Gigs

Songwriters Night #5
Fri 11th February 2022
Katie in the Attic + Patchworks + Haystack Monolith [FB event]

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Songwriters Night #5

Songwriters Night #5

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Read more: Article @ The Courier.

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Songwriters Night #4 - Friday 3rd December 2021. Wow, another great night!
Awesome sets from a band, a duo and a solo: Red Vanilla, Nathan Bellshaw + Stewart James





Q + A with acts from Songwriters Night #4

Red Vanilla - songwriter Anna

Q: What inspired you to write songs?
A: I write songs purely based on an emotion I’m feeling or something I’m going through - good or bad, I process all my thoughts through writing. Most songs I write have to start with music first - I find my best lyrics come to me when I already have a melody in my head to put them to.
Moments of inspiration are totally unpredictable for me - a lot of the time I’ll think about a certain feeling during a moment where it’s completely unrelated to my surroundings, and quickly write down a sentence to encapsulate that feeling in the notes on my phone - then later I’ll take time to myself to sit with a guitar riff and build on that thought until I have a song out of it.

Q: Any good stories about a song?
A: We have a song called Electric Blue which we now refer to as a cursed song. We started writing it two years ago and only just finished it a few rehearsals ago. When we first tried writing it, our guitarist came up with a riff and had it looping through a pedal - we left the room and for a while and when we came back the looper had switched off so we lost the riff. We had nothing written down/no videos of it being played, it was so frustrating. We didn’t go back to that song for ages afterwards, but he did eventually figure out the same part again. It’s been through more changes than any other song and was definitely the most difficult song for me to write lyrically. It covers quite a profound subject, so I wanted to write something thought provoking that lots of people might relate to.

Q: Who are songwriters you enjoy?
A: I hugely admire Ellie Rowsell from Wolf Alice. She doesn’t shy away from voicing frustration or discontent, but does so in a really poetic and compelling way. She’s so honest with her own self-reflection and it makes her lyrics really relatable. I find myself becoming the character of her storytelling when I listen to her lyrics, which inspires me to channel my own emotions and aids with creativity when it comes to writing for Red Vanilla.

Q: Some people look for meaning in a song, others just like the feeling of it, what do you think?
A: Both! I’m very honest when I write - I’ll never sing something I don’t truly feel or believe. I’ve always been drawn to music with meaningful lyrics, so I make a point of showing real emotion and staying true to myself in my own writing. There’s actually quite a recurring theme in the music I’ve written over the past couple of years since we formed the band - which simply comes down to the place I’m in right now. It’s a very happy place, but you can hear a lot of desperation and apprehension in my lyrics - it’s all about growing up and finding yourself and making the most out of the time you have in life.
On the other hand I’m very much a ‘wait til you’re home alone then dance around to blaring music’ kind of person. I love Hayley Williams from Paramore - she’s such an influential front woman, and my favourite performer to watch live. Before I was in a band, I used to go to a rehearsal space myself every week, plug in my phone and sing along to Paramore songs for 2 hours straight. I didn’t care what they were about, I just loved dancing and letting go - it was the highlight of my week. I always longed for that carefree feeling of pure joy when I’d one day perform my own music. I’m so grateful to now experience that in my own band - it’s so special!

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: I’m really looking forward to the show - playing acoustic isn’t something we do often so this will be a nice change for us. We’ve worked really hard on these songs and can’t wait to share them with everyone.

- Anna from Red Vanilla

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Nathan Bellshaw

Q: What inspires you to write songs/music?
A: I've always enjoyed using songwriting as a way of journalling an emotion that I'm feeling, or an event that happening in my life at any given time. It's a great outlet. Most other times I'm just randomly inspired with a tune out the blue.

Q: Got any good stories about a song you've written?
A: The most recent song I've written is called "The Cog". It's a song about........ Actually, I'll leave it till the night to talk about it. So come along to find out!




Q: Who are songwriters you enjoy or think are awesome?
A: I grew up mainly inspired by the songwriter Jon Foreman from the rock band Switchfoot. He's an exceptional song writer able to make catchy songs with deeply moving lyrics and themes. Other songwriters I really enjoy would be Jason Mraz, who is a great wordsmith, along with John Mayer.

Q: Some people look for meanings in songs, while others just like the feeling they make - where do you stand on this?!
A: I definitely do enjoy a song a lot more if I can connect to the meaning of it, so I suppose I'm the former type of person but I love how music can make you feel a range of emotions whether you know the lyrics or not.

