Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Matt Henshaw 2015

Matt Henshaw Matt Henshaw Image Picture 2015

Monday, 22 December 2014

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Monday, 8 December 2014

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Matt Henshaw Press ...

---===PRESS===---
Quotes
“Sublime…a blue-eyed soul voice that’s up there with the best of them” - Paul Lester, The Guardian

"Just Perfect" - Dean Jackson, BBC

"The Missing Link!" - Jaime Hodgson, NME, I-D, The Observer

"It's easy to see why he is getting gigs across the country and over in Europe, just listen to the songs, Matt Henshaw has the potential to be as big as Ed Sheeran!" - Phil Patterson, Music Sector Specialist, UKTI

"In comes Henshaw's soulboy vocals and suddenly you've got a big ass shaking block party on your hands" - Gill Mills, Amazing Radio

"Amazing singer-songwriter, great songs one after the other" - Demon FM

"Soulful with a growing fanbase" - The Leicester Mercury

"There is only one Matt Henshaw… only one, brilliantly talented, trend setting, soul saving, Matt Henshaw!" - The Guy With A Stick

Interviews & other press links
Scouseland Sound Interview
Linked In Promotional Feature
The Ripple Newspaper - University of Leicester
Subba Culture interview with Jeremy Chick
Sound Cavern Interview
Now Tune In Interview
Leicester Music Interview


Friday, 18 July 2014

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Monday, 16 June 2014

'Always in the Way' EP OUT NOW !!!



http://www.MattHenshaw.com
http://www.facebook.com/matthenshaw

DOWNLOAD & STREAM 'ALWAYS IN THE WAY ' NOW !!
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/always-in-the-way-ep/id875188981
http://matthenshaw.bandcamp.com/album/always-in-the-way-ep
https://play.spotify.com/user/ilsonowl/playlist/2tHGjyz7EpEZpvgc8HpuRm

You said you'd been here before
But they path you take you're never sure
And you say you want it more and more

Well, my door is always open
If you need a helping hand
Some words just to guide you
There's always something, Always In The Way
There's always something, Always In The Way

You sailed off to a distant shore
To find an ocean clear and pure
And you say you're loving more and more

Well, my door is always open
If you need a helping hand
Some words just to guide you
There's always something, Always In The Way
There's always something, Always In The Way

Try and you try and you still fail
Cry and you cry I hear a wail

Well, my door is always open
If you need a helping hand
Some words just to guide you
There's always something, Always In The Way
There's always something, Always In The Way

You said you'd been there and seen it all and done it all before
But they path you took you're still not sure
And you say you loving and you're needing and you're wanting more and more

Well, my door is always open
If you need a helping hand
Some words just to guide you
There's always something, Always In The Way
There's always something, Always In The Way
There's always something, Always In The Way
There's always something, Always In The Way
There's always something, Always In The Way
There's always something, Always In The Way
There's always something, Always In The Way
There's always something, Always In The Way
There's always something, Always In The Way
There's always something, Always In The Way


Written & Performed by Matt Henshaw

Recorded and Mixed by Little & Large Productions
Simon Lubowski and Nik Robinson

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: 'Always in the Way' EP OUT NOW !!!

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: 'Always in the Way' EP OUT NOW !!!: http://www.MattHenshaw.com http://www.facebook.com/matthenshaw DOWNLOAD & STREAM 'ALWAYS IN THE WAY ' NOW !! https://itune...

Friday, 13 June 2014

Linked in Blog by Matt Henshaw - Launching a Career Comeback

Hello, I’m Matt Henshaw and (like the beautiful Slideshare above shows) I launched a successful career comeback.

What does that actually mean? Well, a little while ago, I realised I was doing a job that was not my dream. So I decided to make a change and follow my dream – to become a singer-songwriter and self-sufficient working musician, like I said, my very own career comeback. Here’s my story and how LinkedIn played a part in it.

From my time at school to the end of 2008, I was in a band called Censored. What started as a few lads from Nottingham messing about soon became serious.

Matt Blog Image 1

It was a great time – we were even supporting our music heroes, bands like Supergrass and Ocean Colour Scene. And hanging out with the likes of the Kaiser Chiefs and the Arctic Monkeys – what could possibly go wrong?

I suppose I never really thought about the future and without any real guidance, we took on too much and spread ourselves too thin. I got burnt out and had to cancel gigs and festivals. Sometimes when you lose momentum, you don’t find it again.

I was in touching distance of my dream career – then it was suddenly over.

Skip to 2012, I was working as a Computer Science Sustainability Research Assistant – try saying that with your mouth full! It was OK, it paid the bills but it wasn’t my dream.

Then I went to watch some music gigs for the first time in a long time. The Stone Roses had reformed and Jack White was playing solo shows with all the joy and freedom that goes with it. And that’s when it hit me – I’m one of these people, I’m a musician, that’s MY dream! I had to get back in. But the music landscape had changed since 2008. And it hadn’t exactly gone well last time.

Matt Blog Image 2

That’s where LinkedIn came in. I thought if this can work for office stuff why not music as well? I wanted to showcase my passion, my personality and make sure people took me seriously as a professional – not just another lad with a guitar.

