McGoozer – Songs From The Mirror

I recently listened to the title track of this album, ‘Song From The Mirror’, and I can safely say I was hooked. If you read my previous blog post about the single release (link here), you’ll understand. Just sometimes, you hear a song, a vocal, that catches you off guard. It hits your senses and just touches you. Well, I can say with total justification that the whole album did just that too. McGoozer was kind enough to send me a Soundcloud preview link to listen to before the album release and I could not stop playing it. The album is now out there for all of you on iTunes and other outlets.

As a fellow singer/songwriter, I get how hard it is to get that lyric right, that arrangement exactly how you want it. It’s tough. This album sums up how hard work and dedication pays off. It also takes you on that emotional journey that an album should. I was an eighties kid and vinyl albums were my thing, but more importantly, that particular decade gave us some great music and McGoozer gives me that warm, comfortable, eighties feeling I used to have when I bought a new album and had to play it over and over (much to my parents disapproval…LOL).

So here’s that album review I promised……song by song.

 Song From The Mirror

(As per my initial review of the song in my previous blog – link here). The first thing that caught me about this song was the delicious little guitar riff that opens the track, combined with a nice little rocky drum beat. Then the vocals. What can I say? Melodic, gentle, clean and pure. I was hooked and I knew this was a SONG. Not just a song, but a SONG. A good friend of mine (and McGoozer’s) is a rather tall chap called Tim Fraser. He told me once that if a song is a good song, it can be covered any number of times, in any style, and still sound good. This is one of those songs and with the addition of McGoo’s clean vocals of light and shade providing us with delicious ear candy, and with some damn talented musicians in the McGoozer band, you just can’t ask for a nicer sound. The song builds and builds as a subliminal pop rock track with rocky slide guitars, tight drums and a decisive bass line that keeps that back-line rhythm tidy. It even has a traditional vocal middle eight that lifts the song up and down in a melodic surfing wave that ties in beautifully with the subtle addition of keyboards in the mix as well.

Falling Out Of Love

With its tight bass line and funky 80’s guitars, this one has a bit of the Nik Kershaw about it. It has some lovely orchestration hiding in there, with a lovely range of vocals delivered by McGoozer. Outstanding points for me were the atmospheric drop before each chorus with some rocking keyboards!

Walk Run Fly

I really love the lyrics to this song. Uplifting. It has a nice moody opening guitar with a great orchestration arrangement once again. Plus, I am loving the drum fills on this, combined with some superb lead and backing vocals here. I am loving those delicious keys towards end of the track too!

One And Only Girl

I am just LOVING the ukulele on this! Such a great uplifting happy love song. This brings back some old memories of hot days in Florida driving along freeways with the windows down. There is some lovely use of brass and a xylophone in there as well. Not sure if I heard a triangle but who knows (wink)? As usual, McGoozer delivers some sublime vocals here too. One of those songs that reminds you of happy days in the sun.

My Sweet Butterfly

There is a palpable eighties feel to the guitars and vocals on this great track. There’s that, combined with the great Bond-style orchestration and production with a great range being displayed by McGoozer on lead vocals. The bassline and drums keep this song tidy and clean too with some nice work on the backline. The backing vocals are absolutely sublime, adding even more to the Bond theme orchestration. Check out the lovely jangly acoustic on that middle eight too!

Easy To Love You

This is such a beautiful flowing love song with my favourite, jangly acoustics and lead guitar. A great soulful vocal is provided by McGoozer, with some really heartfelt lyrics. As a songwriter, these are often the hardest lyrics to write as you put your heart on your sleeve to the world. Overall, a great rocky love ballad. Love it!

Stand Up

The gorgeously soft piano accompanying McGoozers soulful voice on the opening of this track gives it a lovely soft focus feel as the song builds with soft bass, drums and guitars. Moody, soulful with a bit of rockiness. There are some really lovely lyrics in here with deep meaning and combined with the plush, soft strings in there too, the song is lifted and delivered beautifully.

Breathe Again

Uplifting, inspirational…need I say more? The lyrics say it all. Breathing again after being through it. We’ve all been there, right? The flowing guitars and orchestration with the trademark tight bass and drums keep the song tidy. The lead vocal from McGoozer is soulful, from the heart, and just lifts you. A great song, great lyrics, great arrangement. Nice!

