What led to you getting into learning how to play guitar and be a singer?
I think I’ve always been pretty musical. My Nanna used to play a two-tiered organ in her living room when I was younger and I felt a connection to that. I picked up guitar (after I rapidly reached my limits for drums) and just got hooked like so many. I started playing in bands pretty late compared to most people but my good friend Frase, who is a phenomenal songwriter and singer, wanted to play together and we just really clicked. I learnt so much from him and always loved being able to put a persona on, the moment I hit the stage.
I’m self-taught with both guitar and singing, but I mean, YouTube played a massive part in my progression. I love having creative outlets and taught myself to play piano so I feel like it’s all gone full circle now!
What were your responsibilities as a tour manager?
I’ve been so lucky to tour Europe many times with my friends, meeting some wonderful people along the way. For me, it was a case of driving the tour van from country to country (so far I’ve driven in 12 countries), helping load in, vocal warm ups, filming content, social media, managing the merch, making contacts, mediating should there be arguments. It wasn’t perhaps the ‘traditional’ tour managing role but I loved it and will always cherish those memories going country to country with my best pals. I think that’s what makes me so furious about Brexit – so many incredible opportunities have been taken away from so many current and future musicians. For what?
What has been your experience at Kobalt Music?
It has been such a joy working at Kobalt. They had been on my radar for a long time since I realised they were such a forward-thinking company, blending music and technology to put the musicians first. There are definite parallels between Kobalt and myself on our ethics: supporting the artists and creatives, honesty and integrity, expression and creativity. I’m very proud to work with such an unbelievable roster of artists, managing their relationship with societies across multiple territories.
What do you think makes a song good?
It’s all about the hooks, getting that topline embedded in someone’s mind. Keeping it simple enough to make it catchy and memorable, but complex enough to be different.
For me personally, I have always loved to write and I connect deeply with lyrics. If there are lyrical themes that connect to me and my life experiences, then there’s more chance of me liking the track. Equally, if the allegorical lyrics are clever and witty, especially in hip-hop, I’m more likely to connect to it, and come back to it.
Whereas once songs would just have to stand out against other songs in the chart, now songs are battling against the entirety of Music history on streaming platforms, as well as the breadth of creativity across the Internet. I don’t envy songwriters trying to break through now but that’s also why I want to help them any way I can.
Which artists are you currently listening to?
Oh man, just so many. For Indie/Alternative: Middle Kids, Nova Twins, Big Joanie, Shingai, Tigers Jaw, Black Country New Road, Phoebe Bridgers. Khruangbin. Hiatus Kaiyote, Sons of Kemet, Lianne La Havas.
Electronic: For Those I Love, Bicep, Kelly Lee Owens, Olafur Arnalds, George Fitzgerald, Thom Yorke, Burial.
Hip-Hop: Little Simz, Kojey Radical, Madlib, 6lack, Arlo Parks, The Streets, Loyle Carner, Kae Tempest, Mustafa, Kipp Stone.
What kind of music do you like to workout to?
I actually can’t listen to music when I workout. I love walking, running and cycling but I get too heavily invested in the music I’m listening to so it always messes with my rhythm. I actually tend to stick on podcasts while I exercise. I need to fully invest my attention while I listen to music.
What’s the most important risk you took and why?
Easily University. When I was younger, I had a secure job in Architecture. It paid well and allowed me to use the money to put on gigs as a concert promoter, support artists and the scene. That job and Architecture as a whole made me miserable. For years I stayed with it because I thought that was what I was meant to do, rather than what I wanted to do.
Recognising music was where I was supposed to be, I quit Architecture for good and moved away from my friends to go to University as a mature student. It was the biggest risk but ultimately, it made me the person and the professional I am today. For anyone reading this who may be questioning their next steps: trust yourself, trust your judgement and then work harder than ever to make sure the risk was worth it. I’m so glad I did!
How do you respond under pressure?
I feel like I work well under pressure because I’m very methodical. That wasn’t always the case though and it’s something that has fallen into place as I’ve got older, as I’ve started understanding myself better, and learned how to break problems down into smaller bite-sized tasks. There’s always room for improvement of course but I’d like to think most people would describe me as a very calm person.
What does style mean to you in regards to fashion?
Connection and expression. I feel like I’ve only started to understand my own style in the last few years. Colour theory to suit my skin tone and blue eyes, cuts that accentuate my 6’3” figure. At the end of the day though, like all creative forms of expressing oneself, style is in the eye of the beholder and as long as people are happy with what they’re wearing, or the music they’re making, who is anyone else to knock that.