“It’s just a constant changing landscape that you just have to do what feels right and go with it, if you try and spend your time worrying about what the audience wants to hear, you end up selling your soul and the music you are creating you can’t stand to listen to it yourself!”- @cARLaNDREW14
Listen to the show
Episode #317 : A.V.A Live Radio Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax : http://www.blogtalkradio.com/avaliveradio/2016/04/21/episode-317-ava-live-radio-behind-the-music-with-jacqueline-jax
GETTING TO KNOW cARL aNDREW
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio
I think the music business is like no other. There is certainly no “one recipe” for success in this industry. There are acts out there that are awful but look great on stage so they get on, and likewise there are great acts that don’t fit the look that never get off the pub scene. I must admit I think these “unnamed” reality shows have ruined the industry, it’s so manufactured it’s unreal. It gives that one person a chance but some of the people that don’t do well are far, far better than the winner in most cases. I also think they miss out on the whole learning curve, and to be thrust into the spot light is quite shocking for most I would have thought, one minute they’re saying; “Yeah music has always been my passion, I’m always singing in the shower…” Next minute they’re on a UK tour; they never get to do the small gigs to learn their own craft, its force fed to them by the show.
It’s just a constant changing landscape that you just have to do what feels right and go with it, if you try and spend your time worrying about what the audience wants to hear, you end up selling your soul and the music you are creating you can’t stand to listen to it yourself! Of course you need to keep the audiences likes on one hand so you can evaluate what’s good in your own eyes but don’t write with that in mind.
Not a place I would want to go. Okay rant over! Ha
Pros and cons …
I think these days it’s great, with the access to all music on the internet is vastly different to when I was young, it was all CDs and record labels. You had to pay through the nose to get a good recording down, now it’s so much more accessible but again that has its pitfalls as the amount of material out there is incredible, you easily get lost in the crowd.
Again this has made a massive difference to the process of promotion. It’s made it at your finger-tips and if you get good at it, you can spread the word a hell of a lot further than ever before.
Connection between you and fans is also now a lot more personable, not everyone is the same, a lot of artists have someone else run their twitter accounts, to me that misses the point, I like the hands on approach, apart from my website, someone does that for me.
It also gives you access to other markets easier, for instance my music seems to do better in the states than home here in England. I guess it’s just the different audiences; 10 years ago I would never have gotten my stuff heard overseas without flying over and setting up a market stall! Ha
Singles vs an album…
These days releasing a single is almost pointless, only because you can download individual tracks anyway form iTunes and such like. I think the marketing can still be done separately, I still refer to “I Want You” as the single from my album, I even have separate artwork, and it was available on its own form reverbnation but on iTunes etc.. And hard copies it was just the album. To me nowadays, promote a single, so it gets radio play, adverts, TV appearances and other promotional stuff, so it is a flag ship for the album but then just release the album.
I would love to have 5 minutes alone with…
Wow this is a tough one… Can I cheat and say “The 1985 Live Aid Performers” Does that count? – That would capture most of my heroes. Right now it would probably be John Mayer. He is my most recent artist to be added to my heroes list. It would probably be him due to him being relatively current; I love his writing, he produces the stuff I’d love to be able to write.
I think I’ve always loved the great, long-standing artists, Sting, Elton John, Bryan Adams, Mark Knifer, Stevie Wonder, Phil Collins, The Beatles, The Stones, The Who, Oasis, Guns and Roses, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, you know, the “real” top acts of the last 40 years or so.
There us definitely too much focus on being current and trendy in the biz…
To me music is about being good to the ear and connectable… If you connect with the song and you like its sound then why does it matter if it is written and performed by a 95 year old man in his slippers, smoking his pipe…totally irrelevant in my eyes. I do it myself, the media and the “Must look like this” brigade brainwashes your perception of what good and current is!
For example…I was sitting in a restaurant with my wife a few months back and a song came on and I hadn’t heard it before. Nice lyrics, acoustic feel, nice groove and I said to my wife,
“I really like this, whose is it?” And to my discussed she said… “It’s **Un-mentioned artist’s** new song” I was mortified, I can’t stand that guy! Now if the media and such like hadn’t turned this guy into some kind of pain in the backside, I could have liked the song in its own right regardless of his other material. That’s how songs should be judged and not down to this “Can I like this song cause its by him” Type of attitude.
I am most afraid of… losing those close to me…nothing else comes close. Due to some personal issues at the moment some of this comes out on my New EP “Average Man” that is due out in July. Not something I usually like to write about but this stuff had to come out sooner or later.
My personal definition of success is… I will consider myself successful when I have a decent sized audience singing back the lyrics of one of my songs to me at a gig. This to me is the ultimate goal. This must be a feeling like no other.
I experience this on a weekly basis with cover songs and even that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up at times, so if it’s lyrics that I have written and feelings I have portrayed in that song being sang back at me, that is truly special.
Name one success story that you are particularly proud of. …
I’m not very often proud of myself; I’m quite a self-critical person. In music, I am very rarely happy with the finished product that ends up being produced, never entirely happy with my performances live, there are always things I pick up on; regardless of what others say. It’s just in my nature to be critical I guess, sometimes it helps to be that way, other times it can weigh heavy on my mind.
