Thursday, 27 September 2012

Kew Gardens

For a week in July I had the great opportunity to perform at Kew Gardens with Kristyna Myles. We were to be the support act on almost every night. The headline acts were Status Quo, The Straits, Chic, M-People, Tim Minchin, Pink Martini, Nerina Pallot, Will Young, Los Lobos and The Gypsy Kings. It was an incredible collection of acts to share a stage with.

After arriving on the first day we were shown to our dressing room which turned out to be a massive greenhouse full of tropical plants. Probably the best dressing room ever. We then walked through a series of greenhouses to the stage for soundcheck.

Kristyna and I were performing the gig as a duo. I had wondered how we would come across, playing to a large outdoor crowd every night. The audiences were in the region of 7000 people. When we first started performing as a duo, Kristyna sang and I played the guitar. Gradually we've added more and more weapons to our arsenal; Kristyna plays the keys now and I sing backing vocals. I also play a stomp box (which sounds like a bass drum) with one foot, and a tambourine with the other. People have said we create a really full sound for just two people, and it certainly didn't seem to be an issue at Kew, where the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Next year I have decided to head-butt a triangle to enhance the sound even further.

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Thursday, 6 September 2012

Channel 5 and a Busking Tour

I've had quite a busy summer of touring and gigs, so I've been neglecting my blog a little bit. I thought I'd try and catch up by looking back to the start of the summer, and a busking tour we did. Hopefully I'll be able to remember it all.

After Kristyna Myles was featured in some national papers, we were asked to perform live on The Myleene Klass show on Channel 5. This was the first time I'd done a live national TV performance so I was slightly nervous. It was all very surreal in the green room as members of S-Club 7 and various other celebrities came and went. A woman came in and called me in to make-up, to try and stop me looking too 'pasty'. 

Myleene was lovely and had a chat with Kristyna before the show to put her at ease. In her interview, Kristyna spoke about her record deal, and the upcoming busking tour to raise money for the homeless charity Centrepoint. She seemed very confident and relaxed like she'd been doing TV interviews for years. Then it was time to perform an acoustic version of Kristynas single 'I'm Not Going Back'. The TV show had requested that the performance was just over two minutes, so we'd worked out an arrangement of the tune that fitted into these time restraints. We had twenty seconds to get into position while they played a clip. And then we were off....

I can't remember much about the two minutes but when I watched it back it seemed to be ok. Someone said I couldn't have looked more relieved as i strummed the final chord, safe in the knowledge that I hadn't messed up. All in all it was a great experience. After the show I watched as Myleene Klass recorded three trailers for future shows, rattling through the words on the auto cue without slipping up, while a crowd of people waited to get a photo with her and T4 were banging on the door as they had the studio booked next. All after being live on the TV for three hours. I decided being a TV presenter looked like a fairly stressful job. 

The next day we kicked off our busking tour. The idea was to busk in different cities all over the UK to raise money for the homeless charity Centrepoint, while fitting in as many radio stations as we could along the way. In the evenings we would perform at Malmaison hotels in each city, and this would serve as a showcase for the local press to come and see us perform. 

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