- How did you get your initial start in music?
Well I started taking piano lessons aged 7 and then wrote my first song around the age of 10. However, it took a further 20 years before my first big break. In 2006 I wrote a song called ‘This Is my Dream’ in which I channeled all the obstacles and frustration I had experienced over the years of trying to get a break in the industry. It was a very raw and defiant song about not wanting to give up on my dream of becoming a songwriter. I uploaded the song online to websites like Myspace and ReverbNation and then it pretty much just sat there for six years and no one really listened to it except for my family and friends. Then fast forward to 2012, I got an email out of the blue from Universal Music in Hong Kong who had received a request from a TV network in China to use my song ‘This Is My Dream’ as a theme song for the launch of the new network. I signed a publishing contract with them and then just over a year later the song ended up reaching number 1 on the iTunes chart and even outsold releases that week from Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. It was such an unexpected surprise but a beautiful outcome to all of those years of perseverance and struggle when it felt like no one, at least in the UK, would give my music a chance.
- What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?
I think now, after my success in China, I would still very much like to have my music heard back in the UK and the West in general as that is where I was born and where I’ve lived most of my life. Aside from that, my intention for writing songs from day one remains the same – to try and provide some form of inspiration, comfort or healing through music. I consider my niche to be pop songs with an inspirational message. I think we need more songs out there that help people through hard times and ultimately inspire hope.
- How long have you been writing your own music?
I wrote my first song at age 10 and it was called ‘I Have A Voice’. It wasn’t the best but I remember feeling so proud at the time that I had managed to write a song entirely by myself that I could sit and play at the piano. I’ve been writing songs ever since. I didn’t socialise as a teenager as I spent all my free time writing songs or recording at a local studio. I worked every odd job that you can imagine to save up money to afford studio time. From cleaning nursing homes to washing up, working in a hospital for five years to telesales – I took on any job I could find to fund studio time.
- Who are your top three influences and why?
The song that first inspired my love for music and songwriting was Mariah Carey’s Hero. For me that song is the perfect marriage of melody and lyric. It’s stood the test of time and is still played on radio all over the world. I like the empowering message in the lyrics about inner strength and learning how to love and accept yourself. The way that song impacted me and gave me hope growing up was like a lifeline for me and made me understand first hand the power of music. From that day on I wanted to try and write a song that one day might be able to inspire someone else. My other major influences were Tracy Chapman’s first album for its socially conscious lyrics and Alicia Keys whose skills on the piano blow me away.
- Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?
I’m particularly proud of this album because I wrote and produced every song in its entirety. They’re pop songs with a message. As my life has truly been a roller-coaster these past few years the songs are my account of those highs and lows and ultimately I hope they will serve to help motivate, uplift and inspire.
- Where are you based and what’s your local scene like? Any favourite venues?
I was born and raised in Worthing in southern England, but two years ago I relocated to Hong Kong after the success of my music there. There are many talented musicians here in Hong Kong who have really studied and perfected their craft. There aren’t too many music venues here for up-and-coming bands, but I did enjoy playing my first concert in Hong Kong at Youth Square Y-Theatre to an audience of 600. I also played a more intimate gig at a venue called Backstage Live which has now unfortunately closed. There is a good venue that I know of for jazz music called Orange Peel. I hope they will soon open more live music venues.
- Who else can you recommend from your local scene for people to have a listen to?
A young singer/songwriter by the name of Chlara. She’s from the Philippines and writes and performs all of her own songs with a beautiful acoustic sound that is reminiscent of Eva Cassidy. There’s also another young Filipinia artist called Yumi Chung. Last year I was teaching her vocal lessons in Hong Kong. She has huge potential and has already made it through to The Voice of the Philippines.
- Give our readers a round up of where they can find you online and hear more of your music.