mates, I never turn off. I'm always thinking music and always carrying business cards, because you don't know who knows who, and I've heard many stories of an artist doing something bad to someone and it's been passed down like 10 friends and now those 10 friends have a stained image of that artist, all because they may have caught that artist on a bad day, so I also try to generally stay quite happy and open. I only really turn off when I'm sat at home, in my room, laying on my bed, binge watching Netflix for hours (lately it's been Spongebob.) I'd like to think of myself as a nice, approachable person, because I love people, I think they're awesome. So when I say "turn off" I don't mean I show my real colours and I'm a dick, I mean "turn off" as in I don't have to worry about anything or anyone around me, because I'm the only person who's in my company. So I'd say there's no "one" particularly hard part, it's all hard, but I'm not complaining, I love it, and if I ever obtain a degree of success one day, at least I know I've worked for it, which will help me appreciate it more.

On bit more of a positive note do you have a favourite open mic/gig night?

I have 2 favourite moments: the first one I'm playing a gig to a crowd of literally 2 people. I'm on stage and I'm like "why am I even plugged in and mic'ed up?" So I unplug, hop off the stage and I play "Chasing Cars" this this couple, I'm about 5 feet away from them, and I'm looking at them, they're looking at me, and we're all just singing, and then they just start looking into each others eyes and just hold each other whilst I sing this song to them acoustically, it was really special and really intimate. The second is I'm playing this gig, and there's a huge bunch of squaddies (army guys) in the crowd, so I bust out "The Real Slim Shady" by Eminem, and they're vibing to it, I'm vibing to it, and I'm feeling like a gangster right now, then out of no where this squaddie comes up to me whilst I'm on stage. And at this point I'm like "oh fuck here we go, I'm either gonna get abuse or he's gonna take the mic"... and then he just pulls this jägerbomb out of nowhere and hands it to me, so I'm like “… yeah alright then", I stop playing, mid-song, on stage, shot this jägerbomb, and continue playing again and everyone cheered and went mental. Honestly... I've never felt so cool in all my life.

What have been doing to try and promote yourself and get your music heard?

I'm pretty shit at social media and filming myself, so my best, and favourite, form of promotion for me is... gigging of course! Before and after every gig I go round, talk to loads of people, and just have a laugh, and if anyone wants a CD then awesome, if not then no worries because I've just made a bunch of  awesome friends. And then we get each other on Facebook, then that way I can keep up to date with what my new friends are doing, and being as they're music lovers, I can keep them updated on my music. I'm getting better at social media though, I'm gonna really push some stuff when I release my first single. My EPs sold well, but I didn't promote them really, so imagine what the results would be if I did next time.

Whats your favourite type of venue to play at?

At the minute my favourite type of venues are pubs. I'm a pub guy y'know. I don't drink, but I grew up in pubs literally since birth, my Mum always worked in pubs so I'm used to them. I love them. I love the atmosphere, I love the people, and pub people seem to love my music more than anyone else, so it's a win-win. But I also do love a good birthday/wedding, because, for me anyway, it usually ends with me being sat with some strangers' family at the end of a night, after I've played the gig, round a table, being given food by elderly people and having a drink and laugh with loads of people I don't know. They're always great.

What advice would you give to any other musicians thinking about making the move to London?

My advice to new artists moving to London would be "Get Stuck In." Do everything. Go to every open mic, talk to everyone you meet and play as often as possible. Feeling tired isn't an excuse. Fear isn't an excuse. No matter your mood, no matter your feeling, you go out there and you give it your all. Every. Single. Time. Get out of bed, get changed, and just go, you can sleep later, you can cry later, you can finish that episode later. 2 of my favourite quotes are from Arnold Schwarzenegger, the man who succeeds at everything, and he says 1) "You can't climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets." and 2) Whilst you're sleeping, there's always going to be someone else working harder than you, and getting better than you."

So whats the big plan? What does the future hold for Fraser Morgan?

Good question... i have no idea specifically. But what I do know is that I'm really stepping up my game now. I'm not playing about. I'm writing a lot of songs, a lot of which I'm actually impressed with, and I'm usually my worst critic. There's sad songs, happy songs, angry songs, rappy songs and grimey songs. I've been doing a lot of growing and changing and I've realised a lot. So, I'm just gonna release a bunch of singles, but they're all gonna be different. I'm also looking to put on my first headline show next year in London which is going to be awesome, definitely gonna get some BIMM students to support me because there's so much damn talent here, it's incredible. Other than that; it's just gonna be gigs, gigs, gigs, and a whole lot of happiness and laughter. Basically, just shits 'n' gigs really.