After updating my profile, I soon found endorsements rolling in from my old network backing my music skills. It was a massive confidence boost. Then I found people started coming to me! For gigs, festivals and just putting stuff together in the recording studio. My profile was like a magnet – all because I had added a bit more detail.

I now have a gig at the Camden Roundhouse and the Elevator Music Festival.

Matt Blog Image 3

You may be thinking “good for him but I don’t want to be a musician”. Well, that’s not my point.

Whether you’re a musician, a lawyer, a scientist or an accountant you can always do better. LinkedIn is for anyone with ambition. It’s not going to magically make things happen for you, but if you want to follow your dream then investing in your profile and having LinkedIn in your corner can only help. LinkedIn played its part for me and it can for you.

What’s your dream?

Peace, Love & Tea, MHx

PS. If you like my Slideshare, why not share it on :)

Monday, 9 June 2014

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Things I Like ... LinkedIn

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Things I Like ... LinkedIn: How to Rock the Perfect LinkedIn Profile from LinkedIn Good evening folks ! You may have seen this, or heard me talking about it on...

Matt Henshaw Interview with MarketingProfs.com

1. How did that LinkedIn Slideshare collaboration come about/happen?
I was contacted by a representative from LinkedIn for their upcoming promotional drive, they wanted an active user to represent each sector, and they chose little old me for the music industry, of all the thousands of people on their making, producing and promoting music, it was quite an honour.

2. Why LinkedIn and not, say, Facebook?
Simply because I was asked in all honesty, but LinkedIn is really good I have found, essentially it's just like Facebook but more professional, I only found myself on there by accident really, but it's a great way of expanding your online network beyond your friends and finding people who work specifically in your area. And it was nice to see all my recommendations and endorsements coming in when I first posted 'Professional Singer/Songwriter & Musician' on there.

3. What's been the result? Are you a full time musician now?
Yeah, I left my job at the university just over a year ago now and things have gone from strength to strength for me doing what I want to do and being in control of my own life again. In terms of results from LinkedIn I've managed to develop a good few connections, get some shows and work with different people, and there are loads of qualified on there willing to offer feedback for nothing.

Congrats on your success! By the way - where are you located?
I live in Leicester, originally from Nottingham and I've lived all over, north and south, but Leicester is great place to live and make music because it's in the heart of the country and I can get anywhere in England really in 2 hours on 50 quid's worth of petrol.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Welcome to June !

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Welcome to June !: Another month is upon us, and I've uploaded a new song - The Way It Is - from my upcoming EP 'Always In The Way' ... More on...

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Interview with Mor Music - Up & Coming Artist - Matt Hensaw

Up and coming artist - Matt Henshaw



By Bemi (Founder Mor Music Group)

Matt Henshaw has an unassuming air about him. He’s achieved quite a lot at the age of 26 years old. I recall him talking about his review by The Guardian, and the NME Award – he said it in a casual tone. I had to repeat what he said back to him for clarification.


Matt has over 6000 likes on Facebook, over 10, 000 Twitter followers. He doesn’t mind sharing the spotlight with other up and coming artists – he posts their music on his Facebook, and Twitter pages. I must commend his effort, as I don’t often see a lot of up and coming artists recommending their peers.

Here’s an artist with a calm charm, and he makes beautiful music with meaningful lyrics.
By the way, did I mention he’s got a Bachelors, and Masters degree.

You can read more about Matt Henshaw in my interview with him:


1. How did you get started in your music career? And how long have you been involved in music (part-time and full-time)?

I only decided to properly do music as a "career" in July of last year, I've been singing all my life, and picked up a guitar when I was about 10.


2. How would you describe your genre of music? And who are your musical influences (classic and contemporary)?

I like to call my music Rhythm & Gospel just because they're words that sound nice together, and I don't really like to subscribe to genre theory so I've invented my own. And my influences? They're all classic, roots music really, soul, gospel, blues, jazz and ska, and classic songwriters. I don't really have any contemporary influences aside from the other musicians I come across, and play with.


3. You've got thousands of likes/followers on Facebook, and Twitter. You also have high fan interaction/activity on Facebook. Even your cute cat Tippy has a Facebook page with over 6000 likes. How do you manage to keep your fans engaged?

How do I manage to keep myself engaged? Ha ha. No, I think it's important. It's become such an important part of being a singer, musician or an artist these days. I think it pays to suss out how it all works really, and keep on top of it yourself, and be genuine. When I was in a band years ago there was only MySpace, and that was it. Now I'm on my phone operating across thirty different networks and interacting with people all over the world, and people who like to communicate in different ways. I think if you're a positive person, and you believe in the human race as I do the internet is a great place, and you can work it to your advantage. But you have to be genuine, and willing to put the work in.


4. You were the 2010 NME Breakthrough artist winner (see link below) – that was major milestone in your music career. Could you talk us through the process?

It wasn't really a major milestone, I wasn't even thinking of it as a career back then, I was busy studying really. I was singing on some hip-hop records that for various reasons or another, one more hilarious than the next, we put out an album, and an EP that had to go out under my name. We ended up playing at some major festivals with likes of Dizzee Rascal, Chase & Status, and Ellie Goulding, supporting Jessie J, and winning plaudits, awards, video awards, and loads of features all over but couldn't sustain it. It was too hectic, and far too many things going on, people disappearing, and I had a thesis to write, and an "academic career" to concentrate on. But look where we are now, eh?