Stronger

As the song opens, there’s some beautifully played soft guitar and keys, allowing McGoozer to open the song with a complimenting soft, gentle vocal. The song then opens in to a bouncy, rocky track with some great McGoozer vocals and lyrics. Again, McGoozer catches the heartstrings with this one. Imagine the soft-focus music video with the couple in love. It all works. Again, that great bass and drum backline holds it all together with some divine female backing vocals kicking in too. Great love song material.

Close Your Eyes

As this song kicked in through the K-Roks in my studio, it just HAD to be turned up! There’s an almost Hispanic flamenco Shakira feel going on here as the song opens in to a great rock track with some sublime strings and vocals. This is one of those goosebumps tracks for me with keys and orchestration that simply ROCK. The driving bass line with great drum fills gets it really up there. It just crys out to be played LOUD. Check out the lead guitar which has some great moments in here. It’s a really driven song with some incredible backing vocals in there too!

Lullaby

Have you ever been in love? This one really gets it. It has such a lovely moody intro. Wow. There’s the trademark soulful lead vocal from McGoozer and a TOTAL mood change from the ‘Close Your Eyes’ song before it. Keep that track order and don’t shuffle! It takes you on a nice emotional rollercoaster if you don’t shuffle! The two tracks are great goosebumps material with the lead guitar on being so soulful and it matches the emotion on McGoozers heartfelt vocals, making for a great track.

Last Goodbye

There’s some pure clean guitar work here and McGoozer vocals kicking out some really heart-on-the-sleeve lyrics. Again, the clean bass and drums keeps it all in line with some great six-string accompaniment too. McGoozer’s vocals never fail to please and with such a lovely range of light and dark, it amounts to a wonderful song with such great bittersweet lyrics.

I can safely say that this will be a regularly played album here at home in the studio as I work. A lot of my day job work involves sitting at a keyboard writing and the headphones are often on, to give me musical accompaniment as I sit there typing away, to hit client deadlines. McGoozer makes the day go by a little more smoothly with this one, and as a fellow muso, I can safely say, fair play, this one rocks.

Nice work, McGoozer!

SCB x

‘SONG FROM THE MIRROR’ – McGOOZER

Just once in a while, a song pops up on the radar that totally catches you. It gives you goosebumps, and has you chair-dancing while you are office bound to a deadline you need to meet. That song then incentivizes you to be better and to get that work completed and ready. “Song From The Mirror” from McGoozer is exactly one of those songs.

McGoozer have been on the periphery of my radar, and I have a feeling we have even been in the same room sometimes at various music events and gatherings but our paths have never crossed. Such is the karma of the music industry. Until today, when I saw the release of ‘Song From The Mirror’ on Facebook and just clicked on play. Wow. No words, just wow.

The first thing that caught me was the delicious little guitar riff that opens the track, combined with a nice little rocky drum beat. Then the vocals. What can I say? Melodic, gentle, clean and pure. I was hooked and I knew this was a SONG. Not just a song, but a SONG. A good friend of mine (and McGoozer’s) is a rather tall chap called Tim Fraser. He told me once that if a song is a good song, it can be covered any number of times, in any style, and still sound good. This is one of those songs and with the addition of McGoo’s clean vocals of light and shade providing us with delicious ear candy, and with some damn talented musicians in the McGoozer band, you just can’t ask for a nicer sound.

The song builds and builds as a subliminal pop rock track with rocky slide guitars, tight drums and a decisive bass line that keeps that back-line rhythm tidy. It even has a traditional vocal middle eight that lifts the song up and down in a melodic surfing wave that ties in beautifully with the subtle addition of keyboards in the mix as well.

It’s a great title track from the forthcoming album ‘Songs From The Mirror’ due out VERY soon!

“Song From The Mirror” was released yesterday and can be downloaded on iTunes here:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/song-from-the-mirror-single/id1268194826

Or, better still, go pre-order the album on iTunes here: –

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/songs-from-the-mirror/id1258349926

The video on McGoozer’s Facebook page is here: –

 

Enjoy it. Share it. Tell your friends.

All us musicians need you to make a noise about our work. McGoozer is one artist that we should shout about. You can find out more about McGoozer over on their website, https://mcgoozer.com/

SCB x

When I Get Home – Lost Hollow: EP Review

I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Tommy and Lorrie Harden at a Music Geisha networking event in London, courtesy of the delightful Music Geisha herself, Rowena Morgan. Not only was the proverbial selfie taken by me with them both, but they performed standing on a table in a small bar. Their beautiful harmonies and obvious chemistry made the hairs on my neck stand up. Haunting, beautiful and delicious. They have this knack of making their music sound so familiar but so new. You think to yourself, “I have heard this somewhere before” but you haven’t. Their music lulls you in to that gorgeous, comfortable place. You know what I mean, that duvet moment on a Sunday morning, those old jeans you won’t throw away because they are just so damn comfortable, the old armchair that you still curl up in to watch a silly movie on a rainy day. You know exactly what I mean, right?

