Prior to music becoming the love of my life, I was always passionate about art, doodling with cartoons and creating amusing characters and comedic stories. Then, when I was ten, myself and a few friends decided to form a street band, and I was so desperate to get started that my parents bought me the guitar I wanted well before the Christmas I was due to receive it.
I was never going to be an outstanding instrumentalist, as after working out just a few chords I went straight into writing songs, and thus began a long creative journey of discovery for me. My fascination with music spanned all styles, and I spent my childhood glued to a pair of headphones, breaking down all the songs in my father’s LP collection, which ranged from jazz to pop with a bit of classical thrown in. I would spend hours analysing how the songs were constructed, deeply contemplating the stereo mix positions of each instrument and vocal part!
In my early twenties, I teamed up with another musician, and we spent the next few years learning how to record onto a small cassette multitrack machine, adding harmonies and multiple layers of sound to our music. That collaboration eventually came to its natural end, at which point I embarked on a solo career.
At this point, my life fundamentally changed, and in doing so altered the course of my songwriting forever. I always say it was like a button was flipped into the ‘on’ position. Mainly because of my obsession with music, I had never been particularly interested in the world around me, but for some reason I started to take notice of the Environmental issues that were being increasingly featured on the news.
This new environmental awareness was like an explosion in my mind. I immediately joined our local Friends of the Earth group, and quickly found myself dressed as a gorilla in a local shopping centre, screaming to save the amazon rain forest from the back of a lorry!
Parallel to this, I had always been interested in psychology, and the ultimate question of why humans allow such destruction and suffering to occur in the world. Finally, I went full-on philosophical and found myself visiting New Age fayres seeking spiritual answers. I had never been religious (especially as I see most institutions as glorified Gentlemen’s clubs, with very little humility, seeking to control rather than to heal) so I began searching for my own truth, something that made sense to me.
I had already joined a group which hosted regular talks on various alternative topics, and this investigation eventually led me to a Spiritualist church, where I finally had that mystical ‘moment’ – an inner acceptance that life continues after death, and that this life has a greater meaning and purpose. At this point, I made the decision to dedicate whatever talent I had to producing positive and insightful music.
Being a child of the sixties, I had always been drawn to Pop music for its purity of message, in which one must refine their lyrics and arrangements to fit the three-minute single format, and this suited my approach. I was also starting to appreciate the new technologies that were becoming available, which gave me the freedom to move away from the guitar and adopt softer and subtler tones in my music.
I embarked on years of creation and self-exploration, which I funnelled through my songs. Although this was fulfilling, my relationship with the world around me took its toll. I am particularly empathetic, which in my case has the downside of resulting in depression, and for many years I declined into a darkness whilst simultaneously still writing uplifting and philosophical tunes, and this somehow kept me balanced. My own music prevented me from falling over the edge many times, and my belief that I had chosen this life (which has never faltered) reminds me I am more, as are we all, connected in one union, but choosing different paths to experience.
“Wellbeing” has been introduced into our vocabulary, and bridges that gap between a physical and mental state and spiritual awareness. Through my lyrics I share my own understanding of the soul and eternal existence, along with a self-belief in the here and now, which encourages the search for personal truth, and the building confidence in our individual potential.
I think one difference in my writing from all the classic Pop tracks that have inspired me, is that I try to come from an egoless position, avoiding the temptation to trigger emotions through my songs. My aim is to encourage people to consider the spiritual self and view of life. To stand back and embrace a different understanding of reality, which can sometimes be difficult whilst existing in our human form.
Music has become my voice, and has allowed a nervous, shy, ten-year-old to evolve into a confident and creative personality. I don’t smoke or take recreational drugs. Listening to my favourite songs has given me all of the incredible highs I have ever needed in my life, and has proved to be the way I can tap into the higher realms, which hold me in place when I begin to fall.
I still crave the joy of the blank canvas, and the wonder of producing something that emerges directly from the imagination, something that has always surprised me, as I don’t count myself as an accomplished musician. I tend to rely on those many ‘happy accidents’ that can occur when creating music. I’m sure many artists will know exactly what I mean!