If you know me personally (or are getting there (or are self employed!!)) you will know just how much work it has taken and how much of a struggle it has been to get to where I am. Self employed people work 24/7/356, and, it's largely unpaid - for the beginning period. That being said; I have hundreds of engaged fans, I've played more gigs than I can (reasonably) count, I've been number 1 in Bristol's folk charts for 5 MONTHS!! And, with the help of producer Robert Weil, I've put together a stellar debut album (Gentle Heart) which I can't wait to share with you, and I planned a 4 month UK headline tour to promote the album and properly establish me and my music. My friend Tracey Bower was inspired by something she saw on the telly about the arts council and prompted me to have a look...6 (utterly boring) weeks later I had managed to put together a proposal for a 'Gentle Heart UK Tour 2016', and submitted the application to Grants For The Arts.
Meanwhile, I wrote songs, continued to travel, worked on the album, created some marketing strategies for the following year, and WOAH, what came through the post? A nice, big, (juicy), envelope!
Yes, they have accepted my application, and are funding my tour next year! Every (serious) musician needs a budget to work with to get out there. There are innumerable costs associated with starting up, releasing, promoting & touring, and to begin with, you haven't got any bloody cash! Now that stop has been removed, the only thing in between reaching my goals is time, and I, can't, WAIT!!
So thank you to the Arts Council and the National Lottery fund, for recognizing a serious, independent musician, and investing in my future, and in the future of the arts of England. This budget is make or break for me, and will be extremely carefully allocated. Now, first things first...anyone for a 1st class holiday in Barbados? (KIDDING!!!) :D
I've been visiting the local scene, here are some pictures of recent gigs & folk clubs! Thanking Nina, Anne Darby, Owly Dave, Martyn Hillstead, The Cornelius's, Folk on the Moor, Teignmouth Folk Club, Teignmouth Blues & Folk Club, Teign House Inn & Kevin Tarbox (bottom right). It's been absolutely wonderful meeting & playing with you all, and it's not over yet! I hope to see you all & more when I come back to Devon on tour next year!
Have you ever spent three solid weeks in a production facility? Knowing that there is at least another 3 to go?!
Apart from slight cabin fever setting in, we are working harder than ever, and having a jolly good time! Among bottomless coffee refills and the occasional whisky for my producer, we now have the bones for 9 tracks out of 10! Grappling with technology, my 'intermediate' guitar skills, and finding out about song arrangement, this is a highly creative time, and a steep learning curve for everyone. I am moved by Roberts (my producers) dedication to quality and consistency, even if that means redoing things we thought we had done already, or trying out new things only to discard them again. It is so important that he is my biggest supporter during this time, and sensitive enough to find ways to convey the meaning and feeling of my songs through instruments I wouldn't have thought of and don't know how to play myself. It is taking shape, and from this point I can already see the basic features of this album - simple, pure, original, unaltered and beautiful. Full of heart. Now our task is details! Reviewing what needs to be added in where, before we focus on the final task of tidying, polishing and giving the levels a final balance. Thank you everyone who is in touch with me during this period, giving me advice, support, and helping me to break out of the studio into the local folk scene (Owly Dave!).