5. The Guardian music’s (top music critics/reviewers in the UK) description of your sound – “It's sublime, a blue-eyed soul voice to compare with the best of them, soaring over the song, mapping out the contours of the melody with just the tiniest bit of grit.”
How did it feel being reviewed by The Guardian music at such an early stage in your music career?

It was great, I remember being in the flat in London where I was at the time the day that came out, and it was overwhelming, thousands of people reading about me and listening to a track that me and Reggii had done in his basement cellar, and watching a video we'd done walking around a council estate in Tamworth with a few mates. I couldn't get over the line that said I looked like the kid from Kes now in his twenties or something. But the most important thing for me was that it was written by Paul Lester, someone who I respected, and had bought books that he'd written in the past!


6. Could you talk about your upcoming EP due out in June? (release date details etc.)

Yes, my second totally self-funded independent EP record - 'Always In The Way' - will be out on Monday 16th June. I'm throwing parties in London on the 19th, and Leicester on the 20th to celebrate. It's four more tracks like the first one, It Ain't Easy / My Life that came out in March, recorded here, there and everywhere, and a mixture of things that I like. The lead track is a folky number celebrating human connection against all odds, and it's my mum's favourite. There's a waltzy love song on there, some heavy rockin' blues, and a piano ballad from imaginary French film soundtrack. I like it, and I hope loads of other people will too.


7. Where would you like to see your music career 5 years from now?

I don't mind, as long as the bills, and rent are paid, and there's petrol in the car, I'll still be playing something for someone, somewhere.


8. Do you have any message for your fans out there?

Thank You. If you like what I do, I thank you. And Spread The Love!


Below are links for more information on Matt Henshaw. You can show your support by giving him a like on Facebook, and following him on Twitter.

http://www.matthenshaw.com
http://www.facebook.com/matthenshaw
http://www.twitter.com/matthenshaw11
http://www.soundcloud.com/matthenshaw

http://www.youtube.com/user/ilsonowl
http://www.nme.com/news/nme-breakthrough/52112
http://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2010/sep/30/new-band-september-playlist

Mor Music Group Blog: Up and coming artist - Matt Henshaw

Mor Music Group Blog: Up and coming artist - Matt Henshaw: By Bemi (Founder Mor Music Group) Matt Henshaw has an unassuming air about him. He’s achieved quite a lot at the age of 26 years o...

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Tea and Toast with Matt Henshaw & Stu Crown ... Po...

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Tea and Toast with Matt Henshaw & Stu Crown ... Po...: Good afternoon friends, family, fans and loved ones, Here's something new for you all, and it was pretty off the cuff. Me and my fr...

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Things I Like ... Cricket

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Things I Like ... Cricket: Sadly I've spent this afternoon at a funeral, mourning the loss of a dear friend, and father of one of my oldest and best friends. He...

Friday, 9 May 2014

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Friday, 2 May 2014

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Monday, 28 April 2014

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Things I Like ... Khan Academy

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Things I Like ... Khan Academy: There are a few things I enthuse about , endlessly if you know me, fruit and vegetables , health and nutrition, tea , music and football ...

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Friday, 25 April 2014

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Things I Like ...

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Things I Like ...: And simply, sometimes, I like to share with you Things I Like ... and I hope some of you like them too ... here are the things that have mad...

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Matt Henshaw Sings ...

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Matt Henshaw Sings ...: A recent addition to Matt Henshaw's Adventures in Wonderland is Matt Henshaw Sings ... at the request of my wonderful followers, some of...

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Henshaw's Horticultural Blog

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Henshaw's Horticultural Blog: I started writing about my garden in October and right now in the Spring/Summer it's bloomin' lovely ... here's my little journe...

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Matt Henshaw Recommends ...

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Matt Henshaw Recommends ...: Just whilst we're having a pause, here you can flick through my recommendations, I started in November and this feature has quickly beco...

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: It Ain't Easy / My Life Available to Download & St...

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: It Ain't Easy / My Life Available to Download & St...: Before the madness of Summer and the Festival season starts I'm going to take a little time to sit back and think about all I have done ...

Monday, 21 April 2014

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: London This Wednesday !

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: London This Wednesday !: My first adventure down in the big smoke as a fully fledged singer songwriter solo artist ... I hope you'll come and join me at The Hoot...

Friday, 18 April 2014

Coming Around

One year on from it's release I'm going to jot down some notes about the writing and recording of this record with Mr Jimmy B-Boy ReggiiMental himself, more for my own personal diary and memory bank benefit, but if you enjoy reading along too then I Love You More !

The Deepest Cellar
Can't Hold Back
The Fire Pit - EP

January 2013 and James Batchelor had be released from her majesty's pleasure and I was floundering in a job at the University of Leicester. Already considering jumping ship and pursuing a musical endeavour with Satsuma Elephants, long before I'd thought about or even wanted to be a solo singer-songwriter, Jimmy's new found freedom pushed us together and collaborate on something with such an urgency, freedom and freshness that I've never known before, it was a very positive time and I thank Jimmy B enormously for it !

We even recorded a song called Freedom that I quite liked, but it didn't make it onto the album, maybe you'll hear it sometime.

So we got together and hatched a plan of songs to sample, beats to loop, rappers to speak and got Joe Rizzle behind the desk making it sound fresh. We ended up writing and recording loads more tracks than we intended, again, you might hear some more someday.

And we hit the road, originally as a two piece and then blossomed during festival season with full 7 piece soul funk band !

Loads of stories to tell and loads of Love to share, but I'll save that for another day,, another blog, another tale.

Let's go through each track one by one and see what I can remember ...

Wade in the Water by The Ramsey Lewis Trio. Thank You !

Thinking Of You

A pleasant poppy Northern Soul number. For everybody.

Coming Around song notes ...
https://matthenshaw.bandcamp.com/album/coming-around

Nitty Gritty

ReggiiMental's favourite from the record. Soulful soulful nitty gritty.

Coming Around song notes ...
https://matthenshaw.bandcamp.com/album/coming-around

I Know How it Feels

ReggiiMental's prison lament. There had to be one on the record. And I know it's a few people's favourite too.

Coming Around song notes ...
https://matthenshaw.bandcamp.com/album/coming-around

Down

Satsuma Elephants recorded a quick round for this one, and if you didn't know, that myself and Chris Goring, formerly of Censored.

Good times, shooting a quick video at Godiva Festival, and from the theme of the abandoned Fire Pit album, fits nicely on the record though following the bluesey I Know How It Feels.

Coming Around song notes ...
https://matthenshaw.bandcamp.com/album/coming-around

Gimme Some More

The single of the record. The video in the bowlerama in Matlock and Tamworth. Loads of fun, and check me beating Jimmy B-Boy on the punch bag machine.

This song, along with The Deepest Cellar and Everybody Clap You Hands is the epitome of what B-Boy Soul is all about, I think we smashed it with 2 records. Soul music, hip-hop and loads of Love for music.

Coming Around song notes ...
https://matthenshaw.bandcamp.com/album/coming-around

Keep It Low

ReggiiMental and Saynt Luke were left alone in the Deepest Cellar when I though the album was complete, and they came up with this gem to slot in the middle in my absence, I floated in and sprinkled myself over the top. But they'd already done enough reminiscing about Amsterdam and crate digging. Good Boys !

Fire ! Fire !! Fire !!!

Coming Around song notes ...
https://matthenshaw.bandcamp.com/album/coming-around

Alright

Possibly my favourite song on the record, the funniest one to do. It was a nursery rhyme type this I used to sing, and it slotted nicely over the beat. A fan in the US said it was her favourite because it was "naughty like Madonna" !!

The sex noises were added at the mix and mastering phase because a couple of rappers who were lined up didn't come through, I like the orgasmic second verse personally !

Coming Around song notes ...
https://matthenshaw.bandcamp.com/album/coming-around

Concrete Jungle

Channeling The Specials with a rumbling 2013 bassy undercurrent. Joey Gzus brings some grimey vibrations and I feel as urban as I'm ever gonna be in these 3 minutes or so ...

Coming Around song notes ...
https://matthenshaw.bandcamp.com/album/coming-around

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Matt Henshaw's Rhythm & Gospel Cavalcade Tonight i...

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Matt Henshaw's Rhythm & Gospel Cavalcade Tonight i...: SEE YOU ALL THERE !!! Peace, Love & Tea, MHx

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Everybody Clap Your Hands

Perhaps the most successful song from the Coming Around album, certainly the most downloaded, most played on the radio and the biggest crowd pleaser, very easy to sing along with and join in. Always love joiner inners me.

Just imagine yourself at a funkinest soulenest swingenest party, we were trying to have some continuity with The Deepest Cellar and I think we carried the vibe of a few of the tracks from that record, and maybe we outsouled them !

Great to play live with MuthaFunk, and segue into Dance To The Music by Sly & The Family Stone, a definite winner !

https://matthenshaw.bandcamp.com/album/coming-around

Killing Time

Written on an old vintage guitar I bought from an antiques place in Heanor in Derbyshire, the only song on the record where I play a little guitar, and layered it up with some bass, and Rizzle made it sound great.

Joey Gzus adds a little something to this one, besides the expletives, it's a darker haunting, more ethereal number compared to the rest of the record, I wrote it after watching the first four or five seasons of Dexter back to back and imagined some strings on there, maybe I'll do it again someday as a solo artist, but I'm quite happy with the stripped back trip hop cocktail we concocted.

Splendid !

https://matthenshaw.bandcamp.com/album/coming-around

Never Know

A bit more meaning with this one, and some effort on the production, slowing up and speeding down the beats, now that's a typo, but I like it, so I'm gonna leave it.

Me and Jimmy were discussing how things change and the place where you grew up changes and you really stay the same small town boy as you ever was, even though you never know what might happen in life. I'm a big believer that your outlook on the world is constructed in your early years, aside from a few minor alterations at around age 4, 5 or 6 you're pretty much set for being the same loveable rogue for the rest of your life, unless something really drastic happens.

You never know though ...

https://matthenshaw.bandcamp.com/album/coming-around

Solid Gold

Rappin' over the theme from Bottom, or Last Night by The MAr-Keys as the more soulfully inclined might know it. But a favourite amongst vinyl fans, soul overs and funky big choruses. D-Bo Daley Williams does a stirling job dropping Jack Sparrow and Mo Farah into the mix and Reggii as ever.

Again, not much to it other than singing a chorus, very enjoyable and loads of fun though !

https://matthenshaw.bandcamp.com/album/coming-around

It's Gettin' Late

Does anybody know what it is?

Exactly what it says on the tin really. Spinning out late into the evening with John Murtaugh and simply asking the question of time, when you're lost in the vortex of the Deepest Cellar is only going to inspire ReggiiMental's creativity.

Instantly a sing-a-long favourite of Reggii's young daughter, Jasmina. I wish I could say there was more thought went into the song but, there wasn't, bloody good fun though.

https://matthenshaw.bandcamp.com/album/coming-around

Changes

The final track on the album and ReggiiMental's opus, I didn't really have much to sing by this time as we recorded pretty much in order, with the exception of Keep It Low, which unsurprisingly has even less lyrical content from myself.

Scatting along to the fantastic Nostalgia 77, the winds of change are very much in the air and Jimmy B flexes his poetic muscles over something a little more jazzy than usual, let the rhythms and melodies of the musicians dictate his rhyming patterns, very skillful and soulful stuff. Me? I'm just trying to channel Ella Fitzgerald, and hopefully getting somewhere, even if it's just a third of the way !

https://matthenshaw.bandcamp.com/album/coming-around

Coming Around album (2013)

One year on from it's release I'm going to jot down some notes about the writing and recording of this record with Mr Jimmy B-Boy ReggiiMental himself, more for my own personal diary and memory bank benefit, but if you enjoy reading along too then I Love You More !

The Deepest Cellar
Can't Hold Back
The Fire Pit - EP

January 2013 and James Batchelor had be released from her majesty's pleasure and I was floundering in a job at the University of Leicester. Already considering jumping ship and pursuing a musical endeavour with Satsuma Elephants, long before I'd thought about or even wanted to be a solo singer-songwriter, Jimmy's new found freedom pushed us together and collaborate on something with such an urgency, freedom and freshness that I've never known before, it was a very positive time and I thank Jimmy B enormously for it !

We even recorded a song called Freedom that I quite liked, but it didn't make it onto the album, maybe you'll hear it sometime.

So we got together and hatched a plan of songs to sample, beats to loop, rappers to speak and got Joe Rizzle behind the desk making it sound fresh. We ended up writing and recording loads more tracks than we intended, again, you might hear some more someday.

And we hit the road, originally as a two piece and then blossomed during festival season with full 7 piece soul funk band !

Loads of stories to tell and loads of Love to share, but I'll save that for another day,, another blog, another tale.

Let's go through each track one by one and see what I can remember ...

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Matt Henshaw Sings ... 'The Mighty Quinn' by Manfr...

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Matt Henshaw Sings ... 'The Mighty Quinn' by Manfr...: A second instalment of Matt Henshaw Sings now, and it's a little different from the first, and the usual kind of cover versions you see ...

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Monday, 14 April 2014

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Things I Like ... Fire

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Things I Like ... Fire: Now, this may be a controversial thing but I love building, making and having fires. Maybe it's something to do with the fact I Like ...

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Calling You Out (Lyrics) - Matt Henshaw

For corrupt politicians, corporations and football chairmen everywhere

I don't know what I have been sold
The games tha you play and the lies you have told
The snakes and the ladders the twists they unfurl
Who's to know what the future might hold?

But we made you what you are
Now you're leaving us permanent scar
Yes you've taken it all too far
Now we're Calling You Out
We are Calling You Out
Calling You Out

Your celebrations of war
Now we know what you truly stand for
Carving up lines between rich and of poor
I knew all along it was you keeping score

But we made you what you are
Now you're leaving us permanent scar
Yes you've taken it all too far
Now we're Calling You Out
We are Calling You Out
Calling You Out
Calling You Out

Whether you're red or you're blue
makes no difference to you
You've got nothing to prove
All I want is the truth

But we made you what you are
Now you're leaving us permanent scar
Yes you've taken it all too far
Now we're Calling You Out
We are Calling You Out
Calling You Out
Calling You Out
Calling You Out
Calling You Out



http://matthenshaw11.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/anti-tesco-protest-video-public-debate.html

http://matthenshaw11.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/anti-tesco-activism-protest-poetry-more.html

As A Matter Of Fact (Lyrics) - Matt Henshaw

The world is wide 'cos you exist
Well, I love you and that is that
The world is kind, if you insist
Well, I love you As A Matter Of Fact

And, oh my soul is restless ever since you went away
Thank God you're here to stay
And blowing in the wind is
A thousand little things
To say that you're OK

Well, I love you and that is that
Well, I love you As A Matter Of Fact

When you are near I have no fear
Well, I love you and that is that
It all seems clear, when you are here
Yeah, I love you As A Matter Of Fact

And all my nights are endless ever since you went away
Thank God you're here to stay
And floating up the stream is
A million little dreams
To say that you're OK

Well, I love you and that is that
Well, I love you As A Matter Of Fact
Well, I love you and that is that
Well, I love you As A Matter Of Fact



Monday, 31 March 2014

Matt Henshaw on Music Piracy

Interview by Chloe Goodrum ...

I was just wondering what your stance on music piracy is?

I believe I'm in the minority amongst working musicians who don't mind music piracy. There are loads of reasons, the music business/industry is full of talentless people reaping the monetary benefits of working with certain artists, some talented, some not so, and then bleeding artists, and loyal fans alike, dry.

I think we're all the blame for the failings and current instability of the music industry, artist have become lazy and apathetic blinded by the belief that they need a record deal or certain management to succeed and make a living making music, it's not all about selling records.

I like music piracy in that to a certain extent it democratises a lot of things, we can get all the music we want, and an independent artist can have his or her or their music listened to by as many people as a major record label act. The main factor for me though is it forces artists to perform live more in order to benefit from making music, and if you can't do it live and you can't cut it then, to speak metaphorically, the cream will always rise to the top.

If the hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of pounds spent each year by governments to aid mega industries and corporations in an attempt to curb music piracy was spent elsewhere we would still have beautiful music all around us everywhere. Music is not about money, it is about love, beauty, truth and existence. Before money existed we had music, so I believe it will outlive money too and this debate will be dead along with it.


Do you think it helps or hinders the spread of your music?

Helps massively, if someone wants my music that much and they can find an outlet for getting hold of it for free, then fair play to them.


And how does music piracy impact on you as an artist?

It doesn't really, it's something that record labels have promoted as a negative and with their tools of propaganda and publicisation have put it on the agenda as a killer of music and creativity. It is completely the opposite, I remember when 12" records came in a sleeve that said "Home Taping is Killing Music", and even then I thought not, home taping, copying CDs for your mates and illegally downloading is killing the music "industry", get on with it, Spread The Love !

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Things I Like ... Gardening

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Things I Like ... Gardening: Springtime is upon us ! There's nothing better than getting yourself in the garden, hence the existence of Henshaw's Horticultural ...

Friday, 28 March 2014

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Matt Henshaw: Money or Passion, Your Choice ...

Interview by Seneer Asif ...

Matt Henshaw is a twenty six year old soul singer, songwriter, and composer. As well as loads of musical history and stories under his belt, Matt has been featured on a few Midland Hip Hop artists’ albums too as well as being a support act in various concerts for bands such as Snow Patrol. He believes that as long as you have the passion for something, you’ll find a way to make a living out of it no matter how difficult the odds.

Walking into a deserted bar in the cold of day, my eyes search around for Matt Henshaw. After some wandering around, I finally find Matt, sitting comfortably in a sofa, sipping a cup of tea, his attention swirls towards me as I say “Hi Matt’. After doing the usual greetings, we sit down and I produce my recording device out of my pocket as we begin with the interview.

“Matt! How are you sir? Could you begin with telling me a bit about yourself, what do you do and basically who is Matt Henshaw?” I begin the questions with a visible enthusiasm in my tone, as a smile appears on Matt’s bearded face.

Matt begins as he informs me that even though he’s based in Leicester but he grew up in Nottingham. For about six to eight months he has been making a living out of songwriting, and being a musician. Before all that he used to work at TotalFilm in London but then moved to Leicester and worked in the Leicester University. He quit his job there to pursue a career in music. Matt believes that, “if you’re passionate about something you can find a way of doing it for living. It’s obviously a risky and hard way of living but you have to take risks in order to do what you love”.

As I enquire him about his songwriting, he tells me that “songwriting is so much fun, producing is fun too”. This year he has signed a music deal where his songs are going to be played in supermarkets, cafes, restaurants and pubs around the world. He explains that it’s not a label, but a “new thing these days”. Matt informs me that the way the music industry has changed it’s almost like getting a record deal.

“Getting alongside a label is not that important anymore” Matt highlights. He believes that getting yourself out there is much more important. Matt explained that these days you can approach these companies personally rather than having to go through labels or management.

As I ask him why he loves soul music, Matt’s reply was nothing short of inspirational, ““Soul music is important to me because you can feel it. I see soul music as honest and sang with passion, and this is what I do. Soul music is from the heart”.
Matt likes to use personal pronouns, such as “we”, “you”, “they” “it”. He’s a private person so he doesn't try to personalise his songs but tries to write it in a way that it will gives the listener an opportunity to relate to it personally.

Upon me asking whether he had any massive, stupendous offers from anywhere Matt explained that recently he had a phone call from one of the producers of The Voice, before they were doing the new season. They said that they had listened to him and would like him to come, he wouldn't even need to go through the audition process, they would put him straight to the main shows. Matt’s answer was a plain “No”. “I said no I don’t want to do it, not something I would want to do”.
In his College days, Matt formed a band with his friends and they called it ‘Censored’. It was about not believing in censorship.

They were even signed up to same label as the one that Kelly Clarkson was signed up to when she first started in the music business. They even performed shows with bands such as Snow Patrol.

Matt gave an interesting example of the power of music “Someone played Snow Patrol’s ‘chasing cars’ at a party recently I was in, and everyone laid on the floor as the song was being sung, that’s the power of the music”.

Matt has made couple of albums and beats with rappers from the Midlands. “Different producers always bring different things to the table. Collaborations are a good way of reaching a wider audience” Matt believes.

