I recently did a songwriting course with FutureLearn with the University of Sheffield called How To Write Your First Song. On the course we had the challenge of writing a song based on poet Matt Black’s poem My Town. Here is my attempts below:
It was really interesting and fun to do. I learned so much from so many really musical people with so much brilliant advice to share. So thank you so much to the lead educator Adam White and the other mentors Vanessa Massera and Danny West and Matt Black for writing the poem and all the contributors who gave us so much advice during the duration of the course and Martin Simpson and the other singers and musicians who guided us along and my fellow learners and everyone else connected with the course. It was a great experience which has given me more confidence in my songwriting. I also found some really good new music which is always a good thing. I loved doing the final version of the song. My idea for it was a Rock/Folk Janis Joplin-style song which was setting a challenge and a half and I don’t know if it came off or not! But I had fun attempting it at the same time.
Check out some of my fellow learners superbly talented compositions here in the Soundcloud group for the course:
I have put up my song Poison on YouTube and Soundcloud. Enjoyed writing it. It’s basically about giving advice to a friend about a guy who’s not a good one really. It isn’t autobiographical but it is maybe me putting myself in that situation. Hope you like it!
Well I told you all that I was going for The X Factor again. First and foremost I didn’t get through but hey I had a good day out and I’ll tell you all about it now.
We (me, my mum and my sis) got the train into Connolly and you should have seen what was at the station. The cutest little dog. I think s/he was a Yorkshire Terrier and s/he had a little Dublin top on. Melted completely. Then we went on to get the Maynooth train as the first stop was Drumcondra/Croke Park where it was been held. At the stop was TV3 and there was a guy there I know his face from it and the cameraman and they were interviewing some older people. Read a bit of MOJO there. The Blur piece. At Croker, we were first standing in the queue. I was behind a couple at first. I always get struck behind couples at things. Last year I was behind a couple too at The X Factor and been a singleton you kind of get sad. But the other part is awwwing inwardly. Nothing sweeter really than two people in love really, is there? Rob, the production runner had shown us all to the line and he came over to chat to us while munching his apple. He was talking about Louis and the judges’ houses section and stars he met and one girl was interested in how to get into production running and he was telling her there was a Facebook group. He was really nice. And eventually we got moved into the upstairs part where we were sitting for quite a while but the whole waiting thing wasn’t as long this year, partly because I went a bit later and partly because I had my wonderful book with me. Absolute bloody saviour! It was Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith. Probably looked dark enough without having that with me too! So getting to the upstairs part was a nightmare! I’m not very fit and we walked up a load of things. No one else I noted looked out of breath! Then we lined up for the registration and I took my coat off in the line and my skull cravat, tied it around my bag. Part style admittedly but mostly convenience. We got a sticker with our number and then were shown to our seats. I thought the lad was quite good-looking and he had a lovely smile that showed us the final part of the way to our seats. There was a lad there that was in the Performing Arts in Sallynoggin and a girl there from The Voice of Ireland. I thought she was a really good singer so it was good to see her. We then were moved upstairs in small groups to be allocated to go to the various rooms that the producers were in and then thus into smaller groups. We had a lovely group including a fellow rocker called Earl and a band. I was talking a bit to the band. They were all really nice in our group and I went in after Earl and there was a woman and a man but I think she was making the decisions. He was fecking gorgeous. He never spoke, just smiled gloriously and was a silent knockout! Oh and I sang The House of The Rising Sun by The Animals. The lad in the band that I was talking to outside knew it. He said he liked it. I think it went really well. I mean as I have mentioned before in previous audition posts I do suffer quite a bit with my nerves and I was just dead proud of myself because I went for the high notes and without sounding cocky I think I pretty much nailed them. I’m used to the song. I’ve been singing that song since I was 14 so it would be pretty bad if I couldn’t really. But I was scared with my nerves if I would be brave enough to go for them so that’s a big step forward. Still I could hear slight speckles of nerves running through my voice but it wasn’t as bad. And I didn’t feel as nervous all day and like I was going to have an absolute panic attack when I was singing. It was a nice feeling. And it was the song I have felt the most comfortable with at an audition and maybe that had a lot to do with it. She said she enjoyed it but that she felt I wasn’t ready. I probably amn’t so that’s fair enough. So yeah I came back out then and the lad in the band said they could hear me and it sounded very good and the girl in the band encouraged me to keep singing. As I said really nice people. So I wished them luck and popped down anyway in the lift after the cute steward said sorry about that which he was very nice. He was saying it to everyone. None of us got in up to that point in our group. I don’t know after now. Hopefully some did. I took two pics in the Croker museum. It was lovely seeing Croker actually because I never seen it before. The pitch is lovely and the museum is stunningly historic and the room upstairs has all the counties and when they won up. So I popped outside then and met another steward. He was a lovely man. My mum and sis had been talking to him earlier. He was saying how most people didn’t get through and take care and good luck. I headed up to Spar and got an energy drink and a dark chocolate bounty with my phone credit. The lad in the shop was cute and he had bangles on like me. I met mam and Shar and we popped home on the train and went to Tesco where I got my cigs, cola and my dinner. I also had a peak through Kerrang which I have to get later in the week. Was reading about Jared Leto.
