It does feel like I won the lottery, but to be honest it took a LOT of work to get that grant, plus talking to the right people who have previously received grants. I owe Acoustic Nations a big thanks for pointing me in the right direction for who to talk to and for all their support which I’ll talk more about later in the post. It’s the Developing Your Creative Practice grant and I’m being awarded £9,977, 90% of which I’ve just received so I’m now busy putting everything into action.
For years I’ve played behind the scenes in other people’s groups playing other people’s music. Even with busking I’ve just played what’s popular along with trad tunes. I’m now at the point in my life where I really want to get to the next level but that requires me to take the time to learn more about self promotion, creating new sounds and to develop my leadership skills. Finally I get to play what I want to play and I now have room to develop myself and try different things to see what works and what doesn’t. I have lots of different ideas of things I want to try so I’m very excited.
What’s the plan?
My activities of focus are (as listed in my grant application):
The main style of music will be modern Irish/celtic (Celtic Fusion genre). Will mix it with jazz, dance, etc... whatever works! As part of my development I’ll be spending a week in Ireland this autumn playing in different sessions around the country. I’ll also be taking online lessons with someone in Ireland to help hone in my fiddle playing skills so I can compete in the Fleadh Cheoil next year.
Making an album properly is expensive. Recording rights, fees for musicians, producers, mastering, etc… it all adds up. I want an end product that is really well made and thought out. I want to take the listener through a wave of emotions. That will take a lot of practice from my end to make sure everything is in tune and precise with timing and all. It will also take a lot of time collaborating with other musicians. At the end of it I aim to have a show with an album that I can take to an agency as a package to get proper gigs on bigger stages.
Initially I have to get everyone used to working together which means busking and playing in smaller venues to start. I’ll be in contact with various pubs and venues I’ve played at before to try to arrange some gigs once we have something put together in the next few months. I hope to be playing at bigger festivals in the future. Glastonbury anyone? (That may be wishful thinking I don't know haha).
The project will finish with an album release gig which will be a ticketed event in Lincoln. My original plan is to have it at the Drill Hall but if the Acoustic Nations building will be ready by then we might have it there. The event won’t happen without enough ticket sales, so please look out for that and buy lots of tickets!
To present diverse music in the community to broaden everyone’s horizons and perceptions; to build and find venues that make live music possible in places where this normally wouldn’t be the case; To help musicians develop careers and promote themselves; to bring music to audiences that cannot attend performances, or who are less able: to connect music and musicians to audiences, creating new thoughts, feelings, memories and experiences that are as relevant to the old as they are the young
It’s all exciting news and things happening over here. I’ll keep you all up to date on my Facebook page so you know where I’m playing and when the album is ready. :-)
I am an American British violinist and fiddle player. I play full time as a street musician in addition to the live gigs I perform with several bands.