What started out as a lockdown-inspired songwriting competition founded by British folk artist Saskia Griffiths-Moore, became a movement to do two things: 1) Prove that talent knows no age limit and 2) That's there is no such thing as too late
So many people over 50 are gifted musicians and songwriters, whether they are amateurs or professionals, but it would break my heart a little when they would say things like 'It's too late for me' or 'I've missed the boat'. It's not true, but I understand why people feel that. As an acoustic musician my audience are often in the 50-or-over category, and I've spent many a touring night staying with fans, venue promoters and in the folk festivals marvelling at the amazing talents and stories we all have to share.
When the second lockdown was announced I wanted to connect and inspire my fans and I set up a little songwriting competition that we could all do safely online from home. I began asking my industry connections if they wanted to get involved and everywhere I went I got a resounding 'YES'! As it turns out, there are lots of people in the industry and around it who passionately feel that getting older doesn't make you less relevant, and that we ought to prove it with this competition.
Little did I know how much this message was going to resonate with all the songwriters over 50 out there, and what started out as a few hundred people became over a thousand within a month. Was it the prizes? Recording at Abbey Road Studios? A record deal? Playlisting in Caffe Nero? Maybe. Or maybe it was the collective idea that music belongs to all people at all ages, and connecting with other people who felt that way was enough of a motivation in itself.
Not wanting money to be a barrier I set this up as a free competition giving people the option to donate what they could after they'd submitted their song. I interviewed with our judges Ian Matthews (Kasabian), Tony Moore (Iron Maiden), Boo Hewerdine, Micky Blue, Elles Bailey to name but a few, and we put those Q&A sessions in our facebook group and online.
The group became so passionate that it soon became clear that the Talent Is Timeless movement was only just beginning with the songwriting competition. I've been inundated with messages of gratitude and joy at being invited into a safe creative space for songwriters at all levels who are 50 or over, and with ideas about how they want this to continue. It's a free online community and we run songwriting challenges every month and keep up with our interviews with industry professionals. We also run paid songwriting workshops for those who want them, and will look to creating concerts, workshops and more for people who are interested.
What's amazing to me is that this is really run by the members, they vote and give feedback on what they want from each other and from me as a facilitator, and for me (for once) I am not setting the direction, I am here to serve.
To get an invite to join our private facebook group all you have to do is head to: www.talentistimeless.com and join us.
My advice for songwriters over 50? As was put by Micky Blue in the live interview we did in our facebook group 'the question isn't about age, it's about energy'. My answer is if you have the energy and inspiration, then you have what it takes. Whether you want to be the next Seasick Steve or if you simply want to improve for your own sake, art is always a worthwhile endeavour, and I believe there is nothing as important as keeping your creative flame alive.
‘Caffe Nero is proud to support ‘Talent is Timeless’. Creativity and talent has no age boundaries and everyone should be encouraged to be creative at all stages of their lives. We will certainly play some of the winners songs on our nationwide café playlist!’ Pablo Ettinger, Founder & Head of Music, Caffe Nero
'In an age that prioritizes youthful development, it is a grave error of judgement to ignore the creative efforts of older and more mature artistes.' Phil Beer, Show Of Hands (UK Folk Band)
'I’m proud to support and be part of this initiative because I believe talent doesn’t just reside in young writers, but also continues into older age and often becomes enriched due to ongoing life experience. It’s time the older generation is given a spotlight to showcase their ideas and be given an opportunity to take steps in the music industry.' Ian Matthews, Kasabian
"I am very honoured to be involved with such an important and passionate project. Fostering inspiration to create is vital for our musical future." Tony Moore (Iron Maiden, Cutting Crew)
A Socially Distanced Album Release Tour
Saskia Griffiths-Moore releases new album with charity tour, mid pandemic
Saskia Griffiths-Moore performed a 'Concerts In Care' tour in four care homes, and one psychiatric hospital all in the Bristol area 11-15th August, to celebrate the release of her new album 'Are You Listening' which came out on July 31st.
