How would you classify your music?
Very much a traditional singer-songwriter. With roots in British folk-rock and also Americana. With a blues influence too.
Who are some of your top 5 musical influences?
Obviously Dylan, Simon and Cohen, but also going back to Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael. Peter Gabriel and Van Morrison are favourites.I am intrigued by the creative process – whether flowing through a blues singer, a jazz artist or a classical composer. I get equally inspired listening to Miles Davis, to Beethoven or to Pink Floyd depending on my mood.
What do you want fans to take from your music?
Many of my songs tell stories, but as with poetry leave the listener with open questions. I welcome their own interpretation. Other songs paint pictures. Mostly they reflect feelings passing through me. I’d love listeners to be drawn back to the songs time and again, allowing different meanings to appear and grow.
How’s the music scene in your locale?
The last two years has hit the music scene in Auckland, New Zealand. But now there is a new determination to perform – house concerts are becoming popular. As less international artists are touring, people are being exposed to local acts. A silver lining perhaps.
When did you know you were destined for music?
Music has been a love since I was a drummer in a primary school band at the age of 11. We played ‘Twist and Shout’, and the Brit-rock of the day. At 14 I heard Bob Dylan on an old gramophone at a school folk club even – and was transfixed. However, I didn’t seriously write songs until I was in my 40s – and recorded my first album. I am also an author and more recently a poet, but have a day job as an MD. Music is a life saver – and a deep love.
What is the best concert you have been to? What do you like most about playing live?
Elton John’s concerts in London in the early 70’s were phenomenal. He’d play for 3 hours, and I believe his longevity is due to his generosity shown to his audience. Playing live is so different to recording in a studio. The songs grow with each performance -and each time they are different. Each song then has a history of its own, and may even grow into something else. Performance is about reaching out and connecting with an audience rather than achieving perfection.
Is there a song on your latest CD release here that stands out as your personal favorite, and why?
The song that is the most profound for me is ‘So Close to the Edge’. I actually wrote this over 20 years ago, but waited for a great guitarist to capture its mood. Nigel Gavin is that player – his two instrumental breaks are mind-blowing, and yes both are first takes. Sonia Wilson provides some amazing vocals too.
How have you evolved as an artist over the last year?
Over the past two to three years, I have performed with a small band – 2 others. And this is different from being mainly a solo artist. I wrote a musical show for our local Fringe Festival which we just fitted in before the first lockdown. And so I have learned to work alongside others, which for me has been deeply rewarding. I read recently someone saying it is important to work alongside musicians better than you!
If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, have a drink with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
I would have loved to have spent some time with Leonard Cohen – I gather he also possessed a very light-hearted sense of humour. Louis Armstrong would have been great company too
What’s next for you?
Obviously promoting ‘Shadowman’ – interviews, small gigs etc. Combining with some poetry set to music. I am also planning a rhythm and blues album – I have written so many ‘gruntier’ songs over the years – and it’ll be fun.
End of Interview