As a muso myself (you didn’t know?), I know that we all aspire to come up with that one song, that one harmony or melody that just catches us, makes us catch our breath, lift up the hairs on our neck, and then we know that we have something. It takes a combination of vocals, harmonies, arrangement, instrumentation, the works. Well, Lost Hollow have that in spades. This EP is pure, it is real and just catches you in THAT place. Every song is relatable. You can apply them to YOUR lives, YOUR experiences, YOUR life. That is what makes a GREAT song. Well, these guys create GREAT songs. Not just the one, but many. Ever since I heard that impromptu London performance, standing on a table, I just knew these guys were deserving of their accolades. Don’t just take my word for it. Go watch the short documentary on their website, recorded at Lattitude South studios in South Tennessee at www.losthollowband.com. You will need to enter an email address but make sure you do. Listen to the testimonials from the guys they have working in the studio with them. And these are guys who have been there, done it AND got the t-shirt. Watch it all the way through and see that Lost Hollow is a family affair too. Watch the chemistry between Tommy and Lorrie. It is a pleasure to see two singers so connected. You will want to hear more from these guys, I am sure!

So, onward, here’s the review: –

LostHollow_WhenIGetHomeEP1

TRACK 1 – When I Get Home

Fun, cheerful, catchy. This is such a great song. It wraps you up and pulls you in immediately. I was tapping my foot from the first guitar riff. It is a simple song, all about what will happen “when I get home”. Naughty but true! Not explicit but just flirty. I love the line about the text lighting up the phone and the Johnny Cash reference too. Lyrically current but still sounding real country. The alternate verses between Tommy and Lorrie are just so good to hear and their combined vocals on the chorus are sublime. Watch the performance on the documentary video and see the eye contact and the smiles. It’s a happy song. A song about missing that special person after being away from them. A celebration of that love between two people who have missed each other. A superb title track for the EP.

TRACK 2 – I Love Me Some You

The REM-like intro on this is just downright catchy. Like I said, these guys make you think you have heard the song before and give you that familiarity that just draws you in. Another song about appreciating the one you love, and all their good bits. As the song says, I love me some you. Great play on words in the lyrics. The harmonies are delicious and the musicality on this song is pure professionalism. Clean and tight and the back-line bass and drums by Nathan Sexton and Dave LaBruyere in the video are nigh on perfect on this. Again, a catchy little number from the first line onwards.

TRACK 3 – We Both Lose

A darker, more sombre track. That moment when you should say goodbye. That moment when you must walk away. The pedalsteel/slide guitar on this brings the mood down a notch to let you know that things aren’t working. The vocal harmonies are so pure in here and they put across that sadness. We’ve all been there, and if you haven’t, this song just plays in to that vibe, that moment when it becomes apparent that things aren’t good. It is beautiful, and sad, but just sucks you in to that moment once more. This would be a great movie soundtrack song about that break-up, that big goodbye that wells up the tears. Again, though, pure professionalism through and through. A great, great “sad” song.

TRACK 4 – Falling

Written by the delightfully tall Tim Fraser for no other than Tina Turner. Not an original song written by the band but when given the Lost Hollow treatment, I must say that it is just divine. A love song that lifts the heart and makes the hairs on my neck stand up. A perfect wedding song. You know the one. The first dance, the dance that brings tears of happiness to the eyes as you watch the happy couple dance, knowing that they are just so much in love. Lyrically, this song is beautiful (thanks, Tim) but with Lost Hollow performing it, it is made just that little bit more beautiful. Listen out for the delicious violin playing by Jimmy Mattingly in the video. Just wonderful.

TRACK 5 – I Am

This track is uplifting, positive, anthemic even. When I heard this for the first time, it just lifted my spirits in the same way Wilson Phillips did with the song Hold On back in the eighties (showing my age). It made me smile. It made me think, yep, I am. I am all the above, but I am me. It’s one of those songs that lifts you. It’s bouncy and has that little bounce in its step that bounces you along with it, with a great drum beat. I was tapping away to this without even knowing it, smiling and thinking about good things I want to do, to achieve. Uplifting, positive and the last few lines gave me those goose bumps that let me know that this is one of those songs that will always sound great and will never leave my playlist.