Perhaps the only artist to be touring in the middle of a pandemic, Saskia crowdfunded the tour in advance from her fans, and donated all the concerts to Bristol's most vulnerable people, taking extra safety precautions. She and an accompanist on piano or double bass performed at Redfield Lodge, Avenue House, Callington Road Hospital, Walwyn Gardens and Lincoln Gardens, all of whose residents and service users had been unable to take day trips out, or have guests and entertainment since the lockdown began.
The concerts were organised by Lockdown Music, a new initiative from Bristol local David Mowat. He says "Every single concert was a hit. From brightening up the care homes, to singing along with the service users at the psychiatric hospital, everyone had a much needed moment of joy! It has been my pleasure to organise this tour, and I will be continuing to focus on bringing music and creativity to vulnerable people in the Bristol area."
"We had to wear masks while setting up" Saskia Griffiths-Moore
"I've continued to hear comments about how lovely it was - from staff and patients." Carolyn Atkinson, Callington Road Hospital
'Are You Listening' is an acoustic album that focuses on finding hope and joy in difficult situations, and the gentle, feminine style has been said to be reminiscent of Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, and early Norah Jones.
'It is the first of a two album record deal Saskia holds with The Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation Inc. (USA), and it was worked on and produced by Saskia Griffiths-Moore and Susanne Marcus Collins herself.
In order to accommodate the necessary safety measures, Saskia and all her team wore masks while setting up the stage and equipment, and throughout the shows, the residents always stayed either behind glass, or a safe distance away in an outdoor space, and everyone took care to use a great deal of hand sanitiser!
When asked about whether she will be returning to do any of these concerts again she said "My music has often overlapped with charitable work, from supporting a tree-planting initiative, to recording in Abbey Road Studios with a choir and London charity, and now to this. I will keep finding ways to give back, although I can't promise it will always be the same way".
"Every single concert was a hit" David Mowat, Lockdown Music
"Each of the concerts were special to me. We had to wear masks while setting up and to make sure all the residents were a safe distance away from us. Sometimes watching from the windows of their room, and sometimes sitting in the garden. Being able to bring them some laughter and some music meant the world to me. They offered us tea and cake in the intervals, and even shared some ice cream with us afterwards on the hot days! And right at the end, during the last song of the last concert, it began to rain, but the residents stayed outdoors with me and sang along anyway. It was all around a heartwarming experience, and a fitting way for me to celebrate the release of my album, even during a pandemic!" - Saskia Griffiths-Moore
“In the dark times will there also be singing? asked German playwright and poet Bertolt Brecht.
The answer in the case of London-based singer songwriter Saskia Griffiths-Moore is an emphatic ‘yes’ - her heartfelt, ‘human touch’ songs seem almost made for these times.
She weaves together some of her best work from the past five years in the rich and retrospective tapestry Are You Listening? to be released on July 31.
Known for her open and searingly honest ‘no hiding place’ songs, her previous life as a Harley Street therapist seems to permeate her songwriting - well-crafted, compassionate tracks exuding calmness and not a little spirituality.
Her clear bright vocals and thoughtful lyrics decorate the 11 tracks which draw on new treatments of songs from her prolific back catalogue as well as two brand new songs and an impressive cover of Leonard Cohen’s anthemic Hallelujah.
Saskia’s career change happened after what she refers to as “a full on epiphany moment” on a retreat in 2013 when she realised singing was what she really wanted to pursue. After closing her London practice and handing over her clients she moved to the West Country and started out as a busker, travelling and eventually returning to the capital. Since then she has regularly toured the acoustic music scene across the UK and Europe.
Are You Listening? is the first in a two album record deal struck with America’s Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation, Inc. and arrives hot on the heels of her autumn 2019 album Baez, Dylan and Me, recorded at the famed Abbey Road Studios.
