One cold morning…I arrived early by train to Blackfriars station, fighting my way off the train with unhappy commuters on their way to work. My guitar backpack, trolley with amp and padded fx pedal gig bag made our way to the station coffee kiosk. It was a sunny but ice cold morning my coffee intended to warm up my hands as well as my soul. I waited for the crowds of worker ants to clear before making my way on to the Southbank. As I approached the spot I play I noticed it was free. I had woken up and got ready way before any other buskers who often scrape themselves out of their bed around 11am. It was about 8.20 when I started to set up my equipment, My mind set was to ignore the cold, which seemed even colder next to the River Thames. My microphone stand faced the Tate Modern building, my back to the Thames. At around 9 I started to soundcheck, by 9.30 I was ready to start my first set.
By 11am I had been bought 2 more coffees by those who had stopped and listened, my donation bag was almost full and was looking forward to the last hour of playing. During the last hour a man stood watching and listening, he was visibly freezing, which somehow made me feel warmer. I get so lost in music that I forget its so cold. After I had finished, I realised how cold I was. Disconnecting my equipment was hard work as I couldn’t feel my fingers!
The man approached me and asked if I was going to play elsewhere. I replied, no, I am heading for the nearest hot chocolate outlet, and I had now finished for the day. We talked as I was packing my trolley, when he asked if Id like to come to an audition? He explained he was an agent, that his artists were all meeting at the Jazz Cafe in Camden, along with other agents and their artists. He told me that if I audition and pass the process it would mean working live in hotter climates. Now I was very interested and consequently found myself on a Camden bound tube train, destination Jazz Cafe. When we arrived the first thing I noticed was the the line to enter the Jazz Cafe. I followed single file as the agent passed the entire que followed by swiftly showing his card to the doormen. We were now inside the Jazz Cafe, it was buzzing with people, artists and very official looking men and woman. I looked at the stage and noticed a familiar face, It was an X factor winner… “Steve”, He sounded amazing actually, very soulful. All the other artists were watching the auditions, and supporting each other. For me I didn’t have time to think. Only 40 minutes prior I had been freezing from the inside out, and now here I am defrosting in a warm crowded bar. The agent came up to me and said, "I have got you a slot, I want you to play now, If you get through then I am going to represent you". I said ok.
I stepped onto the stage with my amp and guitar, I plugged in and was ready. The sound engineer said I need to plug you into the PA. I responded, No thanks, I prefer my own amp… he looked at me like I was crazy, My amp vs a 15k sound system. But I was confident in my choice to use my own little amp. For me sound can be overbearing when too loud and their PA system was ridiculously loud.
I started my performance and looped my guitar, then started to sing. I played for about 1 min before once of the officials raised his hand to stop. Everyone clapped and I unplugged assuming that was worth a try. As I got off the stage I was suddenly surrounded by the officials and the agent. They all seem to speak at once, is this your agent, when are you available, do you have all your documents in place…. I looked at the agent and said, your my agent at which point all the attention focused on him. It materialised within 10 mins that I was booked on a luxury cruise ship for the next 6 months, by passing the winter, regular money, own cabin, as much food as I wanted and the chance to visit places Ive never been before.
Ive travelled the world, playing music, from London Southbank to Australia and everywhere in between.
This is just a snap shot, many things happened all at once, I was also being vetted before being signed by an amazing manager named David Hockman. David is a music veteran, who saw me at Kings Cross whilst I was busking. He later signed me to BlackList records. We recorded one of my songs in a fancy studio. I think many outside obstacles affected the outcome, and sadly the track didn’t take off. The timing of the release and the avenues just missed out. Its very common with so many artists. Right time, right place.
Since this time I have agreed to quite a few overseas contracts and now work with the amazing agent John @ wavesEntertainment.
To this point the industry has been vastly affected, as with most other organisations due to the the virus. But I am sure a new normal will resume.
The bottom line is, Music and I have always been a unit, anything outside of that unit is a bonus.
Watch this space….