Spotify and itunes: Fraser Morgan

Hey so i seen you perform mic , u were great very confident and incredible stage presence. How long have you been performing at open mic for ?

Friday, 24 November 2017

Common People The Showdown Interview!

Hey guys a few weeks ago i had the pleasure of heading down to one of the Common People open mic nights. The Common People open mic's are spread over 3 venues and i visited the original location Old St Records. It was a great night and the lovely Rosie Hopkins who manages the night agreed to give me a quick interview to fill me in how the night started, further plans and the 1st ever Common People competition The Showdown!

How long has common people open mic been going ?3 years in January

What made you decide to start doing a open mic night ?I was gigging in Venn St Records every Wednesday and chatting to the general manager about how this music venue needed to open a night where anyone could sing. We had been worried about open mic as it can actually be a tricky night to do well. It can be stale, poor in turn out and sometimes it's more of a deterrent for the public to come in. I had been going to Open mic nights for years and thought i know what not to do so I can avoid common mistakes. Also as a musician myself i know how important it is to feel good on stage and have good sound so i said let me run it. And from there its gone from 1 venue to 3 in three years and it's become a really great night!

You are also a musician , are you part of a band?
Yes. I play solo gigs. I am also in a duo called Super Spokes that play different residencies 3 nights a week and then a trio which does events 1 night a week.

How long you been singing and performing?10 years now

Whats your favourite success story from a common people open mic night?It might actually be meeting the two guys who host at two of the venues for me. So Common People is at three venues. I opened each one and therefore had to hand over the night to someone else to run when i went to the next venue. When i met Nic & Joe they were also open mic performers at my night. I thought they were both lovely people (which is think is super important for a host) and they played really well. We did a few sessions on how to use the desk and all the nitty gritty and now they run Venn St Records & Northcote Records for me every week in style! It's so cool that they used to come in to play and now its their job. And they are awesome!

Any favourite moments, performances? Favourite moment... that's so so hard! There have been times when we had a featured act perform and the whole venue has been rammed, not a single free seat in the house and just a buzz in the room where we are all in it together... theres this amazing music for FREE and we are all in a basement in Shoreditch experiencing this beautiful music with the hustle and bustle above us.
There have also been a few times when someone has gotten up on stage and silenced the crowd. One performer called Amy does it every time... she isn't confident, she gets up and you can feel how shy she is... then she slays it. The whole room falls silent and jaws drop, that's special. And i love it when i leave the open mic at 11:30 and there's musicians who met on the night sat outside jamming, i love that!

Why do you think Old St records makes a great venue?When the night is in the basement at Old St the whole night is dedicated to the open mic. It is intimate and fully equipped for live music. Everyone in that room is there for the music, and the respect given to the performers is beautiful. Every seat has a view of the stage, and the vibe in there is very cool but also cosy and just the perfect space to come and try out new music. People who don't play now even come and book a table to watch because its a night with so many amazing performers and you can actually hear them sing! You have to come and feel it... so awesome. I would go as far as to say its the perfect venue for an open mic if you don't want loud and rowdy.

There is a common people open mic competition starting, can you tell us bit of information about that and the idea behind it ?The Showdown! Since the first year of doing Common People i wanted to do a battle of the bands style comp. And now with all three Records venues up and running we thought it would be amazing to make it happen. Nearly 100 people submitted an application to compete, and 45 got through. For three weeks 15 acts will compete and a total of 9 chosen by the judges and 1 by the public will go into the final on Nov 29th. The prize is 3 day in a recording studio and a limited edition vinyl run, plus 2nd and 3rd prizes. It just seems mad not to do it, with so many musicians coming in to our venues each week its an really good chance for people to meet other musicians and to step up their game. And we are utilising all three locations, going between the venues taking our regulars from one space to the other. It's all just going to be a lot of fun with a big party at the end, who doesn't love a good battle hey!

Will the open mic nights take a break over Christmas?
So open mic won't be on at Old St over December sadly due to bookings. But it will be on at the other venues. All dates will be posted online on our FB.

What can we expect in the new year from Common people open mic nights and from you as a musician any big plans ?
In the new year we will be bringing back our featured acts. Every months we ask a musician to feature and do a longer slot. This is on the back burner due to the music competition but that will be back! And myself as a musician... well i often end up forgetting to do my own music as i gig for a living and it sucks up a lot of my time. So i have a deadline from my music managers for getting more material ready. So once xmas is over I'm back to writing and focusing on my own music.

                                         Rosie Hopkins on the right at one of The Showdown Heats!

