I came alone tonight. I’m in Hull, Service Station for an acoustic set promoting my album I self released at the end of 2018. It’s weird being back on the road on my own. I guess this is how it all started frequenting open mics armed with my bust up temperamental acoustic.
Open mics are weird evenings. Most are like fires to the surrounding musical moths that come out and show us what they have been working on. Songs and music mostly made in bedrooms, living rooms, and sometimes the great outdoors. Whilst there is a tendency to draw a sadder vibe there can often be the under appreciated gem. Open mics are great for trying out new material, building confidence and they can help connect artists together. Do they help progress an artists career? Maybe but probably not. You will get the odd pat on the back “nice set man” but you have a limited amount of time on stage and don’t have enough “spotlight” to really incite following and followers. I may be wrong and might be doing it wrong :p The discerning member of the audience will spot talent but for the average audience member it’s all part of the free event. It isn’t “valued” consciously and subconsciously. Compare that to seeing say an artist supporting your favourite band and expectations change. The context of the artist and the evening changes. You might follow.
In Manchester there are a few artists that I have encountered that I think have a real voice and deserve your ears. These include Jon Coley, James Carson, Fleet and there’s the technical guys who do raise eyebrows playing perfect covers of songs like Neon by John Mayer. Technical prowess......
I’m don’t consider myself a musician. I can play alright but I’m certainly no virtuoso. I would say musically I’m more of an artist who is learning to be musician. The song comes first for me and I try and do it as much justice as I can. I didn’t realise for a long time that a lot of musicians really find writing difficult and finding their own voice. Surely armed with the knowledge of how to play it would be easier right? Strangely not. You struggle to find your voice. Finding your own voice is what the journey is all about. I never practiced guitar til the last 6 months. Not properly. But I can write songs fast. I have about 2 albums of material in my head at most times.I’m always playing catch-up. Then I started practicing and suddenly I found it more difficult to write. It felt like i was thinking more. It was less raw. Whatever came out seemed a bit rubbish. Weird.
Most modern songs that people listen to are musically simple but strike a chord in people. You don’t need skills to write good songs but like tools in a toolbox good skills can open up doors. Keeping them separate is key. Practice sure but keep the writing raw. Stop thinking, feel something, get out of your head, write.
Rambling over.....think I’m playing soon.