It’s that time of the year when you hear the words ‘In January, I will…..’ followed by some life change that could easily be started in the next hour. I’m not judging people who do that, I’m the king of ‘my diet starts on Monday’, ‘I’m going to learn to cook’ and the old chestnut, ‘I will learn how to play Piano this year’. However, every year I do set my set some challenges and goals that I’d like to achieve by the end of the year.
Since around 2012, every year, one of my many goals was to play a gig abroad. I did play in Spain in 2008 with my old band ‘JKLMNO’, but never as a solo act. The closest that I have got was singing Karaoke in Portugal at the beginning of 2014. It turns out, I can not claim that as an official gig. In 2016, I actually managed to achieve my goal in the form of two gigs in Belgium. I did write a whole blog about these gigs, but I’ll summarise in this one. I went to Belgium…I was exhausted so I slept a lot…I didn’t sing very well for the first gig, did better the second night…I did not learn the local lingo and I did not have a Belgian waffle.
In 2015, I set myself the challenge of releasing a song every week. Somehow, I managed to get through that and quite enjoyed myself in the process. At the beginning of 2016, I said to the world that I would be releasing an album come September 2016….this has not happened. I thought that writing 12 good songs would be a lot easier than writing 52 others, I was wrong. I did start recording it however, and it is sounding like the best thing that I have thus far, which is exciting. I go back in January to finish it off, it then it gets mixed in February, and then mastered. So, it should be released in 2017.
At the end of every year, along with the tax return, I do a gig count. With that comes its own New Years resolution, to increase the amount of gigs that I had done in the previous year. In my younger years, I was racking up maybe 30-50 gigs a year, this increased slowly over time. When I left University, I was doing around 150 gigs a year. At the time, I was thinking that that was enough and it would’ve been impossible to do more. The year after that, I did 200. The year after that, 230. The year after that I bagged around 247 gigs. At the start of 2016, I had 247 to beat and I’ve smashed it. I’ve done 275 so far, and end the year on 281. This does not come without its downsides. I am absolutely exhausted. I’m used to being tired, but it’s quite counter productive. I have not had time to write any songs, only bits and bobs of ideas.
It turns out gigging constantly does not bode well with trying to write and record an album. I’ve only had the occasional day off here and there since the summer, and on my days off, I am completely written off. I pick up a guitar every now and then but my voice usually refuses to work. I think my vocal cords have developed a stubborn personality. ‘IT’S MY DAY OFF!! WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO MAKE ME WORK!’. I love gigging, it’s the best job in the world 99% of the time. The negatives of the job are obviously the unsociable hours and the increase in fast food into my body. You’d often finish a gig late at night and the only places open are fast food chains and you haven’t eaten since lunch. It’s not good for your health, but it is bloody good fun.
So with all this in mind, I have a few New Years Resolutions and we will meet back here in 2017 at the same time and have my annual review:
Finish the album and release it
Do a headline tour promoting said album
Learn Piano, or at least 2 full Bruce Springsteen songs
At least sign up for the gym…thats step 1. That whole exercise thing is step 2. One step at a time.
Try and not take so much on. Gigging’s fun, but so is having a clear voice for most of the year
Book a flight to Nashville