The Showdown final is on Wednesday the 29th at Old St Records in Shoreditch. If you love live music please go and support this night and venue. A lot of time and organisations goes into events like this and the support is really appreciated. If you are a musician this is a great chance to go down and check out how it all works and next year you could be entering and possibly competing yourselves in the competition (how ace would that be). Furthermore Rosie is a very talented down to earth musician and i am sure she would be happy to give you some great advice and support. In addition to this she is very professional and dedicated and her nights won smoothly and she makes all the acts feel very comfortable.

If you are a musician wanting to play at one of the Common People open mic's or you enjoy live music head down to one of the records venues. The venues are very unique and trendy and the atmosphere is always great. The staff are fun and chatty and very experienced when it comes to cocktail making. The bars have great happy hour offers and the pizzas are yummy (what more could you want). The venues are dedicated to putting on live music acts so check there pages for the latest line ups.

Useful Links

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The unique Guitar Social Open Mic Night!

Not sure where to start really I have so much to say about my experience at this open mic and the night was very close to my heart. One reason being, it was organised by my good friend Thomas who is the founder and director of the fabulous The Guitar Social. Secondly I got to witness the results of some amazing charity work I am hoping to get involved in and hopefully after reading this a few of my lovely readers will want to as well.
First some background information on The Guitar Social company and the concept of it all. The Guitar social was set up by Thomas Binns a guitar teacher who relocated to London from up North, definitely the Norths loss and the Souths gain. The idea behind it was to be able to give group guitar lessons at an affordable price and, well make the experience more social (the clue is in the title). By joining one of The Guitar Social courses not only do you get to have guitar lessons, but hopefully make friends with people with similar interests and get involved in weekly activities and social events. Furthermore to make sure everyone feels comfortable there are different levels of guitar classes ranging from beginners to advanced. On top of all this there are also weekly workshops including jamming sessions, song writing sessions and finger picking lessons. I experienced The Guitar Social community first hand when I joined in 2015 on the beginners course. It was a great experience, I made great friends, started a band, and got to experience camping The Guitar Social Style. To summarise its a great community to get involved in, a lot of hard work and preparation goes into classes, events, workshops and you won't be disappointed if you join.

This Months The Guitar Social open mic took place in the basement room of The Roebuck, Hampstead Heath, which was a really nice intimate space. I arrived early and was surprised at how fast the room started to fill. Soon the corridors were filled with musicians practising for their performances, I thought this was great and made me smile because it reminded me of a scene from one of my favourite films The Commitments (which is a must watch by the way). From the first performance the respect in the room was high everyone was silent and very supportive. The variety was great from Radio One live lounge worthy covers to original classics. Some acts featured songs they had written and worked on in The Guitar Social songwriting workshop which was a great insight into the outcome of taking part in one of these workshops.

One of the many highlights from the night for me was  an instrumental guitar piece performed by William Goodfellow. With the help of his loop pedals he captivated the room and with the silence of the audience it was quite a haunting piece... definitely a hair standing on end moment for me. As much as I love lyrics I do enjoy some instrumental pieces, I find them very raw and they leave little room for mistake so they can put a lot of pressure on a player at times. To hold a crowd and keep them interested when it is just you and your instrument is not an easy task and this is why this performance was one of my highlights. Like many of The Guitar Social performers he finished his performance and left the stage oblivious to how good he actually was. More highlights included a family performance, they were like the Von Trapp family (but way cooler) and we got to witness beautiful harmonies from the brother and sister. The wonderful Eric finished the night off demonstrating his excellent slide skills playing some cool blues on one of his handmade cigar box guitars. I have to add I also won the raffle (proceeds going to the guitar social foundation) and got to take home my very own handmade guitar courtesy of Eric and was even given a quick tutorial by Eric on how to play it.

                           Handmade Cigar box guitar, crafted by Eric @

                                          William performing his instrumental piece 👏

Now I come to the main highlight of the night (and I think everyone that attended would agree), The Guitar Social Foundation performance. The Guitar Social Foundation is a charity ran by The Guitar Social which offers free guitar tuition to those who might benefit from it most but may not be in a position to pay the cost of guitar tuition. This cause is very important to me and I believe music therapy can really change peoples lives and its a career I hope to go into after my studies. Thomas and the team work in a variety of settings with different groups that a third party referrer has suggested may have a need for it. The main aim behind it is social connection and what this can do for peoples health and generally happiness. Being part of a community, having a hobby and having friends around us are sometime things we take for granted, as not everyone has these things. It was a beautiful thing to see this group who have only been learning guitar for 10 weeks have the confidence to get up and perform. Lead by Thomas and with the support of the crowd the groups performance ended in a singalong with the whole room singing together, we had our own Guitar Social choir. The smiles on the faces of the performers said it all, the moment was heart warming and it actually started to feel like Christmas ha!

