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For Mum

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It’s Mother’s Day! Which is why my blog is dedicated to my favourite Mum in the World – MINE!

My Mum only ever asks for one thing on Mother’s Day from each of her children. A letter. She always says she wants for nothing, so for us to take a minute, or an hour to write a letter to her is the most thoughtful thing we could do, and seeing as I have started this blog I decided that this year I would publicly write mine because she’s wonderful and I wanted to let the World know. Or at least anyone that decides to read my blog 😉

This last year has been a mental one for me and I am pretty sure I gave her a fair few new white hairs as a result, if not a load of heart burn to boot!

At the beginning of last year I decided in the space of a week to apply for Uni, move house and quit a 32k job to throw myself back into education in order to have the time to be a full time musician or at least be pursuing music full time!  Mum was understandably scared. Her very stable daughter was deciding to turn her life upside down, reduce her incomings by drastic proportions and go into an industry where sales are continually dropping and is saturated with hopefuls more than ever. She supported me through it any way regardless of her misgivings. Don’t get me wrong – she believes in my abilities (like every proud Mum she thinks I’m the best singer songwriter in the World) but in realistic terms, no matter who you are or how good, chances of being successful in music are slim. It’s a tougher industry than ever!

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My Mum is my hero. She has faced so many tough challenges in her life and has managed to come through without an ounce of bitterness to become a strong, fiercely independent woman who above all else loves her children, her husband and God. She has fed us with next to no money, raised us with dignity and respect, provided us with the ability to learn music, dance, horse riding or whatever else we wanted, sometimes at the risk of her own health to pay for it.  As far as I am concerned, she is the most amazing mother, friend, confidant and advisor.  I won’t tell you too much – she doesn’t know I am doing this and I have no idea how much she would be happy with me saying! 

At the end of last year my Mum watched me get my heart broken. Not for the first time, but definitely the worst. She felt my weight loss, my night terrors and my depression as though it was her own.  She had seen it coming, but never judged my choices, advised but never ‘told me so’ and never got frustrated with my tears. She just sat and held me, listened and comforted me in any way she could. Over and over.  I know that she would still sit and listen to me for hours going over the same unanswered questions now too.

My Mum never asks for anything from us, but would give everything she has to see us happy and healthy. I know you’re going to read this Mum, because you subscribed to my blog and your my biggest fan.  I just want you to know how much you mean to me.  I could never wish for a better mother or friend. I love you so much. Thank you. For last year and all the years before it. For your protection, support, love, friendship, advice. All the hugs AND the tellings off that have shaped who I am today.  Thank you for being my biggest PR and Publicity person by telling EVERY person you meet that they have to listen to my music. Thank you for believing in me when I don’t feel like I can believe in myself. For all of this and everything I have forgotten to mention here. Thank you.

Happy Mothers Day Mum. You rock my World.

xxx

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Gigs and Such

Hello!!

I promised to be back with the “other stuff” I’ve been up to over the last few weeks and you know, it’s rude to lie. So here I am again attempting to bore you to tears 😉

I have recently had the pleasure of seeing three of my favourite bands in ONE SHOW! on 15th Feb I got the very privileged opportunity to be at the front of Shepherds bush empire, stage right at the barriers to watch Zebrahead, Less Than Jake and Reel Big Fish on the last night of their UK tour.  It was epic.  I have to say, working at an awesome live music venue has it’s perks – the security were ace making sure I wasn’t battered (secretly I was actually really disappointed I didn’t have my usual collection of bruises) and passing me paraphernalia like pics whenever they were dropped, not to mention (but I totally am) getting a hat trick of set lists handed to me! I am such a geek for bands….

Zebrahead kicked off the show playing their synth-punk-pop crazy tunes at supersonic speed with a bar on stage to get the other bands and some random people VERY drunk and happy. I ended up with a signed penguin head… I have no idea why but I will be keeping it FOREVER!