Anything else you'd like to add?
All's to say is that I'm looking forward to sharing my songs with everyone and I'm looking forward to the event!

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Stewart James

Q: Hi, who are you?
A: I am a singer songwriter from Dundee. And father of 2 kids.

Q: Got any good stories about a song you've written?
A: My song lost and found is written about the lack of mental health help in Scotland and my first hand experience in these matters !




Q: Who are songwriters you enjoy or think are awesome?
A: My musical inspirations vary from the mid 60s Bob Dylan to the modern day rock / indie / country bands such as Ben Howard / Paolo Nutini and Dundee's very own Kyle Falconer!

Q: Some people look for meanings in songs, while others just like the feeling they make - where do you stand on this?!
A: I think every song has its very own meaning to everyone and their experience in life.

Anything else you'd like to add?
I also think music brings people closer together. One of the reasons for writing songs myself.

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Songwriters Night #3 - Friday 8th October 2021. Back with a bang after pandemic postponement!
Three top-quality songwriters appeared at our third night: James Liandu, Rebecca Kidd + Lonely Lost Boy




James Liandu

Q: What inspires you to write songs/music?
A: Everyday life.

Q: Got any good stories about a song you've written?
A: Just the other day I wrote a song in ten minutes, and it‘s probably one of my best songs I’ve written.

Q: Who are songwriters you enjoy or think are awesome?
A: My favourite singer songwriter is Lewis Watson. He has been a big inspiration for me musically since I first discovered him on YouTube.

Q: Some people look for meanings in songs, while others just like the feeling they make - where do you stand on this?!
A: I write music for both the lyrical content and the feeling of the tune. Every song I write has a different meaning or general idea in the song; whether it be happy, sad, about one topic or several.

Anything else you'd like to add?
I look forward to performing at this Songwriters evening at Blend. Will be great to perform some new songs and create a vibe.

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Rebecca Kidd

Q: What inspires you to write songs/music?
A: A bunch of different stuff but usually just good and bad things that happen in life, writing it down helps to make sense of stuff.

Q: Got any good stories about a song you've written?
A: One day I was in Glasgow and a random American guy came and sat next to me at Starbucks, he was just on a flight layover but we ended up chatting in depth for like an hour about life. He was like some wise old guru who gave me some good advice, so I wrote a song about him, it's called David (his name was David...)

Q: Who are songwriters you enjoy or think are awesome?
A: I love classic songwriters like Dylan and Cash. Not forgetting the females, I think Amy Winehouse was a great writer and current artists like Dodie, Orla Gartland.

Q: Some people look for meanings in songs, while others just like the feeling they make - where do you stand on this?!
A: When listening to songs I don't really look for meaning but with my own writing I suppose it's more about that. I actually started off more writing poetry so it's kind of stuck that I write about stuff that means something to me.

Anything else you would like to add?
Nope just look forward to seeing everyone there:)



Lonely Lost Boy

Q: What inspires you to write songs/music?
A: Pretty much everything! I'm not always great with speaking so music has always helped me tell a story. To tell people stories about experiences they may have had.

Q: Got any good stories about a song you've written?
A: 'Don't Be A Fool' was my first single and it was about a friend who kept falling for a girl who he wanted to be with while she was wanting to go out party and have him at the side. So that's where I got the influence of the track.

Q: Who are songwriters you enjoy or think are awesome?
A: Legends for me would be Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Johnny Cash, Neil Young, Paul Simon. Newer songwriters I'd say Jake Bugg, Lewis Capaldi, Ed Sheeran, Gerry Cinnamon and Dylan Thomas all very unique in their own way.

Q: Some people look for meanings in songs, while others just like the feeling they make - where do you stand on this?!
A: Me personally doesn't really bother me either way! I listened to alot of punk Rock at early stages of getting into music and I just loved the rawness of it all some songs were funny and others were anarchy! For me it's nice to be clever but it's all about how it makes you feel.

Q: And anything else you'd like to add?
A: I play the ukulele when I play acoustic as it adds a unique sound to my music.

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Songwriters Night #2 - Friday 7th February 2020. What a great night celebrating original songwriting, with 3 exciting young Dundee songwriters: Pete Smith, Taylor-Ray + Sean Findlay



Pete Smith

Q: What inspires you to write songs/music?
A: Day to day life, my own experiences, living life. I've had a lot of stuff happen in my life, and instead of sitting greeting about it, I'd rather write a song!

