it was always you

Did you ever have a crush on somebody? Did you tell them? Or did it go unsaid?

Introducing the latest tune by the Curious Cat Club:

Let me know what you think!


nouveau musique: the curious cat club

Curious Cat ClubAfter noodling around on gee-tars and joannas (pianos) for the past 6 months or so, my pal George and I have made it official; we’re a (proper) band now.

So it is with great delight that I introduce you to the Curious Cat Club. The first song we’ve put out into the big wide world, or at least the world wide web, is called Elena, written by George and performed by both of us. There are plenty more tunes on the way, but for now, you can listen to our music here.

Let me know what you think!

SongFest: climbing the wall

A few weeks ago, I was muddling through various websites with one question on my mind: What can I do today, to get the music I’ve written out into the world? I felt like the answer was on the other side of a brick wall, that was far too high for me to clamber over, let alone even see the top! It was at this moment that I stumbled across SongFest and began feeling hopeful.

SongFest is a songwriting conference put on by BASCA; the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. 2011’s instalment took place last week at The Bedford in Balham, hosted by Tony Moore, a veteran of the industry who champions unsigned acts at his two music venues, The Bedford and The Regal Room in Hammersmith.

From Monday to Wednesday there were twelve sessions, each one chaired by a music industry specialist. Panelists included renowned songwriters, composers, producers, artists, engineers, entertainment lawyers, record labels, publishers and managers; a smorgasbord of success stories and industry insiders, all ready to spill the beans.

Chris “Cool For Cats” Difford, of Squeeze fame, gave the keynote speech to an attentive crowd. The legendary lyricist talked about his experiences as a songwriter and the various ups and downs of a career spanning 40 years. He acknowledged how much the industry has changed, but refused to harp on about how “the good old days” were done and dusted, instead advocating an attitude of positivity and persistence.

A highlight for me was the demo review session with seasoned pros Tim Fraser, Maxi Priest and Bill Padley. CD submissions were picked at random, played and critiqued by the panel. My mouth went dry as my name was called and Upside Down rang out into the room, however, the panel liked it, and encouraged me to let go a little more in the vocal.

Other favourites included an interview with phenomenal beatboxer and all round nice guy Shlomo, a DIY recording session featuring the contagiously passionate producer Steve Levine, and a motivating snapshot of three artists, Sam Beeton, Mike Hough and Dan Priddy, who have all used YouTube as a platform to professional careers.

Overall, I came away with clarity. Ideas that have been bubbling below the surface, have now burst forth and I’m beginning to think that maybe the brick wall isn’t so high after all!  Perhaps SongFest just handed me the ladder I needed.

just another manic monday, erm i mean friday

At the moment, I work part-time in a publishing house, usually on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. It often feels like having a number of Mondays all in a row, and lately on any given day I have got into the habit of singing ‘Just another manic Monday’ as I’m getting ready for work (try it some time – it really does add occasion and fun to your morning).

However, when I started this tradition several weeks ago, I realised I was singing ‘mantic Monday’ rather than ‘manic Monday’. I paused for a moment to ponder how odd the phrase sounded, which is when the penny finally dropped.

Now, I learnt this song when I was about 4 years old, in front of Video Hits with my two older sisters. We used to point to the TV screen at all the gorgeous singers, and say ‘I’m her!… No, I’m her!!’ Other popular songs I learnt at that time were ‘Love in the first degree’, ‘Leave a light on for me’ and ‘Love shack’.  All in all, it was quite a golden era where I learnt many words, to many songs, whilst really having no concept of what they meant.

Cue right stage, ‘mantic Monday’… lyrics I have been singing incorrectly now for about 24 years… oops. I know my sister Lis would be giggling about this, as she used to occasionally catch me out with incorrect lyrics in the past. She would get this quietly triumphant (read: sneaky) look on her face, and say, ‘I’m sorry, what was that?’, wherein I would warily mumble the words back, and face whatever ridicule was to come my way.

Have you ever got the lyrics to a song monumentally wrong, or is it just me?

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking and I better actually get ready for work. This morning I might try ‘Friday I’m in love’ instead.

doing what you love (and getting paid for it)

Recently I have embraced the concept of having less money, but more time, to achieve the things in life that I really care about. It is both wonderful, and scary.

It is wonderful because I used to work in a job that I was originally very passionate about, that then went on to suck the life right out of me. I dreamt about breaking out on my own, doing something artistic and being in control of my own destiny. I yearned to spend more time making music, one of my truest and greatest loves. I looked forward to the day when I could make it all happen, when the shackles were off and I could burst forth, in a flurry of creative activity and brilliance… or something like that.

It is scary because all of these dreams, and yearnings, and hopes, start to stack up after a while, and they make a pretty impressive pile. And sometimes when you put a lot of effort into reaching up and touching these pretty piles and they fall down on top of you, it is so crushing, you wonder if you’re good enough to even try again, let alone actually succeed.

So when I have small victories, I celebrate them. And tonight I am having such a moment. I was booked for a recording session as a vocalist. I went, I sang, it was good, the people were nice, it may well go somewhere. And on top of all of that… I will be getting paid. Hooray! I wish I could be a bit cooler about these sorts of things, but the truth is, my little artist’s ego grumbles to be fed, and I need however many small pats on the back I can get just to coax her one step further down the road.

So here’s to doing what you love (and getting paid for it)! Cheers.