Susanne Marcus Collins says: “The timing of this album couldn’t be better for the times we find ourselves in - it is calming, uplifting, and inspirational. I am honoured to be a part of its creation.”
The collaboration is the result of two women sharing a passion in creating quality acoustic music mirroring the style and capturing the energy of the great legacy folk artists.
Along the way, critics have noted shades of artists from Norah Jones to Joan Baez, Eva Cassidy and Joni Mitchell in Saskia’s evocative songs.
The much-travelled Saskia says: “Around half the tracks on this album were actually written inside my camper van.” The songs, recorded at Fieldgate Studios, Cardiff, flit between folk, country, Americana, blues and pop in an album that is deceptively simple yet powerful in its directness with strong themes of love, friendship and empathy.
Described as a ‘completely old school acoustic album’ it sees Saskia joined by talented musicians Daniel Ian Roberts (guitar), Thomas Holder (double bass), Ali Petrie (piano) and Gabriella Swallow on cello.
Gentle guitar opens the album with the title track – a soothing and moving song about reaching crossroads and making choices - questioning if we always take the time to listen.
In Time, both poignant and hopeful, advocates letting go of the past and looking to the future while the ballad These Hours (co-written with Clive Gray) is a joyous paean to long-lasting friendship. Written for a special friend, the song enjoys an unusual guitar arrangement by Australian singer songwriter Cooper Lower.
The Presence is a poetic, country-style song with a ‘live for today’ message. Likening it to a stage performance, it also wonders about the future “Out the door, I peek into what is yet not known.”
The first of the new songs is the buoyant Best of You. Featuring soft classical guitar, mellow piano and double bass, it contains a heart-warming, feelgood message about kindness and being the best you can be.
By contrast the second new number Come Comfort Me is a graceful but raw and affecting song about searching for support during the darker times in life.
Bring it Down is a mesmeric, stream of consciousness song looking at life and love with a mix of memories and questions while modern folk ballad Write Me a Song is about a world-weary, forgotten man: “There’s nothing you can take from a man already gone”’ and After offsets the pain of separation with a hope to meet that person again and wishing them a good future.
Starting life as a poem the delicate and emotive Wash It Away is another country-sounding song likening our lives to the ebb and flow of water: “Like a flower that blooms once/In life’s enormous dance we’ll be washed away”.
The album ends with the time-honoured classic that is Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah- the haunting anthem given a careful and elegant treatment by Saskia. She says “This is the first song I ever sang in public and my love of it has never dwindled.”
Due to the current climate, tours scheduled for Spain, Germany, Holland, the USA and Canada have been postponed.
Says Saskia: “I want this album to be available, even if I can’t tour it the way I usually would. Music has perhaps never been as important as it is right now so we decided to go ahead with the release as planned and hope the songs may echo with people and in a small way offer some solace in these difficult times.”
A showcase for Saskia’s burgeoning songwriting skills, managing to be both simple and sophisticated, thought-provoking and restorative, Are You Listening? resonates on many levels and emerges as a balm for these troubled times.
The album will be available on July 31st, on CD, vinyl, and all streaming services.
The second CD under the two-album deal is due to be recorded over the summer, and will see Saskia returning to London’s Abbey Road Studios, with international release planned for the end of 2021.
To hear Saskia’s music go to: www.saskiagm.com
For interviews with Saskia, mp3s and hi res images please contact Jane Brace PR on (01243) 789554/ email@example.com
A transatlantic two album record deal has been struck between London-based
singer songwriter Saskia Griffiths-Moore and The Susanne Marcus Collins
Foundation, Inc– with the first (Are You Listening?) due for release in July
Saskia started her career as a Harley Street Craniosacral therapist until her life
as a performing artist took off in 2015. Since then, Saskia has released several
albums, EPs and singles and toured the folk and acoustic scene across the UK
BBC Radio regularly features Saskia’s songs and she has had premieres on The
Folk Show (Sky TV) and been interviewed on London Live TV as well as being
awarded grants from Arts Council England for touring and recording.