Q: Got any good stories about a song you've written?
A: When my daughter was wee, there was a time she wasn't able to sleep, and I took some time to settle her back down. Some words came to me so I sat with my guitar, played some chords and began putting them together. This became a song that got airplay all over the country. Pete also has loads of other stories about songs, including prison and more: come along to the gig to hear more...

Q: Who are songwriters you enjoy?
A: Storytellers, eg Mark Knopfler, he tells stories with his words and the way he plays guitar. Michael Marra. Robbie Ward! (Robbie appeared at our first songwriters night in December, and since Pete heard him there, he bought Robbie's CD).

Q: Some people look for meanings in songs, while others just like the feeling they make - where do you stand on this?!
A: Depends how you're feeling when you hear it. A song could bring you down, or lift you up.
Usually when I hear songs I like, I'm thinking how I can steal something from it!!

Anything else you'd like to add?
Music is medicine - Pete started a music group in the community to help people learn to play guitar and sing songs, and in the past 7 months he's set up more groups across Dundee.

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Taylor-Ray

Q: What inspires you to write songs/music?
A: I'm inspired to write songs by everyday experiences, I've written songs about nights out I've been on, relationships, "not-quite" relationships, the physical affects/emotions felt when dealing with anxiety, I even have a song about my star sign.. I find inspiration everywhere and I feel like people relate to them too!

Q: Got any good stories about a song you've written?
A: I had an experience where I had to go to a&e because I had a panic attack before I knew I was dealing with anxiety, and afterwards I wrote a song called "feels like lightning" about how it made me feel, I always look back at it and feel proud at how far I've come.

Q: Who are songwriters you enjoy?
A: I'm a Miley Cyrus super fan! I think she's great shes so positive and her vocals are so underrated! Maggie Rogers is an amazing songwriter and I like to take some inspiration from her, I also love Mallrat I love the way she writes her songs.

Q: Some people look for meanings in songs, while others just like the feeling they make - where do you stand on this?!
A: Songwriting is another form of art, if you can take something away from the a song you've heard or relate to it that's great! And if you just enjoy listening that's great too! Music is so universal and varied there's something for everyone!

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Sean Findlay

Q: What inspires you to write songs/music?
A: I always start with the music. Usually my inspiration kicks in when I stumble upon a melody and chords I like. I then usually sing whatever words come to mind fitting with the melody.

Often the lyrics I get with this technique are actually more meaningful than I think at the time and come out as reactions to life events. I often write a song and I can't figure out what it's entirely about until a year later when I realise I was talking about something which happened just before I wrote the song was written. It's a way I express things often before I've made sense of them. Other times I write songs because I have a line which I think sounds cool so I add a riff and a groove to it. Inspiration usually doesn't happen often though and I find that patience pays off. I have written thousands of songs which I have chucked away because I didn't think they were that original enough. For every hundred songs I write I tend to get one I like.

Q: Got any good stories about a song you've written?
A: I have a song which I wrote years ago when I was 15 in one of my old bands about a fellow band member. We had fallen out over something (I can't remember) so I wrote a song making fun of him without stating it was about him. We played the song at loads of gigs and some of our fans even figured out it was him. Perhaps a bit immature of me at the time but got a good song out of it at least because I'm still playing it today!

Q: Who are songwriters you enjoy?
A: The Beatles songs are pretty hard to beat when it comes to songwriters in my opinion. I'm constantly blown away by their ability to write so many diverse yet great memorable songs. The best songs sound like they have always existed. Absolutely timeless and I think The Beatles were great at writing songs like that. I like loads of music though. I think if someone is able to hit me with a good chorus I appreciate that because it's hard to do.

Anything else you'd like to add?
Thanks for getting me involved in this event. Dundee has some great musical talent and something like this is well worth coming to see!

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Songwriters Night #1 - Friday 6th December 2019. We had an awesome launch at Blend - with a cosy atmosphere, appreciative audience and magical story-telling songs from Robbie Ward + Ed Muirhead



We will keep on showcasing songwriters every couple of months, and providing a place where you can hear exciting original music in an intimate setting. If you would like to get involved, please drop us a line: gigs@facemusic.co.uk.