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http://www.zebrahead.com/

Less Than Jake played a near perfect run of my favourite songs including The Science of Selling Yourself Short and Plastic Cup Politics and they got two audience members u on stage to star jump through an entire song – poor bastards looked like they were ready to chuck their guts by the end. Brilliant antics from Buddy and a cameo from Matt Appleton on Sax made for some awesome highlights too.

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http://www.lessthanjake.com/

Reel Big Fish have been my favourite band since ’99. Even though their set is perfectly choreographed, their jokes are the same  every show and Aaron’s shirt collection appears to be rather small, I love them. Their songs, their energy and the fact that they are SUCH LOVELY PEOPLE!! Whenever I have had a chance to interact with any of them they are just very sweet, unassuming people who just love what they do. Side note – the new trombone player stepped up to the mark brilliantly. Proud moment here by the way – RBF used the second picture below for an “insert your caption” post on instagram. This makes me very happy, and VERY smug!

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http://www.reel-big-fish.com/

So what happens when you can’t afford a ticket to see Me First and the Gimme Gimmes? YOU WORK THE NIGHT! I’d actually forgotten it was happening having been caught up with Uni assignments and music projects so when I turned up last Friday to be greeted with a big sign saying that, I lost  my shit. SO EXCITED! Fat Mike wasn’t able to play, but that did not matter at all. I managed to swap bars so I was on stage right with one of the coolest bar ladies ever – Lianne Drewett if you read this I think you are rad – and I skanked out something chronic and drank shooters with punters as they smashed out hit after ska-punk fuelled hit.

Incase you don’t know who they are, The Gimmes are a covers band made up of some of the most awesome people in punk. They turn pop into ska-punk. Check out Wiki’s info on them here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Me_First_and_the_Gimme_Gimmes

REVIEWS

I’ve written a review or two since my last blog, so I have posted them here for you if you wish to have a read.  One was positive and one wasn’t.  When I first got asked to write a review for The Punk Archive it was for a friends band, The Ghouls. I love them, love their music and their debut album (which comes out 4th April by the way – cheeky plug) so a review was easy.

Here’s the Ghouls review if you haven’t seen it before now:

http://thepunkarchive.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=Ghouls

Ghoulsbeach

The second review I have written for The Punk Archive was for Courtesy Drop. Like Garage band gritty sounds? They are awesome:

http://thepunkarchive.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=Courtesy+Drop

They have quoted from my review. This is a huge compliment for me.

I then had the pleasure of reviewing The Shell Corporation. They have an awesome Police Cover on their album and it is rich with Pop-Punk glory. Here’s my view:

http://thepunkarchive.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=The+Shell+Corporation

Being a musician myself I know how important feedback is for your music. I also know how hard it is to receive negative or constructive feedback. Your music is your baby. You nurture it from the ground up. Scrutinise it. Perfect it. Even when you release it you hear every flaw, every skipped beat and gap were you “could have just”.. so to write a review about an EP that I felt was sub standard as a release no matter how much potential and good musicianship I could hear has to have been one of the toughest things I have ever done.

If you’d like to read it, it’s here. My review for Bottler’s debut EP:

http://thepunkarchive.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=Bottler

I even thought about never reviewing again. I haven’t had any feedback about it. No one has got upset with me – It was just so hard to have to be critical in that way. I will still be reviewing though and I truly hope that what I write constructive or not is useful to whomever I write the review about.

By the way, if you don’t follow The Punk Archive I highly recommend it. I am discovering some awesome music reading other peoples reviews. There is so much new and amazing music out there and if you are a punk fan, well…. What more do you need?

AND SUCH

Just as a side note before I sign off, this week has seen two new songs being written and some recording time booked in next week to start a six track acoustic demo I will be GIVING AWAY to anyone who signs up to my mailing list… OoooooooOOOooOOooooohhhhhhh….

See you soon cyber space lovelies….

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I’m a student. How am I so busy??