In spite of that I am proud of the fact that I released this album and now I am working towards a new EP and I have another project in sight after that. All of this while holding down a stressful day job and maintaining a work life balance, I am just proud that I have managed to keep it all going at the same time.
It’s not always easy to balance it all out, but sheer determination will get me there…eventually.
My over-all goal for my life & career is…
Life; Be happy and ensure my wife and children are happy too! The quote that John Lennon used just sums it up for me.. “When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” John Lennon. I never used to be that way, but you grow up at some point and your whole perspective changes. Career; I would love to able to give up my day job and concentrate on my music full time. Its where my heart is, but providing for my family is a must and until I can match what I earn now from my day job and music combined, I guess I better keep getting up to work.
I missed out on the days when I was young and with no responsibilities, where I could of busked and slept on others sofas to try and make it, I never had that drive when I was young, I am more hungry for success now than I ever was back then. In hindsight I don’t think I had the ability to write good enough material back then, now hopefully my ability matches my drive and the time is right for me.
3 Ways that I challenge myself and how each one moves me forward towards my goal.
1) Setting small achievable goals. For me it is a way of tracking if I’m moving forward. With the new EP coming up and putting together a promo tour of pubs and clubs in the Midlands later in the year, I am already looking to the next goal which is a new full album that I’d like to have out in 2017, so already I’m setting my sights long term. The more I do that the more it focuses my time to ensure I keep the material out there.
2) Putting myself out of my comfort zone. Playing more and more of my own material live is difficult when you don’t have many outlets for original material. I slowly introduce them into my unplugged sets when out on the covers scene but this takes time for audiences to connect with you. But time will tell…
3) Collaborations. There is no better way to generate ideas and keep your own ideas fresh… I love jamming and trying new stuff with other musicians, it’s something that I am doing more and more of lately. I have always played in numerous covers bands with lots of great players but working with other musicians on your own material is quite different. I have always written in isolation and on the album I play all the parts, a lot of the arrangements came about as I was recording them as I’d just keep adding and adding what I though the song needed next.t is so different to have those parts created during the writing stage rather than at the recording stage. Hopefully you will hear the difference when my next full album is released as I have enlisted some top local musicians to come and work with me to give the album a completely different feel.
I started playing keyboards…
at a young age and it kind of grew from there. My Dad played guitar in a band for many years so there were always guitars around the house, so I was always playing those. Once I started jamming at school with other musicians I realized its all I liked doing, played my first school gig when I was 13 then went on to study at college and have been doing it ever since! I found the college coarse okay but for me it was being around other musicians for me that had the biggest impact. Learning to collaborate and arrange probably being the most valuable things learned.
How Many Times…
It was inspired by a phone call from an ex-girlfriend at the time. She was talking of missing me but meanwhile she was also with someone else by that point, so for me, I still had feelings for her and was hinting that during the conversation. After I put the phone down I just sat at the piano and began penciling something down. So that’s where the hook originated and the rest was built around that idea. The whole song is about the feeling of loneliness on her part and the fact that if she listened hard enough my heart was still calling out to her. Soppy story really! Needless to say, we never got back together! J
I find a lot of inspiration from…
conversations with people, so I can’t take all the credit! It has been through different iterations. It started pretty much as it is now, minus a few arrangement changes but in the middle somewhere it was recorded as a piano/vocal track. I was so undecided for a long time on whether to leave it as that or re-arrange with the full band.
I’m actually running a video series…
to promote my up and coming new EP “Average Man”. The series is called “Live & Unplugged”, where I am featuring how many times as a piano/vocal live, at least that way people can make their own mind up!
I’m hoping “Until Now”…
has a bit of something for everyone; it has a few different genres on there. I never really think about the genre of a song before I write it, I’ll usually have a few riffs or chord progressions that I’m playing around with at the time, and then I just subconsciously end up putting the two things together.
The album is…
basically a back catalogue that I wanted to get out there before moving on to new things. I can pick out points of my life through the album which is great, I never really planned it that way but looking at it now I can definitely see the different mind sets at certain times of my life.
For instance; “I want you” – I wrote when I met a girl years back, and the song is about feeling judged by her friends and peers. “Last buskers song” – Just a general theme of my life, where I am musically, never quite reaching where I wanted to be and now feeling too old to achieve what I wanted. I hoping that I am not the only one out there that has these feelings and it’ll speak to people on that level I guess. Now I can draw a line under all previous material and start a fresh. The album is currently available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Reverbnation, play store and a lot of others I can’t remember.
I’m UK based from a small town called Solihul…
l near to Birmingham in the West Midlands, there isn’t much of a music scene in Solihull but Birmingham has some great venues, The actress and bishop, The jam house to mention a few. It seems to come and go around here, all of a sudden all the bars have live music, then next thing you know we’re back to DJ’s again. Live music is where it’s at for me, I love watching live shows and playing live is the best feeling, when everyone is having a good time and they hang on your next song being one they like, pure entertainment.
In my spare time I enjoy spending it with family and friends; I have a very supportive network that has been there all along. And having recently become a Dad that is where I like to spend my time.