Posts Tagged ‘jamie cullum’

My BBC Introducing Musician’s Masterclass experience + birthday adventures & more!

So I’ve had a pretty crazy week this week, one that’s been incredibly fun and full of memories I will treasure. To top it all off I’m making my first radio appearance of the year later this evening on during Steve Oliver’s show at 9pm, so be sure to tune in! :)

My adventures this week began with birthday eve. You see, two days after my birthday I would be off to London for the BBC Introducing Musician’s Masterclass, and up until this point I felt ready and prepared for it. But in my typical fashion I then did a complete U-turn and started panicking about things, namely giving out CD’s. I’d decided to bring along some copies of my new album, ‘Remember Me’, but on birthday eve I started stressing that giving out an album would be too much. I made the decision to make some 3-track sampler CD’s instead (industry people like something easily digestible that they can stick on whilst in the car etc you see), but the issue was making them look professional. My professionally manufactured albums had the upper hand there, and I wanted my sampler CD’s to match that quality.

So birthday eve was spent wondering around Nottingham trying to find a lightscribe DVD drive for cheap. For those unaware, lightscribe drives are nifty CD/DVD burners that can actually burn labels on to special lightscribe discs, making them look somewhat near an professionally pressed CD in appearance. After much searching I got a drive, 50 lightscribe discs, and a bunch of photo paper to print the covers on for around £45, so off I went home with a big hole burnt in my pocket :P

The trouble started here. Burning the discs ran smoothly (although took AGES, lightscribe labels take a long time to burn), but printing the covers didn’t! I got about 4 printed off before the ink ran out on my printer – no worries I thought, I’ll refill the cartridges with my ink refill kit. I’d done this many times before so I was confident about doing it right, maybe TOO confident :P My printer has one colour cartridge, with three chambers for cyan, magenta and yellow inks. Me being an idiot, I put the wrong colours in the wrong chambers!

So in the end I spent birthday eve, half my birthday and all of the day before the BBC masterclass trying to drain the colour cartridge so I could refill it correctly. I drained it after hours and hours of printing, but after refilling the cartridge correctly it obviously couldn’t take the strain and wouldn’t print properly any more. In the end I had to go round to a friends to print off the covers on their printer, and so by the time I’d finished it was like 10pm, and I had to be up at 2:30am the next morning to get ready for the masterclass! Not good! :P

Anyway, rewind a little bit with me back to my birthday.  Aside from the printer woes, I had a great day with my family and received lots of lovely gifts! Tickets to see Laura Marling in March at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham were one of them, which I’m uber excited for!

We all went out to the cinema to see the new Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows movie, which whilst I felt didn’t quite live up to the first film I still thoroughly enjoyed, and Robert Downey JR was once again phenomenal in it. After that we went for a meal at a greek restaurant called Yamas, which is a really nice place, and then went to the pub for a quiet drink.

So, fast forward to the 19th, and I’m sat in the car at 4am with my friend Roo on our way to London. Roo films a lot of local artists playing in Nottingham, and very kindly offered to drive me there and back to the BBC Masterclass.

Click the image to check out some of this year's highlights!

So what was the Masterclass, exactly? Well, it is in its second year, and it’s an event for up-and-coming unsigned musicians organised by the BBC. It takes place at both Abbey Road and Maida Vale studios and around 200 musicians were nominated by BBC Radio DJ’s to attend. I felt hugely honoured to be nominated and I have to say it has to have been one of the real highlights of my music career so far.

Every one of us had our own personalised timetables, with different sessions we were selected to attend. The real highlights for me were my session with Twin B, and the ‘In Conversation’ session with Jo Whiley and Jamie Cullum. Twin B’s session had him chatting with John Rostron (SWN Festivals), Saint Saviour (who is fantastic live if you haven’t seen her) and hip-hop artist and Youtube entrepreneur Charlie Sloth. It was particularly interesting hearing Charlie’s story of how he built his musical empire around him – how he had a particularly rough ride and really had to keep faith through his struggles before he started making a living from his efforts. I had a nice chat with John afterwards too and learned a lot from him about how to approach festival promoters, which was really helpful.

Jo Whiley’s session with Jamie Cullum was pretty incredible. As always Jo was excellent at interviewing, posing the right amount of questions and never being too intrusive. Jamie was quite simply a revelation, sharing his story of how he made it to where he is now, and wowing everybody in the room with some unbelievable performances. I even got to ask him a question in the Q&A session afterwards which was really cool. Amazingly as well as a result of asking a question during the Q&A I ended up being interviewed for Jo Whiley’s show on Radio 2 that evening, which was crazy!

At the end of the day there was an hours worth of networking in the bar area of Abbey Road, which was a fantastic opportunity. I got to meet and have a nice chat with Newton Faulker, which was awesome, and as well as being a lovely guy he also gave me some really great advice, so that was cool.

That night I had a total of 6 hours sleep before being up bright and early again to go into the studio with my friend Jason to record some new material. He had recently bought the new Miktek CV-4 microphone and wanted to try it out on guitar and vocals, so we spent the day messing around with different microphone techniques and seeing what the CV-4 was capable of. It was a really productive day and I’m hoping to be doing more recording with Jason soon. It’s not often you get a friend who has an nice expensive microphone and you work really well with them too! :P The CV-4 sounded beautiful and I’m really happy with the resulting recording. As me and Jason are both sound engineers it was good to have someone I could be a bit geeky with in that sense too :P

After recording I stopped off at The Maze to drop off some posters for my album launch gig. Nottingham LIVE were putting on a show that night, and when I got there Nottingham LIVE’s Darren P asked me if I could fill in for an artist who’d had to drop out. Seeing as I was there with my guitar on my back, I figured why not?

In the end it turned out to be an unexpected but really fun evening. I had a great response to my set and have hopefully now gotten another show off the back of my performance (more on that soon), and all the other acts were amazing – particularly Rob Green (who stole the show) and Just James.

Nottingham LIVE gig at The Maze

So to conclude it’s been a fantastic week for me, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2012 holds!

All the best,
PS. Don’t forget to download my FREE EP HERE :)

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