My 2016 highlights, now that 2016 has come to a close, let’s brush away any of the negative vibes from the past year and start 2017 in positive spirits! I thought perhaps it would be nice to reminisce on some of my favourite memories and achievements of 2016, because quite frankly, I’m very proud of what I have achieved! I feel very privileged to have had these experiences, and I’m grateful to anyone has been involved in some way.
RAG N BONE MAN
The beginning of 2016 started off amazingly well when I had the opportunity to support Rag’n’ Bone Man, who recently won Brits Critic’s Awards 2017 (that he definitely deserved!). I was lucky enough to meet Rag’n’Bone Man, real name Rory Graham, just before his set at Glass Butter Beach Festival in 2015. With an appearance that could almost be described as intimidating to small little me, as he’s endlessly tall, with many tattoos and a big beard, he was actually one of the loveliest people I have met in the industry. He was more than happy for me to have a photo with him and a little chat, and even gracefully accepted my EP’s. Little did I know that three months later he would be tweeting compliments about my music and then personally inviting me to support him at an event he was putting on at Manchester’s Sound Control.This is by far, one of my favourite moments in my little musical journey (if not just life in general!) having the opportunity to have played to a sold out venue where the audience were incredibly enthusiastic and welcoming to both me and River Mathews, who also joined us on the night. My guitarist, Liam, and I played an acoustic set for the occasion and this photo below is arguably my favourite photo, not only as it was captured by Rag’n’Bone Man himself, but also because of the incredible buzz in the room that created so much adrenaline and energy on stage for us. The night overall was amazing, as Rag’n’Bone Man finished off the evening with a fantastic set. I wish him every success and hope that we’ll meet on the road again some day.
STAFFORDSHIRE & CHESHIRE MUSIC AWARDS
In February, I attended the Staffordshire and Cheshire Music Awards after my song ‘Early Morning Riser’ was nominated for Best Single. The Music Awards made its debut in 2016, and is dedicated to supporting local bands and artists of Staffordshire and Cheshire.
The amount of effort and contribution they put into supporting local musicians is really quite amazing and I felt very fortunate to have even been nominated. The band and my family joined me on the evening which was held at Kings Hall Stoke, and I was amazed and overwhelmed when my name was announced as the winner of Best Single of the Year! To all the lovely people who had voted for me, whoever and wherever you are, a big thank you to you for your support. It never goes unnoticed.Surprisingly, I have actually been nominated for 2017, as Best Solo Act. I was so thrilled to have been part of the event last year, so to be nominated again this year is such a wonderful feeling!
February to June of 2017 flew by in absolute blur, as I was in my final year of my degree and was spending most of my time writing my dissertation and endless essays and projects, so a lot of my time and energy was focussed on that for a little while. However, summer soon came round, which meant the festival season was in full swing. Having played a wonderful array of local festivals, I was also lucky enough to be invited by Caffe Nero to play on the stage as part of Cornbury Festival. In my first blog post I talked about how much I enjoyed the whole festival itself, which prides itself on being the most civilised festival, of which I can definitely confirm! The whole atmosphere was so calm and peaceful, and I felt privileged to have been able to just spend the weekend lying in the sunshine listening to a range of bands and artists. We took to the stage on the Sunday morning at 9am (!!) and were overwhelmed by the people that stopped and stayed to listen to our set, even at that time of the morning, and who equally stayed to chat afterwards with the band and I. Perfect end to the perfect weekend.
November 14th saw the end to my three years of studying Songwriting. Those three years quite literally changed my life as clichéd as it sounds, but I most certainly would not be where I am today without the guidance of my degree. Although, the academic side of the course was interesting, the practical involvement of the course was what made my time there so valuable. From the people I met, to the opportunities I was given and possibly most importantly the confidence boost it gave me it allowed me to experiment, develop and grow as the songwriter I wanted to be and to find my feet in the industry.So on the 14th it was a bittersweet event to be graduating from a place that I had made so many memories and achievements at but knowing that all my hard work had paid off. Our graduation was held at Manchester’s Town Hall and we were in fact the first graduates of the Manchester campus, so it was a wonderful feeling to be graduating with people who I had met right from the beginning. They are friends that I will probably still be in contact with, if not working on music with, in the foreseeable future.
LONDON SUPPORTING SOBI
November was a busy month for me, and part of that was supporting singer songwriter Sobi, at both her Manchester and London gigs. The band and I were invited to support Sobi as part of her tour, and we were excited to be heading to London as it was our first opportunity to play as a band there. We certainly were not left disappointed, with the most warm and welcoming audience at The Slaughtered Lamb. It meant a lot to us that people who had never seen or heard of us before had stuck around with enthusiasm to watch us perform, especially as we were somewhere completely new! Thanks to Sobi for having us! You can check out her music, and I even made a little vlog of the evening.Click the image to watch the clip
‘WITH TIME’ RELEASE
Another reason November was so busy was because I released my latest single ‘With Time’, which I don’t think I have actually addressed on this blog. The band and I are really rather proud of this track, as it is the next step into how we want the music to sound, which is a darker, more ethereal and climatic sound, and this track is the transition into that. We hope that you will enjoy the track as much as we enjoyed making it, and thank you to anyone who has already listened, bought or shared the single.A week later we actually had the opportunity to have the song filmed live as part of Fat Pigeon Sessions. I have worked with Fat Pigeon once before as I played a solo set for their sessions, but this time we were invited back as a band to showcase some of our new songs. The team at Fat Pigeon, are some of the loveliest and hardworking people I have ever met. They transform what is essentially a village hall into a scaled down version of ‘Jools Holland’ to create a TV studio to film the set for you, with an audience being featured in the background. The quality of sound and production is absolutely incredible, and they don’t get enough credit, so you should definitely go and check out their channel. Here, I’ll give you a little taster to get you into the swing of things. Click on the image to watch the clip
To round off 2016, I have a personal highlight, but as it was such a wonderful day I thought it deserved to have a mention; my mum and dad finally got married!! After being together for 25 years, they secretly went off to finally tie the knot, surrounded only by me and my siblings, before spreading the news to everyone straight after, to which all our family and friends were of course surprised but elated by the news. This was the icing on the cake, to what has been a wonderful yearI hope that 2016 has brought great achievements and memories for all of you, and that 2017 is even better! Thank you for the support you have given me throughout this year and I hope you will want to stick around and see what else we have in store. Here’s to 2017 *clinks glasses* Cheers!