So, in conclusion? Lost Hollow are just one of those bands that I just love (could you tell?). But not just for the great music. Their songs are fine, and will stand the test of time, I am sure, but I have seen Tommy and Lorrie sing together with no band, just intimately in a pub bar, and even then, the purity of their vocals just shone through. Their chemistry was obvious. Their harmonies clean and pure. From one muso to another, just don’t stop, guys, keep going and doing what you’re doing.

Get the EP on iTunes: https://itun.es/gb/kwHDjb

www.losthollowband.com

SCB x

 

Have I missed something…?

Well, here’s the scene. Bryant Towers. Getting coffee. Turn on Auntie Beeb. Radio 2, to be precise. Sara Cox standing in for Monsieur Christophe Evans. And what comes blaring out? Steps. Yep, Steps.  With their NEW single? You know the culprits; Claire, H, Faye, Lee and Lisa. This is THE Steps. The ones I had to tolerate blaring out in the car when the kids were small. If you’re a parent of a certain age, you will know the embarrassment factor. Pulling up in the supermarket car park with “Tragedy” at full volume, all the windows down, kids dancing EVERY move in the back. The old ladies casting scurrilous glances at you for disturbing the peace. You know the drill, right?

So, with Steps blaring out on Radio2, I enjoy the first sips of my Ristretto and here’s a thought that springs to mind. Putting the “delightful” Brexit to one side for the moment, why the hell did Steps not do Eurovision for us? Their sickeningly catchy pop disco beats (yes, I am now humming the damn song because you just do) are SO Euro pop. You cannot listen to them without tapping your foot a little, or as I used to, tap the steering wheel, with the kids singing EVERY memorized word on the back seat.

I even jumped on YouTube to check out if there was a video. Lo and behold, there was. And none of them look any different! Have I gone back in time here? Have I missed something? Claire even has her short hair again and does that pouty thing when she hits the high notes.

So why is the masculine old rocker raving on about Steps, you may ask? Well, here’s why. Steps, back in the day, had a GREAT formula that was SUCCESSFUL. VERY successful. And what is lovely to see is that they have kept it. They haven’t changed it to be “mainstream” or “current”. The look and feel is EXACTLY the same and they have made sure of that. There are many artists, new, old, charting, trending (whatever term is current – sic) who strive to be the next big thing. Well, instead of striving, consider this. Have you already got a sound, a look, a thing? Is it successful? More to the point, is it you? Is it true to your music, your art? Do you already have a fan base who follow you for YOU?

So, here’s my point. A good song is a good song. Period. A good formula is a good formula. Period. Steps have just nailed it for me this morning by being Steps. Ed Sheeran does the same thing. Ed is just Ed. But because he is Ed, he is loved and listened to the world over and has his own successful formula. The trick is to find that formula, that algorithm, that equation that works for you. You may already have it but you just don’t realise it yet. But if you do have it, keep it. Own it. Make it yours and make it work for you.

I have two great friends in a band; Randy Scott and Randy Young, otherwise known as Cherry Suede. They work damn hard at what they do and their following grows day by day, purely because they know what works. They have a great internet presence, travel and work hard playing live, and all of their music is under the Creative Commons licence; free to download but you cannot sell it on. They have built a great fanbase this way and if you don’t believe me go check their stats. They have their own formula and it works for them. They put loads of live video up on their YouTube channel and encourage their fans to do the same. It works.

Check their channel out here (https://www.youtube.com/user/CherrySuede)

As an artist and a musician you need to develop you, just you. If you’re a band, develop the personas in the band. Every fan will have a favourite. But most importantly, you need to monitor this. How do you do that? At a basic level, it’s really simple. Look at your numbers. Look at your YouTube views. If you don’t have YouTube, why the hell not? Here’s a quote I heard once, “A&R listen with their eyes”. Go look at the new Steps video. A visual feast. Good looking people, singing and dancing, with the usual Steps sound. It works and it will do well. Of course it will. So make yours do the same.

And I still think they should do Eurovision.

Love and peace,

SCB x

Another trip around the sun…

Well, here we are again. Another year flies by, and we are all another year older, and some might say, another year wiser (albeit that might not be the case in some people I know, including me).