Now style my dears! I absolutely love putting my looks together for auditions! My make-up was a mixture of Alanis Morissette and James Byron. The eyes were the smokey eye look he did in a recent make-up video. I didn’t have the shimmer power thingy so I just did the grey, pencilly part and the mascara and eyeliner and the rest was Alanis. Kind of understated lipgloss and BB Cream. And the hair was like Alanis too. I also had my nails painted in the trademark black of rockers worldwide. Now clothes. My clothes were in the rock vein with my Ramones top, blue jeans and black boots and the jewellery was bangles and a large, statement gold chain. The chain was hippy-like really and one of the bangles was a man’s bangle while I also had three mens’ rock style badges going up the top of my top at the top on one side. So yeah mostly rock but a touch of hippy and androgynous styles as well.
Hotties! I mentioned a few already but there was a good-looking lad who went in with a guitar and an absolute knockout in a black hat with gold studs and brown leather jacket. He didn’t get through either sadly but my, what a beautiful man!
So yeah, had a good day out. No regrets and it was a good experience. To be honest I’m not entirely sure that the show is really for me. I mean everyone has been lovely there for the two first auditions but it’s just as a wannabe singer and seeing where you see your hopefully career progress to it is probably not the right direction for me. I don’t necessarily mean reality TV as a whole but I think certain shows suit certain people better and what they want to do better. But definitely I would advise giving everything a go. I don’t think it’s the wisest thing in the world to just decide on face value that something isn’t for you. I kind of was thinking it last year and then I went back to be sure. If you observe at an audition and you see the types of artists that go through you kind of get an idea if it’s for you or not. It isn’t really for me but there’s no doubt about it, it is an incredible opportunity for singers who want to make a breakthrough. And there’s many various and wonderful opportunities and all it is about is finding the opportunities that suit you and that you are most passionate about.
I previously did a question and answer section about myself and my music and I thought I’d do a similar thing to that every once in a while to let you all know where I’m at. So this is the first of them.
New Music You Are Listening To Since?
Placebo would be the main one. I had heard of them. I mean a lot of people cite them as an influence, don’t they? But it was when I fell across their version of Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill that I decided to look more into their music. It was so incredibly haunting and really beautiful. And I totally liked what I heard after that. And I was very attracted to Brian Molko instantly which helped! I’m also listening quite a lot to The Queen Is Dead by The Smiths. I think that’s a pretty amazing album. I’ve started listening a lot to The Manic Street Preachers, Depeche Mode, Conchita Wurst, Ben Haenow, PrissyLips, The Misanthropists and Pvris too.
Favourite Recent Album You Heard?
I listen to a lot of older music but there is some recent stuff here! Of the newer stuff I like Hozier’s, Pvris’, The Misanthropists’, Union J’s (I have my cheesy side too! :-)) and Sam Smith’s debut albums and then in the older music than that any Placebo album though my favourites would be Meds and Once More With Feeling: Singles 1996-2004. As aforementioned I like The Queen Is Dead by The Smiths too, The Holy Bible by The Manic Street Preachers and Violator by Depeche Mode. I love OutCry’s EP as well. I’m also listening a lot to PrissyLips on Soundcloud.
Let’s not go there! I tried tuning it recently and broke too strings! I’m trying but it’s a bit of a disaster! There’s not much else to say really! I think the E Chord is coming along Ok and Guitar For Dummies is a bit of a saviour. Whether it saves me is a whole other matter. That may be asking too much. But definitely I have a lot of respect for guitarists. They make it look so easy and it really isn’t!
So What’s Next?
I’m going for The X Factor on Thursday when it rolls into Dublin! So at least you’ll have another blog post soon about another failed audition! I should be confident about it but no. If they even put me through the first round I’ll be in shock!
I did a version of one of my favourite bands’ Placebo’s songs Sleeping With Ghosts. I definitely didn’t sing it as good as Brian Molko but hey that was never going to happen! It was great to get to do though because I love them as a band and obviously I love Brian Molko as a man! Who doesn’t?! Hope you enjoy it!:-):
I’m really excited to say that I got to no.1 on the singer/songwriter chart for Bray, Wicklow on Reverbnation!
It was really nice because it’s probably the first time in a long time that I’ve got a confidence boast for my music. I could see myself going up the chart for the past few days and it wasn’t a surprise in that sense but the whole thing was a surprise! I was aiming for top 5 really!
There is definitely so many more talented people on that chart than me so it’s an honour and thank you so much to everyone who got me to the no.1 spot. It’s defo something I’m proud of and appreciate. Thank you!
In addition I’m 3 on the National rank and 950 on the Global rank and then 14,540 in the global rank of all genres which all feels amazing because I do feel I’m only at the start and it’s an amazing boast to my confidence that I’m doing ok.
Thank you everyone! Couldn’t do any of this without your support!
I recently set up my Reverbnation page and I’m currently at no. 6 on the singer/songwriter chart for Bray. I was at 4 recently. That the highest. It’s really exciting actually! I’d thought I wouldn’t even place in it! If you want to help me get higher, please do visit my page, listen to my songs, share, become a fan, etc … at: