WHAT GENRE AM I, AND DOES IT MATTER?

When you feel like you absolutely cannot carry on, give it a go anyway. You might be surprised.

Man, I sound like a fucking motivational meme don’t I? There should be a picture of a sunrise behind that line. What I am getting at is both metaphorical and very literal. I am writing this post straight after a thirty minute run. Today I have been on my feet for the best part of nine hours in my shitty retail job, I didn’t get much sleep last night (I’m on strong sleeping medication for my insomnia, but somehow I don’t think going to bed at 1.30 in the morning is what the doctor had in mind) and my right ankle hurts like a bitch from where I fractured it in several places four months ago and it hasn’t healed properly. I really, really didn’t want to run this evening.

I thought to myself ‘just do ten or fifteen minutes and see how you feel’, so I splashed cold water on my face and went for it. I ended up doing the full thirty without realising the time that had passed.This is exactly the attitude that I, and indeed anybody, needs to achieve goals in life. When I weighed myself this morning I was pleased to see that I’ve lost four pounds since this time last week. I’m still a fat fuck, but a fat fuck who is ‘getting shit done‘.

There’s a nice little random introductory paragraph for you. So what shall we talk about today? How about where I fit in with regards to the wide spectrum of music genres in the world? I’ve always been into the concept of music itself rather than any one particular style or genre. My childhood was a happy one surrounded by music, with both my parents guitar players. My father is an incredible musician, able to play in any style and improvise with ease. He’s a jazzer at heart; with a particular leaning towards fusion artists like Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin and Jaco Pastorius, but he is also extremely open minded and has introduced me to way more music than I could ever hope to list here. He is responsible for my lifelong love of Bowie, for which I will be forever grateful. He also introduced me to Korn – go figure.

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Paul and Christina, my parents. This is my favourite picture of them, a year before I came along.

My mother is a talented singer-songwriter with a beautiful voice (thanks for the genetics, Mum!) and a love for Country that she has passed on to me, along with the singer-songwriters of the 70s such as James Taylor and Neil Young. She has a natural gift for writing evocative lyrics of longing (my favourite song of hers is called ‘Never Been To Nashville’ – when I heard it I vowed that if I ever ‘made it’ I would take her there) and has a beautiful way with fingerstyle guitar. My brother is also a guitarist and has a degree in Acoustic Engineering, and my sister also plays guitar, flute, and writes songs. We are the Von Trapps! With way more dysfunction.

My eclectic musical childhood has led me to love music in all its forms – I can’t think of a genre where I can’t find at least something of merit – yes, even Dubstep. Where my heart truly lies though, is two very different genres; Metal and Acoustic Singer-Songwriting.

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I’m definitely a metalhead at heart.

I love metal. Its the reason my first couple of bands were of the metal and rock variety. And I mean pretty much all types of metal, from Metallica to Korn, Dimmu Borgir to Rage Against The Machine, Tool to Sepultura. I love it all. I also love acoustic singer-songwriters both folky and poptastic. I love Jeff Buckley, Ani DiFranco, Elliott Smith and James Taylor, but I also love Jason Mraz, Alanis Morissette, Sarah Bareilles and even a cheeky bit of Ed Sheeran.

This makes knowing what kind of music I should make myself pretty hard. I always fancied myself as a bit of rockstar – I’m pretty confident onstage in front of a band and love rocking the fuck out. The problem is this – I’m an alto with a smooth, mellifluous singing voice, and I have to face facts that I’m more James Blunt than James Hetfield. My bipolar nature and rapid changes in mood that I alluded to in previous posts don’t make my musical life any easier – one minute I want to be a happy, upbeat singer-songwriter with quickfire wordplay lyrics like Mraz and the next I’ll be huddled in a corner wanting to wallow in some Billy Corgan-esque angst.

There is only one solution to this – stop trying to pigeonhole myself and write what I want to. The twelve songs I currently have are pretty evenly split between upbeat positivity and regretfully plaintive. If I want my next album to be a black metal concept album about Rasputin then so be it! I’m kidding.

So not kidding.

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