2016 has not been a good year for me personally for numerous reasons and you may have noticed me not on the social media radar that often. As they say, shit happens and you move on. Life is just way too damn short and you just make sure you love the ones who stay with you, who are loyal. You make sure you love what you have, not what you want. Those loved ones will ALWAYS look after you, no matter what. Hug them, often. Tell them that you love them. EVERY….SINGLE….DAY….because one day, they might not be there.

It is coming up to the start of another year. Personally, for me, 2016 can’t end fast enough, for many reasons. Plus, it has been a year where many of my inspirations have passed and gone to that big circus in the sky, leaving the insane circus, here on earth, behind. We lost Bowie, Prince, and recently, Carrie Fisher, George Michael and Debbie Reynolds to name just a few. A good friend of mine on Facebook listed all of the people we have lost in 2016, and it makes for scary reading. It makes you think about your mortality, your humility, how you conduct yourself in this world, and how you will make sure you leave some sort of legacy, however small, behind. It is not a rehearsal, guys, use the time you have here on this mortal coil and put it to good use.

The world is becoming tougher and the only way we will get through is by being positive and focused, but at the same time showing consideration, tolerance, humility and grace. Rise above it all. Be you and be the you that YOU want to be. Love what you have, not what you want. Make sure you hug your loved ones and enjoy every second. Life is too short not to. Glad tidings to all, and I hope you all have a great New Years Eve and here’s to a great 2017. Much love and peace to all of you, wherever you may be.

SCB

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SCB on the radio….

Hello all!

Yep, been a bit off the radar for a while, haven’t I?

Joys of running two businesses, being a parent and working on the forthcoming EP and the new album, Midnight In Paris!

On the plus side, I have been on the radio a bit recently, promoting the new music.

I was on the The Irish Jinger Show and The Douglas Coleman Show, and I have dropped in the links below: –

12th Feb 2016 – The Irish Jinger Show

23rd Feb 2016 – The Douglas Coleman Show

Both links go to my Mixcloud page, so please have a listen and please share!

Love and peace,

SCB x

RIP Sir Tel….you will be missed.

 

VARIOUS - APR 2004

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Richard Saker/REX/Shutterstock (448828c) TERRY WOGAN VARIOUS – APR 2004

I read the news today, oh boy…..

In the immortal words of The Beatles, I was gutted, I was heartbroken. Sir Tel had gone. Another one of my heroes has left us for the big studio in the sky. Sir Terry (or Sir Tel as he was known in my house) had been with me since I was about six years old, so roughly forty years. I remember my parents old house in Fleet, Hampshire, on Connaught Road. The old yellow plastic radio was always tuned to Radio 2 and Sir Tel was always on as I ate breakfast. He used to play some crazy Greek music thing, if my memory serves me rightly, and as that came on, I used to leave the house to walk up the road to an friends house, who used to take me and her son to school. Wow, those were the days. It must have been 1976 or 1977, and the high point of a weekend was bombing around Oakley Park on my blue and yellow bike with playing cards, cloth-pegged to the wheels, making a God awful racket. Innocent, halcyon days of my childhood, where Sir Tel’s voice in the morning as I ate my Shreddies, was a bit of security blanket. His Irish blarney was not fully understood at that age but as I grew up and became a teenager, I began to often laugh out loud to Sir Tel in the mornings and grew to love his laid back way and his slightly absurd humour.

Life moved on. I married, had kids and still Sir Tel was always on in the mornings. I listened religiously as I drove in to London early every morning, laughing out loud to jokes, crying with laughter on the M25 to the Janet and John stories, much to the amusement of other drivers stuck in the peak hour traffic. Sir Tel was a tonic, who could only cheer you on those dark, awful motorways on a cold winter’s morning. As soon as I put the car radio on back in those days, there was always a smile and the BBC often put other great DJ’s on too, when Sir and Lady Wogan went on their hols. Richard Allison and Richard Madeley often stood in and they were great, but nothing could surpass Sir Tel. I still remember wearing the bloody Pudsey suit (twice!) for my local Round Table at the time for Sir Tel’s charity of choice, Children In Need. You lose pounds in those suits, I can tell you, but I look back on those times fondly. It was my little bit for Children In Need after all.

So, my life has moved on as well. I have been through many changes over the years. The last couple of years, especially. I lost people and family I thought I would not lose, and lost family I knew had to go at some time. All of them listened to Sir Tel. My grandfather died at 99 in August 2014. He served in Normandy in WWII, and I can always remember if we were at my grandparents house of a morning, Sir Tel was on, on Radio 2. Sir Tel was everywhere and was a national treasure.