Upon me asking where what his advice would be to someone who’s starting out with music and they don't have resources, Matt explained, “I don't think equipment matters. It’s the passion that does it. I had a £35 guitar from Argos as my first guitar. Be confident. Someone said to me once, if you learn an instrument you'll never be lonely again in your life, it will be your best friend”.

I had a job at Leicester University and I left that to make music. People thought I was crazy. We are in recession, people have lost jobs, lost mortgages, stuck in jobs they hate just for the sake of having a job, but I feel lucky and blessed.

As I asked him that what does music means to him, Matt Henshaw replies, “I wanted to make music to express myself. Music shouldn't be about making money or getting famous, that’s not it”. With that note, we finish the interview as we shake hands and I leave the bar.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Tippy the Cat Loves TV


Matt Henshaw & Tippy the Cat


Monday, 3 March 2014

The Birth of Tippy the Cat


Tippy the Cat cover photo 1


Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Things I Like ... Film

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Things I Like ... Film: Having stayed up last night watching the entirety of Ellen Degeneres bringing us the Academy Awards I feel like another thing I should sha...

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: March 2014 ... We Made It !

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: March 2014 ... We Made It !: Welcome to March everybody, countdown to the single release has begun ... You should probably should join the Matt Henshaw (Official Group...

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Things I Like ... LEGO

Matt Henshaw's Adventures In Wonderland: Things I Like ... LEGO: Number 2 on the Things I Like blog is ... LEGO. My lifelong favourite toy, and favourite toy of the 20th Century. Well done world ! The...

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Matt Henshaw review with Mahalia at The Cookie

MAHALIA AT THE COOKIE
28/01/2014, Posted in Gigs, Music Comments: No comments
Grace and the magic roots
Saturday 25th January

Leicester singer Mahalia

By Mark Granger

Mahalia Presents, for those who were wondering, is the brainchild of Leicester singer songwriter Mahalia.

Mahalia
Mahalia

A canny way of providing regular gigs for herself while introducing artists from around the country to the Leicester scene.
The first Mahalia Presents of 2014 is a triple bill of singer songwriter goodness that kicks off with Ilkeston born Leicester adoptee Matt Henshaw who begins his set with ‘Your Eyes Are Made Of Gold‘, it’s gentle acoustic picking and Matt’s powerful soul vocals drawing the crowd in from the off.

From that point the majority of the crowd are transfixed on the man and his guitar, his songs being taken to another level by the pure passion he injects into every syllable. Matt dedicates ‘As A Matter Of Fact‘, a catchy pop inflected ditty, to his ‘missus’ who is in the crowd that night before ending on the emotional ‘It Ain’t Easy‘ safe in the knowledge that he’s leaving the stage having gained a few new fans.

Tonight’s curator Mahalia is next, accompanied by her dad James on guitar and percussionist Zizi on, well, percussion. Mahalia’s set is varied, veering between popier moments like ‘Boomerang Boy‘ and more soulful pieces such as ‘Let The World See The Light‘.

Like Matt before her, Mahalia gets the crowd on her side early on and commands a stage presence that belies her young age. As a result, the crowd is silent and attentive for the gentle acoustic pop of ‘Marry Me‘ but claps along enthusiastically during the as yet untitled ‘Clappy Song‘.

Then it’s Fiona Bevan‘s turn. Although performing regularly on the London gig scene for some years Fiona is a prolific songwriter who has been creating her own brand of folk, jazz and soul inflected pop from a young age. With a few independent releases under her belt, 2014 will see the release of her first studio album and we are treated to some cuts from it tonight including the jazzy ‘Rebel Without A Cause‘ and the beautiful alt-pop of first single ‘The Machine‘.

Fiona’s performance is captivating experience, with her eyes shut she gets lost somewhere in the music inviting the audience along for the ride. Her paean to insomnia that is ‘Us & The Darkness‘ and the heartbreaking ‘Dial D For Denial‘ close her brief but effective set, leaving the crowd wanting more. With any justice 2014 should be Fiona Bevan’s for the taking.

All three artists treated us to something special tonight making sure that Mahalia Presents has set the bar high for live music in 2014.

After the show Mark Granger talked to Mahalia

The Cookie is almost full tonight and 15 year old Leicester singer songwriter Mahalia takes to the stage for the first of 2014′s Mahalia Presents concerts with the assured stage presence of a seasoned performer.

The last two years have been something of a whirlwind for Mahalia, after the release of her 2012 E.P- ‘Headspace‘ - she says “things just sped up”; Which is somewhat of an understatement, last year saw her on the same bill as Rizzle Kicks and Labrinth at the Royal Albert Hall, add to that, support slots with Ed Sheeran, Emeli Sandé and Laura Mvula and Mahalia has notched the kind of experience that would make performers twice her age jealous.

So she must have been some kind of childhood prodigy then? Well, not exactly. ”When I was younger I was really into a lot of sports,” says Mahalia, ”I never got into picking up an instrument or writing songs until I was like, twelve” Which is not really one foot in the grave when it comes to starting music but it’s not as if she didn’t have the influence around her either.

“Both my parents are musicians (and) they were always gigging so I was constantly around someone on stage” and she also credits her school music teacher saying she “got me into writing, playing guitar and singing.”

