BACK AGAIN! Hello everyone, welcome to my annual round-up blog post.
This year has been one of significant personal and professional growth. The leg-work put in over most of my 20’s is finding it’s way to show me that my energies are going into a good place. It’s a tremendous feeling, but not one to be rested upon; I still know I have many a mountain to climb. The life of a musician is a wild beast which, when you think you finally understand it, finds a way of instantaneously morphing into something altogether more beastly and more complex. This simultaneously delights and terrifies me, but for better for worse, it’s the thing that gets me up in the morning and keeps the fire in my belly!
And so it is to January, where I had the immense privilege of being integrated into the live set up for artist Tom Walker, stepping in for drummer/MD-supreme Ali Thynne. Making new friends, and meeting a new musicians is what I love most about this job, and here I was unbelievably lucky to do just that.
Occasionally a musician will play a gig where the energy from the audience is so utterly powerful that it’s almost tangible. When an artist is right on the brink of mega stardom - there is something really special about the energy both on stage and in the audience. When the two combine at shows like this, it creates moments that get definitively placed in the ‘gigs to remember’ folder. Here’s a clip from the BBC Big Weekender show, where I experienced exactly that.
After a busy January, a long awaited holiday was due. So we trotted off to Brazil for a couple of weeks! It didn’t take an awful lot for me to fall utterly in love with the country - and that’s even before I heard the music there. Rhythms and melodies wound their way round the beautifully dilapidated streets of Rio De Janeiro; we stepped into a postcard in the breathtakingly gorgeous island of Ilha Grande; and tapped out a rhythm with suitcases, dragging them between the deep wedges of cobbled pavements in the candle-lit streets of Paraty. Here I am as I take to the skies above Rio. I wasn’t nervous, promise!
back to the kit
Over to Spring, back from Brazil and reenergised, ready for plenty more music. So a new artist was on the horizon, a brilliant German-Canadian singer by the name of Bülow. I’d heard her music online and found myself to absolutely dig it, so I was really chuffed when the opportunity to play for her arrived. After a whirlwind of rehearsals we headed to the VEVO stage at Brighton’s Great Escape festival.
Concurrent to working with Bülow I’d begun working with another incredible new artist, Astraea, who shortly after featuring on this year’s Barcleycard commercial, was preparing for her debut band show at London’s stunning St Pancras Old Church (a classic venue for launching new artists). Here’s a shot which sums up how completely vibe-y the show was. More new people, more new experiences; truly in my element.
While gigging and rehearsing over the start of the year, I was burning the midnight oil in creating my first solo-events project, ULTIMATUM. This was quite an ambitious feat to say the least…but a few good friends and business partners provided the support to help me actualise it and make it a real thing. Check it out here - bring on the first shows in 2019!
more bloody running
Over the past few years I’ve developed a love for running; so as the summer arrived I couldn’t resist getting stuck in to another running event, this time it was Hackney Half. I managed a time of 1:44; something I’m immensely proud of. Shortly after this brought another show with Tom Walker and the gang. This time is Arras, France - playing to a wonderful, enthusiastic crowd of 20,000. I had to whack extra hard so they could all hear me.
Kew the Music
Another highlight of the Summer’s shows was performing at Kew the Music with the wonderful Jazz Morley, in support of Jooles Holland. It’s a joy and a privilege to perform with such an incredible singer and songwriter - she amazes me every time!
New friends and old
As August came in I was over the moon to be asked to perform with an exiting new artist, Declan J Donnovan, alongside two of my good friends and thoroughly trusted musical colleagues, musical director Mike Park and multi-instrumental machine Scott Nelson. Having worked together on a number of occasions, it was a breeze getting gig-ready with this hugely talented singer songwriter.
What lies ahead
As we loom ever closer to Brexit, what lays ahead for touring musicians remains uncertain. It was for this reason that I decided to launch my own campaign, aimed at raising awareness of this, which I called Keep Music Mobile. I enjoyed speaking with a many musicians, as well as the ever-helpful Musician’s Union on the subject, who have since launched their own pro ease-of-movement campaign. What things will look like this time next year - who knows, but as ardent remainer, I want to do everything I can to stop Brexit completely; at least bringing things back to a People’s Vote. Here’s a shot from London’s People’s Vote march in November, where 700,000 people turned out. Can they afford to be ignored?
2019 and up
2018 was a significant landmark in my life, and it’s left me filled with excitement for next year. I’m finishing this year’s post with a shot taken at the top of the Willis Tower, Chicago - where my Uncle and I, as big fans of all things U.S, went for a trip a few weeks back. I wasn’t nervous at all, I SWEAR!!