When I told my son (now fourteen) that Sir Tel had died this morning, he was a little crestfallen. He knew exactly who Sir Tel was, and that was his magic. He spanned generations because he was timeless. My son grew up with Sir Tel on the radio as I had done in the mornings, a generation before.

A number of my musician friends have been on Sir Tel’s show, including the lovely Emma Stevens, whose tribute on her blog is right here. He also hosted the English version of Eurovision for many years, his erudite, scathing wit providing many laughs as I grew up. His appearance on Never Mind The Buzzcocks was pure hilarity. You can see it on YouTube below.

Terry, you will be missed, my old friend. I never met you, but I always felt I knew you. You were that distant friend that I often talked to when I was in the car alone, or in the kitchen washing up the dishes after the kids had gone to school.

I send my dearest condolences to your family and friends and we all know that you were unique. There will never be another Sir Tel on Radio 2, but let’s celebrate your memory by remembering how you always made us laugh and smile, and brought cheer to many a cold, dark, winter’s morning. RIP, and I hope you are raising a few laughs up there with that Irish blarney of yours.

SCB x

 

 

How Long Will I Love You?

Yep, I haven’t been around for a while. I know, my bad but life does that to you sometimes. Let’s just say that I have had a lot to deal with. I am not going to burden you with the details, but let’s just say that I have lost someone who was once important in my life, and it has given me a whole new set of circumstances that I never thought I would have to deal with.

Life is a crazy thing. One day, there you are, going through your usual routine, and then you get a phone call that changes everything. Your life is turned upside-down and you really do wonder if you will cope with the changes that are thrown at you. These changes aren’t small changes either. They will change the way your life moves in every way; some better, some worse, some just damn complicated.

What defines you as a person is how you deal with the changes that are thrown at you. Will you face them? Will you run away and hide? Will you come out fighting? When it comes to my children, I have had to be strong. I have had to put my emotions on hold, to ensure that the person they see is their dad, the person they look up to in their moment of need. A dad who has strength, who will nurture them, care for them and fight for them.

On the plus side, my relationship with my children has never been stronger and I am so proud of both of them. They have proved to be resilient and strong, and at the same time, sensitive, funny and mature. I could not ask more of them at this point in our lives together. Children are a blessing and I love my two dearly and the bond I have with them I will defend until my dying day.

I won’t go in to detail, but this is my second chance. It is rare you get another go at something you totally screwed up first time around. I have to make sure that I am the person my children want me to be but, more importantly, I have to be the person I want myself to be too. For someone to be proud of who YOU are, you have to be proud of yourself too. It is the only way. If you can’t be proud of yourself, it just won’t work.

As I sit here, on a train, typing this, there is a rainbow rising out of a field, out of the window. Rainbows are one of nature’s beautiful things. Something you look at and smile. Here’s a question to you all. When you look in to the mirror are you proud of what you see? I don’t mean whether your hair looks good, or if you have gained a few extra wrinkles here and there either. Are you proud of YOU? Do you look at yourself and think that you are what you want to be? If you don’t think that, why not? Can you make a change that WILL make you proud? I HAD to make changes in my life, due to the package of circumstances thrown at me. I had no choice, but I look in the mirror now and I see progress. I’m not perfect, I have my faults. But I can see change going in the right direction. I can see how things are getting better and moving forward. I can hug my kids in the knowledge that they love their dad, and they know that I love them with all my heart.

So, why am I writing all this down, you ask yourselves? Well, I believe that if I can demonstrate that you can get through life, no matter what it throws at you, it might just inspire someone else to feel the same way. It might just encourage someone to get through their own little battle they are fighting. We all have things in our lives that can make our lives better or worse. What decides the outcome is how we face those things. If I can help someone get through their moment of need by writing this down and giving them the hope they need, my job is done.

As you all know, I am a musician. A singer and a songwriter. I normally write my own material, but a certain song gave me hope when I heard it at a time of need. I mentioned earlier that I had a phone call that changed my life forever. The day after that call I heard the Ellie Goulding version of this song, as I was walking to the train station to head home. The song is “How Long Will I Love You”. Originally written by Mike Scott and performed by The Waterboys. The lyrics to this song just caught me, at that particular moment in time. So much so, that I stood outside the bar where I heard the Ellie Goulding version, listening to the song in its entirety, shedding a few tears.

