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The smallest crowd sourced project in the world.

Buy Nick a Mug of Tea by 2033

At the end of September last year I got up in the middle of the night along with thousands of other people to see the red super moon. It was rather magical and I decided to make a date for the next one, it turns out that it is not due until 2033.
I then wrote a song about how the world might be in 2033 called “Jetpacks, Monorails and Rayguns”. In December I recorded it with James NTTB on Piano and it’s now on Spotify for your listening pleasure. Every time the track gets played I will get a tiny, tiny, tiny bit of money from Spotify. 250 plays will get me 1 US cent.
If the song gets 10 plays a day for the next 18 years ,about 65,000 plays, then I get to buy a mug of tea, which I shall of course share with James.
If you want to help with this project then just listen to the song and share it with a friend. If you want to be extra helpful then after listening to the song, click my name on Spotify and click “Follow”, I think that pushes the song up a list.
Thanks for your help and I will let you know if I ever get the Mug of tea.

Sometime ago I wrote about my EP and that if it gets 65,000 plays on Spotify I will be able to buy a cup of tea. I set a target of 2033, which is when the next red super moon is due.
Exciting news, I just got my statement from Spotify and all your plays so far have earned me 23 cents. That’s almost a quarter of a Dollar. !!!!
This is amazing news; I am well on the way to my target. Thank you so much.If you haven’t listened to it yet, or if you want to listen again then head over to spotify
If you want your own personal copy to hug and to hold forever then you can get one on itunes.
I promise not to spend the money until I have enough for a cup of tea, and I will share it with James.

“Best Year Yet.” How the song came together.

I started writing this blog because I want to get good at song writing. Part of that process is understanding how other people go about writing songs. The problem is that most people who have got good at writing songs, particularly those who make a living doing so, don’t talk about it. I also suspect that those who do, don’t want to give all the dark details about how the song evolved, just a glossy version.

I decided I would write a “warts and all” description of how I write songs in the hope that it will help others who, like me, are still learning. Here is a description of how I wrote “Best Year yet”.

I was listening to a news program and the politicians were talking about the “Great Austerity” in the UK. The phrase had echoes of “The Great Depression” in the 1920s and I wanted to write a song about it. I collected together Ideas and wrote a song focused on how bad things are at the moment. It had the following chorus and was generally rather downbeat.

It’s called austerity
the great austerity
put your life on hold
The future was sold
Am               D
The bright tomorrow’s been delayed.

I liked parts of the song but the whole thing was just all doom and gloom so I filed it away.

Sometime later I read Carole King’s Autobiography and one of the reasons she wrote so much is that she was always trying to write a follow up hit when she was working in the Brill building. It was a good way to get very focused.

It gave me an idea for an exercise. I have no idea what has been a hit over the past year as I generally take little interest in the charts but I thought it would be interesting to choose a number one single from the last year and try to write a follow up hit. I listened to a few and in the process I realised that a lot of the choruses used a lot of repetition and a single memorable phrase. There is a good book called “Best Year Yet” around the idea of New Years Resolutions so I chose that and wrote the following chorus.

A                     D
Gona be the best year yet
best year yet
best year
A                     D
Gona be the best year yet
best year yet
Gona be the best

I then added it to the verses of “Great Austerity” and thought it balanced the downbeat words with a more positive feel. This is a live demo that I did of it.

I tried it out a few times and thought the song worked well but I had some feedback on the recording from a guy that I respect a lot. He was a little harsh but I think he was right. He said that the recording needed a lot of work and that the chorus repeated a bit too much. So I simplified the chorus and rerecorded with a bass part and two guitars.

G                     C
Gona be the best year yet
best year yet
Gona be the best

This is the final version.

I’ll be interested in any feedback and would love to hear how your songs developed. That is one of the main reasons I am writing this.

It starts at 3.45 in the video.

If I Didn’t Love You So Much

I wrote this with the feeling of a 1930s smoky club, possibly with a jazz band. I heard the sound of the song in my head before the song came together. I then worked on building the chords to give it a bit more punch. Someone commented “Yves Montand is alive and well and living in Southampton!” after hearing it, so I think the feel of the song worked out.

I’ve performed this with James from “Notice To The Builder” playing some excellent piano. I’ll be recoding a piano version with James early next year as he does a great job on it.

UPDATE: At last I have a recording with James on the Piano.

Agent of Change Petition

I know you get asked to sign a lot of petitions but sometimes it helps to get things moving.
Under the Agent of Change principle, an apartment block to be built near an established live music venue would have to pay for soundproofing, while a live music venue opening in a residential area would be responsible for the costs.
Sounds fair to me.

The Art House, Southampton 20/09/2014

Thank you for hosting me at The Art House on Saturday afternoon. I wasn’t sure quite what to expect, but it was fun and I will certainly be back if you will have me.

Here is a set list in case anyone liked a song but can’t remember what it was called. Some of the songs are on my sound cloud page.

1 All I really need to be happy
2 Bed and breakfast
3 Coffee Monster
4 Club59
5 Do you care enough to fail?
6 First sunny day of summer
7 Food romance
8 King for a day
9 Searching
10 Only see the sun
11 Songbirds sing to keep warm
12 The year I hitch hiked down to Rome
13 Wolves
14 Sheep day
15 The Best Roses in Paris
16 I’m so happy you were born, Happy Birthday
17 Who are you pretending to be today?
18 Bricks
19 Shooting Stars
20 Men have to sing love songs
21 The Quiet Hunt
22 If I turned into a beetle

If you want any further information then you can keep up with where I am playing and the songs I have written on one or more fo the following.