2014 – a year in review

It’s January 5th and I’ve been asleep for most of 2015… Now that I’m up, I feel I should keep up a tradition and write about the highlights of the past twelve months. I hope everybody reading this has had a great start to the new year (providing you’ve actually been awake). Thanks so much for keeping in touch with me and my music. The last seven months in particular have been busier than ever and I really have to thank everybody for supporting my journey. If you’ve come to a show of mine, bought a CD, if you’ve booked me for a show, recommended my music to a friend, had me perform in your living room, watched a video of mine, or all of the above, feel hugged! Now to what 2014 had to offer (I had time to kill on the flight back to England, so here are just a couple of snapshots from 2014 in PPT collage format..!):

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Recording and releasing

I recorded four of my songs together with Ben Walker in his home studio in North London. Seeing You, Wasteland, Rerun and Same Moon made up a new EP that was released in September via Brighton based Hidden Trail Records. I’m really pleased with the sound we managed to achieve and I can’t wait to record more songs in the new year. The EP launch at the Finsbury in London with a full band was definitely a highlight of the year. You can see our very beautiful band selfie (which I believe was the word of the year) in the collage above… If you haven’t got your copy of the ‘Seeing You’ EP already, you can order a signed CD from my website or get the digital files off itunes, the Hidden Trail Bandcamp Page page or you can stream the tracks on Spotify.

I’m really pleased that my song Seeing You made it onto the national airwaves! Thanks to Tom Robinson and his team for including the song in the September BBC6 Mixtape. A big thank you also goes to Hannah and Brodie from the Introducing show on BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire and to Ruth Barnes from Amazing Radio for giving Seeing You a lot of airplay.

Throughout 2014 I also had the opportunity to perform live on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire for Sue Marchant and on Dave Monk’s Introducing show on BBC Radio Merseyside – thanks for having me and thanks for listening. The year ended with a live interview and session on BBC London for Robert Elms. Thanks very much for having me and to all of you who tuned in and sent lovely comments about the new song Rerun.

Tales from the many Rails of 2014

In 2014 I spent more time on train tracks than I am in any four walls these days and that’s just fine by me. I travelled so much over the past seven months in particular that some of the impressions have already faded like pale photographs and require lots of coffee fuelled thinking to sharpen them back into view.

In June I went on a month-long tour of Europe and have pretty much been on the go ever since. I think the Festival in Amsterdam, dripping with acid, sitar sounds and tie-die shirts was one of the most memorable days in June, especially because I got to meet the lovely Merel from Merel and a bit of yellow and got to play my favourite house concerts EVER that same evening after the festival. I really enjoyed playing in Belgium and Switerland for the first time and performing for the lovely people in and around Kiel in North Germany. On that same tour I got to travel through Italy for the first time, performing in the most beautiful and crazy settings, such as the walled paradise that was Montecarotto (I thought I might die driving up that seemingly never-ending mountain through the storm, but I got there in one piece and it was totally worth it), the amazing coast village of Molfetta, performing for art activist group TESLA and meeting all the lovely people in Foggia at Tolleranza Zero. Just typing up the last couple of sentences makes me realize just how many amazing moments there were on that tour and I don’t really know how they all fit in one self-organised tour.

Nevertheless, rest there was not. After only a couple days back in London, I was Germany bound again. This time for a rather eccentric tour of Castles. For a week, I got to perform, mostly unplugged, in cavernous halls to lovely listening audiences. That sunny view on the bottom centre of the collage is the backdrop to Schloß Goseck just about two hours south of Berlin and not Italian Tuscany as one might think… Thanks to the “Liedertour” organisers for making this happen and to all the lords and ladies of the Castles – you’re all crazy and I loved meeting you!

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Performing at Lodestar Festival (bottom right of collage!) was definitely a highlight this year. It was just such a pleasure to be back two years running and see some lovely familiar faces in the crowd. I felt really at home and hope to be back in 2015 (maybe on the main stage, ey Doug?!) 🙂 Nozstock and Brownstock were also super fun… because you don’t get to hang out with Dinosaurs every day, nor do you get to perform in a Saloon all the time.

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After performing at festivals the leaves turned golden and the air crisper and I got to go on my first ever headline tour in the UK in order to support my new EP. Oporto in Leeds, the aforementioned Finsbury launch gig in London and the Big Comfy Bookshop in Coventry were particularly special. Thank you very much to everyone who helped and who came along!

Liverpool

Yes. Liverpool gets it’s own little paragraph for 2014. I got to spend a lot of time in one of my favourite places and felt very honoured to perform at Liverpool International Music Festival for Liverpool Acoustic. You can still listen to the session I recorded for BBC Merseyside introducing on Soundcloud:

It’s been great to perform at Ian Prowse‘s Monday Club at the Cavern Pub and to meet lots of Liverpool Musicians… such as Thom Morecroft, with whom I recorded a song by THAT band in the Bluecoat. I’m really pleased to let you know that I’ll be back in Liverpool for a show at the View Two for Liverpool Acoustic’s sixth Birthday in February!

Berlin

After the UK headline tour it was back across the channel for another round – gigs in Germany, Switzerland and Italy for another month. During my stay in Berlin I got to perform for Fresh Milk TV. We recorded the session in a little music shop in the central former east part of town. It was easy to choose a song – it had to be Wasteland:

From me to You (#FM2U)

With a little help from my friends, I organised a one-day music conference in London late in November once the touring was over. In order to talk about #FM2U and explain my crazy idea properly, I need to reach back a little further than 2014 and include the year before that: I released my debut album on my own record label and registered as self-employed in 2013. After touring across the UK and Germany in the spring, I got to speak and perform at traditional music industry events such as Berlin Music Week and the Reeperbahn Festival. Overall it was a great experience, but I came away feeling that there was an entire universe of music making that I these types of events just didn’t cover. My reality seemed to be a very different one. I started to think how interesting it would be to have a room full of independent musicians talking about how we do what we do, without fear of competition, giving away secrets or trying to be something we’re not. We could talk about topics that really mattered to us from our perspective and come away feeling stronger and inspired. That’s exactly what we did on the 29th of November. If you’re interested, you can read up on the day’s program here.

Making this happen was a crazy learning curve for me. Above all, I’ve learnt that it’s worth pursuing ideas and crossing that point of no return, even if you feel ill-equipped or if the odds seem to be stacked against you. The pay-off was huge. I really hope everybody present got something out of it and I look forward to pulling more stunts with friends next year.

I’d like to thank everyone who was involved, especially Artists in the Plus for filming the panels. I hope to be able to share the footage with you soon!

Living Room Gigs

Lots of lovely people hosted shows in their humble homes. Thank you for having me and for taking such good care of me! Gabi, thanks for the delicious cake. Trieu, thank you for being so cool!!! Bernd, thanks for the Whiskey and the Bob. 😉 Felix, thank you for the Rutles. Sebastian (and all of Tübingen!), thank you for having me in your amazing house. Dave (and Norton), thanks for having me over for your Birthday. Sandy, thanks for the snacks and having such a sweet grandma and last, but certainly not least, thank you Ruth for hosting an international musical experience in your Manchester living room. I’m so pleased I was part of this, especilaly as I got to meet the beautiful Shama, who later recorded this session with me in Brighton:

Well, I’m feeling a little more awake now… I hope you haven’t fallen asleep reading my ramblings. If you’ve made it to the end of the post, I’d like to thank you for your time and thanks again for being part of my music family this year. It would be great to see you in 2015, with loads of new songs and for many more adventures. If you were at any of the shows mentioned above, think I’ve forgotten something important, or simply want to say hello, please do! Looking forward to hearing from you.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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