Working with my producer, Adam, we recorded a cover version of the song in his small home studio. The day I went there to record the vocal, I was nervous. It is a BIG song that requires control and decorum on the main vocal and I just hoped my voice was up to the job in hand. Fortunately, it was and we created a version that I will love and cherish for all time. Adam even commented that as he was doing the final mix of the song, my delivery of the last two lines brought a lump to his throat. I sincerely hope I have done the song justice, especially as the song was recorded for my children. It was recorded to let them both know that I love them and cherish them and, most importantly, that I will be there for them until the end of time. They have both heard the song and have given it their blessing, which is all I need. Listen to the lyrics and you will understand exactly why I have recorded it.

I am proud of the cover version I have recorded and proud of the children I have recorded it for. I am also proud of myself for making the decision just to go for it and make the leap to record a cover version of a classic song. It is my first cover recording and it means the world to me.

So next time you are looking in that mirror, just think about if you are proud of what you have done or are going to do. Lift up your chin and look yourself right in the eye and make yourself proud of YOU. Then, you know that your loved ones will be proud of you too.

Wishing you and yours the best of everything life has to offer, with much love and peace,

SCB x

PS – You can listen to the cover version of “How Long Will I Love You” over on SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/shauncbryant/how-long-will-i-love-you-1

AN OPEN LETTER TO DANIEL EK, CEO OF SPOTIFY

Dear Daniel,

You won’t know me. I am just one of the little people who has indirectly contributed to your vast fortune of a mere £190million.

(Source – The Sunday Times – http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/public/richlist/article1024783.ece)

I am writing to you to let you know that you will be a few pounds down on that fortune of yours by next week because I am withdrawing my album and singles from Spotify. You probably won’t even notice because the revenue I make for you won’t even pay for a quick visit to your local Starbuck’s.

And that’s where your business model is killing the industry for independent artists such as myself. I can’t even consider a full-time career as a musician because if I did, I would be living on the streets, with the pittance I earn from streaming revenue. The 0.005p I get per stream of each of my songs on Spotify has made me about £20 in revenue over the years I have had my music there. Even if I had had the equivalent purchases on iTunes I would have made probably five times more than that. Not much, I hear you say, but definitely more.

I am one of the lucky ones. I have a “dayjob” that pays reasonably well, and makes sure that I can pay my rent every month. This gives me a degree of freedom. But there are many of us out there who have given their entire life to their art, and are struggling, day in and day out, to make ends meet with their music. These are the artists I admire and respect and hold dear. They have integrity, tenacity and the will to fight the corporations (such as Spotify) who hold this industry to ransom.

Now, I am not a massive Taylor Swift fan, but I do admire her take on the industry, and I have to admit, I am proud of her (and Scott Borchetta) for making a stand. She is totally justified to want to be paid for what she does. She does it well. She has a huge fanbase, and makes the big bucks, and she is an artist, just like the rest of us. Imagine if Taylor Swift were a plumber (just try for me, ok?) and she had turned up to fix a leaking pipe for you. She would want to be paid for the work completed. Any craftsperson would. This is what she wants and this is why she has pulled away from Spotify, because she is not getting paid for her craft. It is THAT simple.

When you offer out a stream of a song to a Spotify customer, you are strangling the supply chain. You are taking away money from the artist, and the associated workforce around that artist. A song does not cost 0.005p to record, produce, mix and then master. It can cost thousands of pounds/dollars/euros. Who has to foot that bill for the independent artist? The artist, of course. Why do you think so many indie artists are turning to fan-funding and crowd-funding? They are just not making any money anymore from their existing catalogue to allow them to move forward and create that next song, that next EP, that next album.

Now, I work in computers for my dayjob. I love technology, and some might just class me as a bit of a geek. I completely understand that progress HAS to be made, especially in the music industry, which to me, is completely broken at the moment. Until corporations such as Spotify, start addressing their business model to make it fair to the artist, we (the artists) are always going to lose out. Sure, iTunes was one of the pioneers who started this whole streaming/download society we have today, but at least, with iTunes, you get some sort of money for what you create and sell. I pay £0.79 on average for each song I download on iTunes, and at least a third of that goes to the artist. I can’t quote on exact figures, because we all have differing agreements with managers, labels etc, but for arguments sake, let’s just say that for each song of mine I got £0.30 out of every £0.79 on iTunes. That would be SIXTY times more than each listen on Spotify. So my track would have to be listened to SIXTY times before I earned what I get on Spotify per stream.

