Strictly 2013

Thought my fans (hi Mum!) might want to know why I’ve been so quiet of late.

I have been busy, honest! There are a number of adverts featuring my music that are due to go on air in the UK very shortly, and The Mighty Handful are also getting closer to releasing our prog epic Still Sitting In Danny’s Car, but the main reason for my apparent inactivity is due to joining the Strictly Come Dancing team again!

I’m signed up as Assistant Producer on Music for the whole series this year so it’s going to be taking up a lot of my time, but it’s already looking like it’ll be a whole heap of fun as well.

And before you ask, I have no idea who the celebs are going to be – that is a VERY closely guarded secret indeed!

 

One of the small reasons why I love my job

The great, bizarre thing about writing music is that you never really know what is going to connect and when, and oftentimes it can surprise you in beautiful and unexpected ways.

When I first started working with Dan Slatter (of Howes and Slatter ‘fame’) nearly four years ago we wrote a couple of songs and recorded them with a very talented vocalist called Nan Wood, sent them off to a few contacts, and pretty much forgot all about them.

One of those tracks was called ‘This Love Is War’, and this forgotten song recently featured on a show in the U.S. called ‘Dance Moms’. Check it out:

Pretty groovy I’m sure you’ll agree! Now, it may surprise you to know that songwriters often don’t get told when their music is featured on television shows, but it is a fairly common occurrence.

It may also surprise you to know that there is often very little money in it for the artists either – woe betide anyone who thinks that if their music is regularly getting played on tv that they have ‘made’ it – the truth often is considerably less glamourous! I’ll write an in depth guide to how music gets placed on TV (and how we songwriters get paid) at some point in the future, but that’s not what I want to talk about today. Which is this:

The only reason I found out This Love Is War was on TV was because Dance Moms fans tracked me down!

One tracked me down on Facebook, one on Youtube, and one even contacted me direct via email after using Shazam to identify the song.

To me, this is nothing short of amazing! Goodness only knows how Shazam know it was my song – remember this is a track that was never on general release, is by a little known artist, and was hidden away in a single music library.

But even more amazing and wonderful to me is this song that I had all but given up on has been given a new lease of life in a way I never envisaged when I wrote it – it’s not exactly a TV show for which I’m the target audience.

I love that, and I love that this song had enough of an emotional impact on three strangers that they felt compelled to try to find me and get in touch about it.

Now songwriting can be one of the very loneliest pursuits, and songwriters are a sensitive bunch on the whole so we do often need reminding why we do it. Little affirmations like these are like manna from heaven – to know that something I’ve written has connected with someone half a world away. Wow, yeah, that is what I do it for.

Gawd, sometimes I love my job.

 

 

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As a footnote, I said was never on general release… But now, due to overwhelming (!) public demand, ‘This Love Is War’ is now available from all the major digital stores, as well as the likes of Spotify, so if you feel like contributing 25p or so to my retirement fund why not buy it on iTunes or suchlike!

Find what you love and let it kill you? Maybe not.

We seem to have evolved into a society of mourned and misplaced creativity.

Concert pianist James Rhodes makes many a fine point in this rather good article (I implore you to read it in full if you want the below to make any semblence of sense).

Now I’m going to commit the cardinal sin of imagining I know something about someone when I really don’t know sh*t, but that seems to be de riguer pon de internet, and frankly it’s never stopped me before, so let’s go with it. See you all in hell, meta-sinners.

Personally, I don’t know many people who could follow one dream at the cost of a marriage and nine months in a mental hospital.

Actually, I don’t really want to know many people who could do that.

 

Continue reading “Find what you love and let it kill you? Maybe not.”