Hot on the heels of her autumn 2019 album Baez, Dylan and Me, recorded at
the famed Abbey Road Studios, Saskia will unveil her new album on July 31st.
Are You Listening? is a collection of evocative personal songs written by Saskia
and recorded at Fieldgate Studios in Wales.
The new collaboration is the result of two women sharing a passion in creating
quality acoustic music mirroring the style and capturing the energy of the great
legacy folk artists.
Susanne Marcus Collins says: “The timing of this album couldn’t be better for
the times we find ourselves in - it is calming, uplifting, and inspirational. I am
honoured to be a part of its creation.”
The second album, due to be recorded over the summer, will see Saskia
returning to London’s Abbey Road Studios, with international release planned
for the end of 2021.
Due to the current climate, tours scheduled for Spain, Germany, Holland, the
USA and Canada have been postponed.
Says Saskia: “I want this album to be available, even if I can’t tour it the way I
usually would. Music has perhaps never been as important as it is right now so
we decided to go ahead with the release as planned and hope the songs may
resonate with people and in a small way offer some solace in these difficult
The album will be available on July 31st, on CD, vinyl, and all streaming
- At the end of last year Saskia and a choir assembled from her fan base
recorded her song For You at Abbey Road Studios in partnership with
London charity Music for Mental Wealth. In these difficult days of self-
isolation it could hardly be more apt.
See video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyk_Ydm63uo
If you have a home to go to, a door that's always open for you
Family and friends who know your name
Living in an ever after, spending all your time together
Knowing things will always be the same
And if you find that you've nowhere to go
All that you need is right here for you
For interviews with Saskia and hi res images please contact Jane Brace PR on (01243) 789554/ firstname.lastname@example.org
London based singer-songwriter Saskia Griffiths-Moore, in partnership with London charity Music for Mental Wealth, brought fans of all ages into Abbey Road Studios to record a new heart-warming single ‘For You’, due to be released on Dec 6th 2019.
On Monday 18th Nov, roughly 40 fans gathered on the steps of the iconic Abbey Road Studios for a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a record inside Studio 2, where the likes of Ed Sheeran, Kendrick Lamar, Bastille, George Ezra, Kano and Miley Cyrus have all recorded recently.
This experience was made possible by London singer-songwriter Saskia Griffiths-Moore, who crowdfunded the event partnering with London charity, Music for Mental Wealth to create an uplifting day for everyone, recording and filming inside the world’s most famous studio.
“I wanted to bring everyone together from as many different backgrounds as possible and to involve a London charity, to offer a unique experience. ‘For You’ is an uplifting track with the message that we have everything we need for our lives already. The whole was incredibly memorable.” Saskia Griffiths-Moore
‘For You’ is a soaring ballad featuring Saskia’s inimitable vocals, piano, a string quartet, and then the real recordings of her makeshift choir.
Fans of Saskia travelled far and wide to attend the recording with people travelling from mainland Europe in order to attend the event, a contingent from Brockwood Park School in Hampshire, and attendees of all ages, ranging from 9 to 75 - one of which Molly Hill, will be celebrating her 10th birthday on the day of release.
London based non-profit ‘Music for Mental Wealth’, founded by Laura Westcott who attended the event, provides emotional resilience workshops and coaching based on neuroscience to musicians, managers and their teams to prevent mental health challenges. For more information about coaching or to make a donation visit: MusicforMentalWealth.com
Saskia Griffiths-Moore plans to release ‘For You’ on Dec 6th on all major streaming platforms, as well as the video made with the choir via her website: www.saskiagm.com and she can be reached at @saskiagmsings on social media.
The track is available to pre-save here: https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/saskiagriffithsmoore/for-you
For full press release with audio & video media, please email email@example.com
For now, here's a cheeky sneak peak...
