The latest news ….

Posted on July 27th, 2009 at 1:26 PM / No comments

Hi there People

Well brace yourselves … this will probably be a long one!! There is a lot to catch you up on!!! So get yourself a cup of tea and a biscuit and relax!

Here I go … the new album ‘Exactly where I am’ was recorded in March, a few months were spent mixing, tweaking, mastering, sorting out publishing/copyright issues, sorting out design, text and layout, and now – finally it’s here!! The official release date was 11th July 2009 – 5 years after my debut album ‘Orange Sky’.

The album was recorded in about 8 days, in my spare bedroom at my house!! I had done some prep myself with midi piano and string parts etc, then Bruce (Pont) came up with his expertise, his gear and his magic and did the technical hard work!!

We spent a few days tidying up midi issues, and adding string parts, drums, percussion and my guitars. Then we got Matt Stalker in to do some beautiful extra guitar parts (including electric guitar) and the amazing Joss Elliot played upright and electric bass. It was amazing to see how it all came together. It was frustrating at times, and a lot of hard work … especially for Bruce who hardly slept making sure everything was just right. Unfortunately I had a few issues with my voice … by the time it got to me doing the vocals it was day seven and I was exhausted, and vocally you could tell. So I had to re-record about half of the tracks myself at a later date when I was more rested and capable!

Then there was a long process of mixing the album, which Bruce did a great job of, then off to Luke (Fellingham) for the mastering.

Then of course I had to arrange the duplication etc.

There is so much more to making an album independently than I first thought (that is if you do it properly). You have to make sure all publishing is in order and your songs need certain codes embedded into them and your album needs a code etc … it’s all a stressful and complicated thing. Next time I’m sure I’ll find it easier though, now that I know what the process is. I even had to set up my own record label which, again is a big stress and a lot of work but it’s done!! Whoop I am a record label owner!!!

I had a launch gig at Houghton Dance Academy (who are incredible) on the 11th July. Which went quite well, I was joined by Matt stalker, Phil Smith and Chris Hedley who contributed with guitar and voice, double bass and percussion. They (staff at the academy) had set the room up beautifully with little tables and candles, twinkly lights in a black backdrop, a video montage of artwork they had made for me. We brought a really old fashioned lamp (Matt’s) and a rug (my Mam’s) for the stage which basically made the stage look like your grandma’s living room … it looked incredible! Everyone who came seemed to have a good night, and we (the band) enjoyed ourselves too. I’ll try and get some photo’s or videos up on here soon.

The next part of my exciting story is a big disappointment. I was due to sing at the Keswick convention (week 2) last week, supporting Steve James in leading worship. The morning I was due to go I woke up feeling really ill, but I packed and went anyway, telling myself I had allergies and that I’d improve as the day went on. I didn’t, I got much worse. I went to the tent for practice and was told to go back to my guest house room and stay there till I was feeling better. I was so upset and frustrated that I couldn’t do what I was there to do, plus I had been preparing for it and looking forward to it for ages. I did as I was told anyway and went back to my room – where I stayed for the next three days, alone and ill.

It was horrible, the question of swine flu was raised and I was adamant I didn’t have it, but it turns out I did have it (and am still recovering) so I was told I couldn’t be allowed back to the tent to sing even if I felt better, as the risk of me passing it on to a lot of vulnerable people was too great. Which I totally understood, but it didn’t make it any less devastating for me that I couldn’t be there. I mean … why of all weeks did it have to hit me then? I had three other concert/appearances planned that week as well to promote the new album. I had a short set and possible interview after one of the evening meetings, an afternoon concert (with my band) and a jazz night at one of the local bars. I had to pull out of them all. Big opportunities missed – gutted. Ultimately though I love being there to Worship and help others do the same. I was there first and foremost to enjoy God and to spend my time praising Him and assisting others to do the same the best way I can. I’m so annoyed and confused by the fact that I couldn’t. Although right now what I’m feeling is disappointment, I know God has a plan, I know He has a bigger plan and what I’m feeling now is nothing compared with the magnificence, greatness and kindness of His ultimate grand plan.

So I had to come home, where I have been, locked away from people since leaving Keswick last week. I am still feeling rough … existing health problems make it hard for me to shake things off so It’ll probably take me a while to recover properly. Then I plan on spending a lot of time talking to God and just being with Him, seeing what he has in store for me in the immediate future.

I left my job at Emmanuel college a couple of weeks ago. I had been working there for 5 or 6 years teaching singing and directing their choirs. It was a big risk to leave, both professionally and financially but it needed to be done… it was time to move on. You see, when I do something I want to be the best I can possibly be at it, for my peace of mind and for the benefit of others …in this case – my students. I don’t understand teachers who don’t do the best they can do for their students, it just shows a lack of care for others and a lack of self respect as well. Anyway, I have spent the last 6 to 8 years trying to be the best teacher I can be, but realised recently that doing that took up so much of my time that I have neglected other things which are really important to me. I love helping my students to fulfill their potential and to reach for their dreams but I realised that I’m not ready to give up on my own God given dreams. I have always had a passion for music and singing, and my drive to be the best teacher I can be squeezed out my time and drive to become the best singer, songwriter and musician I can be. I just don’t want to be sitting in that room at Emmanuel aged fifty thinking that I wish I’d tried while I was still young and brave enough! Better to take the risk, and risk failing than to stay safe and secure in something that’s easy, safe and secure! John Ortberg (I think?) said ‘If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to step out of the boat’. I’m stepping out and I’m well aware of the risk personally (my dreams might fail), financially (how will we cope loosing this much income), and professionally (I could loose out as a singing teacher in the long run). I’m taking that risk and I’m trusting God to hold me in all things. If I’ve made a mistake He’ll sustain me and provide – He has never let me down yet. if I haven’t made a mistake then I’m looking forward to the exciting adventure to come.

I think I’ve rambled on enough for now … I’ll leave it there

Thanks for reading


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