I am going to be Interviewing Thomas for the blog and hopefully getting lots more info for any of you guys wanting to help or get involved with The Guitar Social Foundation.

Also you can find out information on guitar lessons and joining one of The Guitar Social courses. If you are thinking of learning guitar, improving your skills or just getting involved with a guitar loving community there really is only one place in London and its The Guitar Social.

                                                            Two wonderful performers
                                    Mr Thomas Binns , The Guitar Social founder and teacher!

Useful Links

Further reading and watching 😃

The Commitments movie

Les Paul


Friday, 3 November 2017

She speaks five languages and one of them is definitely music!

Interview with singer songwriter Annie Green:

Hi Annie i seen you perform at a recent open mic night and i thought you were amazing, you have great stage presence and a beautiful voice. Can i ask what age you are and where you are from?

So I am from Bulgaria. Though I have something Greek and Russian from my mother’s side and I speak about 5 languages so I look and sound like nothing 😄 I’m 22.

How long have you been doing the open mic nights for?

I haven’t been doing open mics for long actually. It’s been literally like a couple of weeks. I am trying to do them more regularly so about 4-5 times a week. So I usually go spice of life or the library (the library because it has a nicer vibe), Dublin Castle, the Destiller, King William fourth, Noteworthy or the one in Hideaway on Sunday. I’m still not doing gigs but that is going to change soon.

What genre would you class yourself as ?

I do pop, with occasional pop-rock and hip-hop.

As a singer songwriter do you have a routine when you write your lyrics? do you need to be in a certain place, like somewhere quiet?

I usually either snap and start thinking about a situation (usually on the public transport) then slap me it’s December, or I sit in my room in the quiet and start analysing ‘okay why are you angry/upset/grateful?’, ‘ where does it come from?’, etc. Weird but oh well.

Then everything flows and I just want everything to make sense. And I tend to sometimes use a lot of metaphors.

The rest of the time it’s just literally what you hear is what it is. But I think it’s quite easy to get when am I being descriptive and when am I trying to be Kendrick Lamar with all those metaphors 😄

So when you are songwriting you think of a mixture of things really?

songwriting-wise I would say... I don’t know if you have heard the term emotionally unaware ( I’m really into psychology) but that’s basically whenever you are afraid of emotions and refuse to acknowledge them or recognise them. Songwriting is actually my way of facing the emotion usually. The second song you heard on Tuesday was mine and that was so far the only song I’ve written and I was completely aware how I felt. It’s actually about 3 different people whose selfish need of self-validation annoyed me. All 3 people i wrote about were looking for guys to lead on, use for money and let down, and that’s something I do not approve of. Because who are they to make themselves feel better by using other people for money or by making them feel bad, sad, etc.

Great stuff, i love psychology. 
So even though as musicians we are individuals and tend to have are own writing style, Who are your influences? Who made you want to start singing and writing music?

I properly started singing when I was about 10-11 and I watched High School Musical, beforehand I was doing arts. I Watched High School Musical 29 times exactly 😄 I knew all of the dances and the songs. Then I started sitting and learning the songs and karaoking (it’s a verb now) on them. Then I went from Hannah Montana and Justin bieber, to Tokyo Hotel and Linkin Park, to Eminem, to Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake, Ed Sheeran, Amy Winehouse, Lauryn Hill, Stevie Wonder, Christina Aguilera. So I would say all of them influenced me and developed me music-wise as I went through listening to loads of different styles of music. I still try to listen to everything, I think the only artist I don’t listen to from the above mentioned are Tokyo Hotel and that’s only because I replaced them with slipknot.

So what are your plans for the future? What can we expect in the next 6 months from Annie Green?

I’m currently developing my social media presence. So concentrated over Facebook and Instagram, I used to have a YouTube channel. Mostly it got 12,000 views and then I remembered I needed to graduate so kinda left it for a while. I think if I restarted it now, because it’s been awhile, it would be pretty much like starting from scratch so might as well do Facebook and Instagram for now. At least it makes sense in my head 😄

Thanks a lot for your time Annie I am sure you are going to go far you have the dedication, voice and are really putting the time in. I am sure the gigs will start coming soon.

If you are interested in following Annie's journey and checking out some of her stuff here are some of her links:

Thanks for reading as always guys. Remember you could be reading about the next big superstar on this blog so please keep checking it out. Keep supporting your local live music venues and if you hear something you like share it. It's a tough old world out there sometimes for musicians so a like or a follow and some words of encouragement go along way.

More Interviews this week guys. So like my Facebook page or subscribed to my blog  by email to be the first to know. Peace out.