Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Me my passion and my blog!

Hi there friends, musicians and music lovers,

This is my first post to you guys and i am very excited about this blog! I can’t wait to get to work, show you all my ideas and hopefully get some feedback. I would love to get you guys involved too. I need a musical army, some saviours of music! Our aim is to help keep music live, support each other and do our best to help promote all the unsigned artists out there as well as giving recognition to all those business's out there that are hiring real musicians and putting on live music events. I aim to go round the streets of London interviewing buskers promoting any material they have and hearing their stories. I will also be reviewing gigs around london and visiting different open mic nights to hear the raw talent out there on the streets and in the bars of London. Trust me, there’s a lot out there!

A bit about me: I am currently living in London as a student at the wonderful BIMM London where I study popular music performance vocals. I have experience of performing in a band and feel most comfortable with a mic in my hand, belting out some rock vocals. I enjoy a wide range of genres and artists, but my main passion is rock/indie music. You can never go wrong with some good old blues and I can sometimes be partial to the beautiful lyrics and melodies good old country brings us.

The bright lights of London have been like a mecca for many musicians and creative individuals for a long time now. In recent years, however, this seems to be changing and there seems to be a lot of negativity surrounding life as a musician in London. A recent article spoke about the hardships musicians face trying to make it in London and how many are now being tempted to move to other cities, Berlin being a popular choice. Americans went to follow their dreams in New York City and the Irish, English and Scottish came to London. We should be very concerned that this soon could be a thing of the past!

Over the last 20 years more and more recording studios and live music venues are closing down. We now live in the digital age which has made the world seem like a lot smaller place, and although there are positives to take from this such as helping musicians get their stuff out there, it has also taken away a lot of the magic of music in my eyes and bad comes along with the good too. I find it so sad that famous places such as Olympic Studios, where Jimi Hendrix recorded Purple Haze; Hammersmith studios, where Phil Collins recorded his famous drum track for In The Air tonight; Wessex Sound Studios, where the production for the Clash’s London Calling took place (to name a few) have all closed down and been sold on to residential companies. This is in part due to skyrocketing property prices that studios such as these could not compete with and ironically, no musician before hitting the big time could ever afford to buy or rent! These places being built on are rock and roll heritage sites. Furthermore, with people being able to record on a decent laptop with some professional tools, a decent mic and monitor this is not going to stop. Now I am not against people learning to record their own stuff and I am certainly not against technological advances, but I do not want it to end up being the only way to record. I believe this is taking the fun and magic out of recording songs and albums and becoming more like a job than a passion for people. I would just like to take a moment to thank the people who worked to make Abbey Road a grade II listed building. I’m so glad we have that to hold on too in a time of increasing silence for London recording studios.

Now to everyone reading this that thinks we have got to move with the times and don't see why you should have to spend money on studio time when recording at home can be just as good, I want you to do a little research into or even better watch the documentary Muscle Shoals. This special place is just one of my favourite examples. Muscle Shoals was a tiny town in Alabama, there were no recording studios there, the closest ones being in Memphis and Nashville. A farmer called Rick Hall had a passion and decided he was going to open one and build his empire in muscle shoals. In 1967 Aretha Franklin being at a cross roads in her career travelled to muscle shoals and ended up recording the most famous song of her career, I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You). What made this track even more special was that the soulful backing vocals were sang by a white country boy band (when boybands were super cool). Now at this point in time white and black people singing on the same track in a place like Alabama was unheard of. This caused a lot of racial tension and Aretha Franklin, who got caught up in this, left with her hit song and never returned to Muscle Shoals. This tiny town and the Fame recording studios Rick Hall built was not only creating its own sound, it was building bridges between races and going against the norm. Musicians from all over the world including The Rolling Stones, U2 and Rod Stewart began to travel to Muscle Shoals wanting this sound saying it was like a magnet drawing them to it. Any artist that recorded in that place said you could feel the energy as soon as you entered; it was an enigma. Now people say that if you go down to the river at Muscle Shoals, known as the singing river, you can hear the river humming. Its magic is said to have come from past tribes who lived there. Now, who would not want to go and record their music in a place like this rather than at home sat in front of a laptop?! I know this is not the case for all studios, and that not everyone has a magical experience because they go to the studio but it’s about the excitement of being in a place with like-minded people, recording what could be your next hit. It’s a time to bond with your bandmates even if arguments out of passion happen, it’s about spending hours going over the same parts until you finally get that right sound and get that correct recording,  the one that gives you chills, and you can all celebrate together. It’s the feeling of standing in a room where one of your heroes was recorded singing into the mic. Its about more than just music, its life, its passion, its about standing together as one about not letting rich men in suits take all our recording studios and close down our music venues. I feel like painting my face and shouting freedom after writing that!

Back to me and my blog, I want to create a buzz about London again and I want musicians and promoters to start taking a stand, showing people that London still is the place to come and follow your dreams. That it’s not all about struggling as a musician, that there are fun times too with talented people working hard and not giving up on their dreams. Yeah, we are living in a celebrity, talent show driven world now and money does talk but so do numbers and passion. If we all help support each other; the people and the venues out there that are paying to put live music acts on, to arrange open mic nights, to busk on the streets and doing cover gigs to fund their own music project. Let’s promote this, let’s remind people and each other why we choose the hard life as a musician rather than having the nice car and the big house. But let’s also make sure that one day, when we have made it, we can have all this too, hopefully writing a few great songs about how we achieved it, and of course have fun along the way.

Looking back in History forty years ago, half a million people came together as one for Woodstock with no social media leading them, it was just the right time. It was historic and will never be forgotten. Again, 20 years later a quarter of a million people went to see a council estate band called Oasis at Knebworth. These were special times and I don't feel like those gatherings with the same feeling are happening anymore. Hey, times change but what I am worried about is what’s going to be happening in another 20 years time from now. We have to ask ourselves will rock and roll be dead? Will it survive ? Well, me and my little blog are going to take on the world and make sure it doesn't die.

Now that’s enough of me ranting, ha. Over the next few weeks I’ll be going round talking to buskers finding out what they are writing and doing, heading to open mic nights and hopefully reviewing lots of bands and solo artists. I am looking for people to help in anyway I can. I’ve had an amazing response from photographers and various creative individuals offering their help already. Please follow and subscribe to my blog if you like what I am doing and want to support me. All my contact info is on here, feel free to drop me a message if you are interested in being reviewed or have got any nights or events you would like me to come along to, please please message me.

Don’t forget to leave me some comments too.

Thanks for reading guys and rock on!

3 comments:

  1. Great write-up - Dublin Castle jam nights are always a blast. If you enjoyed this one I also hugely recommend the night that runs at Roadtrip and the Workshop in Shoreditch every Monday evening, similar community-spirited vibe of assorted jamming and talented solo acts. For something a bit quieter too, the Hideaway in Tufnell Park's definitely the best night going for chilled acoustic acts who are looking for a super-attentive and respectful audience. That one runs every Wednesday plus an all-dayer on Sundays, they have a jazz jam night on Thursdays too.
    Great stuff here, will keep following! :-)

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  2. Sorry just seeing your comments , thanks for all the information its a great help , hoping to check out the Hideaway soon sounds great. Thanks

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