As many of you know, thanks to our sponsor JWC Guitars, and to the overwhelming success of the Kickstarter campaign, we were able to record a new album of folk music, inspired by the energy of the 50th anniversary of Woodstock 69, we recorded an album of Baez/Dylan songs in the historic and world famous Abbey Road Studios!
I'll let the images speak for themselves, save to say, we truly had an unforgettable time there, we spent every waking minute on the premises soaking in the atmosphere, the history and the creative energy of the place, and that I'm thrilled to be releasing this album into the world in autumn this year.
Proud to announce my next project at Abbey Road studios, sponsored by JWC Guitars!
In less than 2 months time I will head into those world famous studios to record the historic music of Joan Baez and Bob Dylan.
I am proud to announce this in partnership with JWC Guitars, on whose exquisite instruments I will be recording the entire thing!
I will also be announcing a kickstarter next week to fund the release of the album so watch this space!
In the meantime, here is an FAQ:
1) Which Baez/Dylan songs will you record?
Go VOTE* here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/452282048316315/permalink/1020077051536809/
*votes will be a rough guide, not a 100% guarantee, but I want to hear your thoughts!
2) Does the new endorsement conflict with the old one?
No, both Agnew Instruments and JWC Guitars are aware of one another, and are non exclusive. I feel this industry thrives on collaboration not competition, and I will continue to perform with both phenomenal instruments.
3) When are you recording?
End of May.
4) When are you releasing this album?
Kickstarter backers will get an early copy, but it's not scheduled for public release till September, which is a long time away, so pre-order when you can!
5) Why Baez and Dylan and not Joni Mitchell and Eva Cassidy?
Give it time!
Folk Radio UK put out the first review of Ocean of Stars! Find out what Peter Shaw says here: https://www.folkradio.co.uk/2019/03/saskia-griffiths-moore-ocean-of-stars/
Thanking Folk Radio UK for the glowing review, and premier of my new video 'These Hours'!
See here: www.folkradio.co.uk/2019/03/saskia-griffiths-moore-these-hours/
It's nearing my 4th anniversary as a full time musician! 🥳 SO I'm doing a little 'Did you know'....
- I lived in my van to make it work.
- I started out busking and STILL busk in London when I run out of cash (quite a lot of the time to be honest, especially in between tours)
- I shaved my head when I started
- I've raised £13K from the arts council and a whopping £19K on Kickstarter from individuals like you and me who care about the arts, and sold approximately 5K CD's
- I've managed to get my music videos played on Sky TV 6 times
- I'm self made. There are two sides to this, but in this case I mean I didn't go to Uni, I have no training in music, singing or business, I didn't have any startup money (actually started by maxing out a credit card to £2K to buy the equipment needed), and no-one encouraged me to do this. Actually when you tell people you want to do music they usually start to wrinkle their brows....and now when I tell people I do music they ALL say 'Ah, but do you make a living'? And while I take pride in being a full time musician, I'm not keen on defending the implicit assumption that it's unrealistic.
And do you know what IS unrealistic? For someone who loves music? To conceive of a life where music is not the centrepiece, one way or another, performing, creating, or listening and enjoying. I honestly don't know how people survive in this world without the joy of music to help them through.
Anyway, back to the topic...
- The other side of being self made is that I'm not really self made of course....what is an artist without an audience? I wouldn't have lasted 30 minutes without the people who've tipped me a coin, told me something encouraging, or pushed me to go beyond my limits. Or inspired me to. And nowadays, the people who've backed my kickstarter campaigns, come out to live shows, and helped me keep a roof (a real roof, not a tin one) over my head by buying all my merch. Or industry people putting me on, booking me for gigs, and helping to spread the word.
So here's the real reason I'm here this morning coming over all sentimental.
- Did you know...I live to share music with you? Sharing is the most important part of it.
THE MOST IMPORTANT PART.
So, HERE'S TO YOU!
And a fabulous, music filled 2019! 🎊🎉🎊