Hello people of WordPress…

My apologies for not updating for a couple of weeks. I never thought being a student would mean I am busier than I was when I was a retail manager! Having said that, I am far happier than I ever was then.

Perhaps I should back that up with some history?

I have been a mature student at LCM/UWL for a year now. Prior to this I have spent the last 14 years in retail management for various companies, the most notable being Schuh. I worked for them on and off for 9 years total in the end!! While Schuh is an amazing company to both their customers and their employees, I have always wanted to be a musician so a year ago on a spur of the moment, I jacked in a very respectable 32k a year job to become a very poor student studying Music Management.

For those of you interested in retail, I do highly recommend Schuh. Brilliant company, lovely people, amazing customer service. Their link is below;

http://www.schuh.co.uk

Deciding to become a student again is one of the scariest decisions I have ever made. It meant going from being in a very stable environment in a very stable company and a comfortable wage to being in large amounts of debt over a three year period with no guarantee of a job in my chosen field at the end of it and vastly less money. I had to give up living on my own to live with other people for the first time in years and learn how to budget a lot more affectively.

BEST DECISION EVER! If you are unhappy in your job and you’ve always wanted to do or be something else, just do it!! I cannot recommend it enough. As far as I am concerned, I do not want to be on my death bed with the words “I wish I’d…” forming on my lips.  So far LCM has been briliant in helping me to understand how I should be presenting my music to the World and how I can affectively manage my own career up to a point.  If you are interested in LCM or UWL, the link to their site is below;

http://www.uwl.ac.uk/academic-schools/music

Onto my last couple of weeks then. IT HAS BEEN AWESOME!! Since my first gig of the year post I have had another four gigs! First off was a live set broadcast on KrystalRadio.net.  Jonjo Cosgrove has had me on the show a couple of times before – once as a Skype interview and once to co host his Wednesday night show with him and promote my charity single last Christmas.

Playing a live set on radio was an awesome experience, and it was at The Underwater Studios! So many cool music videos and film shots have been filmed in the tank there it’s unreal! Check it out here:

http://www.actionunderwaterstudios.com/latest.htm

If you’d like to hear the live set, it’s on my SoundCloud here:

https://soundcloud.com/milliemusic/acoustic-at-krystal

Next up was a gig at The Matthew Cross Hair Salon in Sevenoaks, Kent. I realise this sounds bizarre. I honestly did not know what to expect when I was invited to play in a closed salon by AVP – Acoustic Valium Project – to raise money for charity. It was awesome! Matthew is lovely, as is Dan Littlechild (the man behind AVP) and the whole night was well run. The salon is GORGEOUS!

I also played at The Bedford in Tunbridge Wells on the 27th March for AVP. It was a fantastic event and I was quite literally overwhelmed with the response from the audience. I only had a few CDs with me but I sold them all and had to fess up to others who wanted to buy one that I didn’t think I would sell that many so hadn’t had the foresight to bring more!

This poster was up in and around the venue – I was incredibly flattered to have been used as a poster girl…

avp

I met some lovely people artists and audience alike and if any of you are young aspiring musicians, I recommend getting in touch with AVP. some of the artists on their rosta are as young as 13 and incredibly talented. They are accommodating and nurturing in the way they deal with their artists, and everything they do is geared towards helping others. Their next big events come in the form of Angel Fest at the end of May, and Demelza Go Dotty week at the end of June, both to help raise funds for recent flood victims. Check out AVP here:

http://www.acousticvaliumproject.org.uk/

I will be playing both by the way – full band stylee which I am naturally VERY excited about! I was even featured in an online paper to do with it.. *proud* you can read the article here:

http://www.courier.co.uk/Tonbridge-flood-aid-concert-videos-bands/story-20686248-detail/story.html

I have been up to so much more over the last couple of weeks that I think I am going to have to save it for a different post. Look out for “Gigs and such” up in the next couple of days…. I’ll be talking about gigs I’ve seen rather than played and the reviews I’ve been doing for the Punk Archive.

Happy Monday lovely people…..

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