Now that is just an example, but it gets across my argument. It also gets across Taylor Swift’s argument too. I believe she has only made about $500,000 from her Spotify streams. Sure, that may sound like a fortune, and to me as an artist, it is. But to Taylor Swift, it is an insult to her fanbase, her art and her bank balance. When she tours, she has to fork out millions for road crew, tour buses, agents, promo, the works. How is she meant to do that when she gets a pittance from her Spotify streams? That money has to be found to pay the associated workforce around her and regardless of how “big” she is, this money has to be found.

It really doesn’t matter how “big” an artist you are. It is the principle of being paid for what you do. The same is happening in the live music industry too. Up and coming small independent artists are getting offered “pay to play” gigs with more established, well known band and artists. This is just not right. Anyone who plays SHOULD be paid. It is their work, their livelihood, their art, their craft and they have spent years getting to that point to be able to get out on that stage and perform.

I digress. Back to Spotify. I mentioned that I have a dayjob, and I own my own little business. If I was paid by my clients in the same way Spotify pays me as an artist, I would be bankrupt and penniless. I get paid for the work that I do. Period. Now some say that Spotify is a great way of getting your music out there. Yes, I see that point but at the same time, I have plenty of other platforms to put my music on and get exposure. Someone once told that exposure won’t feed the kids and he was damn right. Artists have to be paid and, to be honest, Daniel, you are just NOT paying them enough. In fact, you are paying them a pittance. I know that you have commented in the press that you have given back money to the artists and you have quoted big, multi-million figures. Now that is all well and good but I come from an age where vinyl was king. If I wanted to hear a song, I had to go to my local Woolworth’s and but a vinyl single at about £1.99. Yes, times have changed, but at least iTunes have tried to maintain some sort of structure where money goes to the particular artist who has their music downloaded on their platform.

So, here is the rub. You have lost me, both as a consumer, and as an artist who had their music available on Spotify to the masses. As I said, you won’t even notice I have gone, but that is MY decision. MY decision as that independent artist. Just like it was Taylor Swift’s decision to remove her work from Spotify too. To me it not about the money. I don’t make anywhere near what Taylor does (I wish). But it IS about my art. The art I have worked my ass off to create. The songs I have written at 3am in the morning. The songs I have written from the heart and soul and put out there to my fans so that they get a little piece of me that they can relate to their own lives. The songs that SHOULD make me some money. Not millions, but enough money to give me that degree of self-worth and self-esteem to keep writing, recording and performing.

I really do hope that you read this, Daniel, and maybe you will even understand what I am saying. I sincerely hope you see my point of view. But here is what I hope for even more. I hope that EVERY independent artist I know reads this and makes a stand. I hope that they, too, remove their work from Spotify as well, and that way, we begin to make a dent in your model, in your financial eco-system, so that you sit up and take notice. Maybe then, you will realise that us artists are people worthy of being paid for what we do best…..creating music.

SCB

(PS – for those of you who want to hear my music, please visit my SoundCloud page at http://soundcloud.com/shauncbryant)

(PPS – all of my iTunes links are on my SoundCloud tracks)

PRESS RELEASE – SCB Music Ltd – 30th October 2014

SCB Music Limited are pleased to announce to the new single release from Shaun C Bryant.

“How Long Will I Love You” has been a big hit for Mike Scott and the Waterboys and was a chart hit for Ellie Goulding who covered the track in 2012, both for BBC’s Children In Need and for the original soundtrack of the Richard Curtis movie, About Time.

SCB has recorded this track for purely personal reasons. After recent bereavements in his life, and a change of circumstances, he has dedicated this song to his children who have supported him throughout this difficult period.

The SCB cover version embraces aspects of Scott’s original recording as well as Goulding’s cover version, but also applies the melodic rocky SCB style we all know and love.

This track also introduces the new working relationship between SCB and producer Adam Horrell of Cowbell Recording. After a short hiatus, SCB is now back in to writing and recording material for his second album, Midnight In Paris, and recording all the tracks at Cowbell Recording in south London, in preparation for an album release in 2015.

You can listen to the track on SCB’s Soundcloud page here: –

https://soundcloud.com/shauncbryant/how-long-will-i-love-you-1

For all management queries, please contact SCB’s management team:-

manangement@scbmusicltd.com

For all publishing queries, please contact Richard Jackson-Bass or Jane Henley at SPEEGRA: –

richard@speegra.com

jane@speegra.com

For all publicity and PR, please contact Cindy D’Adamo at LadyLake Music: –

cindydadamo@comcast.net