I’ve tried a few times over the last forty years to break into the music business. Looking back, it’s not hard to work out why I failed to succeed in the music business.
It all began in my early teens when I was obsessed with writing poetry. I started learning the guitar around my fourteenth birthday and began writing songs. It was a natural progression. I tried to write a rock musical instead of concentrating on my O Levels, which never made it to production.
That aside, I left school with visions of becoming the British equivalent of Sheryl Crow and playing to vast audiences across the country. I soon found out that breaking into the music biz is a pretty damn hard nut to crack.
In those days, recording yourself, putting your heart and soul into your songs, and sticking them on YouTube with the hope of becoming an overnight music sensation, just wasn’t an option. In fact, when I left school, I didn’t even have the most basic of recording equipment. To get any recognition, you needed to be in the right place at the right time. I was in rural Gloucestershire, with a widowed mother and a need to start earning some money.
I drifted from one job I hated to another. Music was still very much in my life, but I was only playing to capacity crowds in my bedroom.
Life carries you along at such a pace, and your teenage dreams inevitably fade, as you get sucked into the nine to five working life. In my spare time, I wrote and recorded hundreds of songs on to cassette tapes and never got anywhere with them.
Much later on, I was still writing songs, so I had another go. I muscled in on a band who agreed to record one of my songs. Their lead singer, naturally, took on the lead vocals, and I did the backing vocals with someone who has subsequently become a great friend.
With the lead vocal in the can, we were giving the backing vocals some welly, when the sound guy stopped us. Apparently, I was singing flat, and my track was ultimately deleted from the final mix.
Yes, I was gutted, but I finally realised that, although my songs weren’t bad, it was my voice that wasn’t up to much. You can’t make it in the music business writing and performing singer/songwriter songs unless you’ve got the voice to go with it.