Mahalia has been away from Leicester for a while, so she and her parents sat down and thought of something to do in their hometown and Mahalia Presents was born.

“This was the best way to bring in a crowd from where I’m from so that people I grew up around and friends and family could see what was going on and how I was developing. The whole ‘Mahalia Presents‘ thing is also a way to bring artists from outside (Leicester) and bring them here.”

The events are also a clever way of getting herself out there, a lot of artists in Mahalia’s position might be inclined to sit back and wait for something to come to them but as she says “I’m in the last part of my GCSEs so music-wise it’s down. Which is why the gigs are so important, so there’s always something going on.”

Gigs and exams aren’t the only thing on Mahalia’s mind however; she’s come to a point where she has that all important debut album to think about.

“I’m in the midst of working out what I want my album to be like, how I want it to sound, how I want it to represent me. This next year is working out what that’s going to be (and we’re) hoping for a release this time next year, or to (have something) ready.” As for the writing, “70% I do myself at home, or with my Mum and Dad or brother. I also do co-writes which is good for developing your own writing because you get other people input and that works for me.”

So with Mahalia Presents set to be a monthly occurrence in 2014 and plans for an album in full swing it looks like we’ll be hearing much more from Mahalia in the next few years.

Mahalia’s website

See also:

Music diary for January 2014

Reviews of obsUnplugged

God Damn at The Cookie Jar

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Friday, 24 January 2014

Choucino Studio Sessions; Matt Henshaw "It ain't easy" (+playlist)

Introducing Matt Henshaw Subba Culture Interview by Jeremy Chick ...

Published on December 6th, 2013
We speak to the up ‘n coming Singer-Songwriter about his past and what his future might entail…

matt

This soul-loving, tea-drinking gardener is a singer/songwriter of some repute from Ilkeston, between Nottingham and Derby, who is now living in Leicester and taking the local music scene there by storm. His penchant for acoustic sets and original songs showcases his love of guitar and vocal – based soul & blues, demonstrating his influences of Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Steve Marriott and Sam Cooke, and earning him the description of ‘an old soul in a young body’. He has named his unique sound Acoustic Rhythm and Gospel, creating a new music genre and inspiring his audiences to follow the man and his music. Widely respected by his peers and well known to the gig-going audiences in the Midlands, he is now travelling the length and breadth of the UK looking to broaden his appeal, continue the journey that has taken him this far, make his mark on the national music scene, and see where the ride takes him. Questions answered by the man himself, Matt Henshaw…

When and how did you get started?

Mid-2013 I’d be knocking around in bands and making music on and off since I finished school, had my ups and downs as we all do and I thought why not just go out and start playing some of these introspective songs that only my bedroom and living room walls have heard out in public, and people seem to like it so I’m happy.



What have you been up to recently? Any plans for the near future?

Just writing and recording and getting myself out there as Matt Henshaw, solo, singer/songwriter. It’s a lonely business sometimes and you always have your back against the wall but when it’s just me, myelf and I, you’ve only yourself to rely on to pick yourself up and keep yourself grounded so I like it. As for the future, we’ll see what comes, what will be, will be.



How did your sound evolve… did you have a clear idea of what you wanted to do from the beginning?

So organic, I’ve been in bands playing indie guitar music, blues, soul, funk, electronic stuff and hip-hop, and I forced myself almost to listen to a lot of esoteric stuff, but when I sit and write an inspiration hits me I always go back to something closer to home, I don’t think I’ll ever stray too far from the soul and a catchy chorus.



What can you remember of your first gigs, and what have you learned about approaching live shows since?

My first gigs are all blurry, I used to sing on buses if there was a microphone and at friend’s parties, I did Return to Sender by Elvis once at a mate’s 5th or 6th birthday party, very moving for the parents, I think everyone else was into their jelly and ice cream, I was always a little rock’n’roller and my music taste far advanced for my age.



Do you have any tips for working with promoters?

They’re all human, the same with sound engineers, record label people and anyone in the business, they’ll represent you how you represent yourself, the only tip I can give is to be natural, and try not to be a nuisance, it’ll only come back on yourself. Put the work in and they’ll put the work in for you, and if they don’t, it doesn’t matter because you put the work in yourself, and you’ll know not to bother with them in the future.



What do you consider to be your best 3 songs, and tell us the inspiration behind them?

I’m really enjoying playing one called ‘Stop Me Girl’ at the moment, it’s one I’ve been polishing up for ages, I used to sort of spar with an old mate at school, we’d always come up with song ideas then come in the next day and say “I’ve been working on this one, etc.” and it was a kind of friendly competition, this is sort of my ultimate soul ballad, falling so in love you can’t comprehend what you’re doing and lose control of all your senses and functions. ‘It Ain’t Easy’ is another favourite, it fell out of me late one night, I love it when that happens, it’s about having your life changed irrevocably by something or someone or an event and you know, for better or for worse, your life will never be the same again. And ‘My Life’ always gets a lot of praise, it’s not a love song and it’s a bit darker, always one for winning over the “chin strokers”, they won’t go ballistic when you’re playing on stage and singing but they’ll always come up to you after a show and say “well played mate, loved that one song about your life”.



Describe to us the process behind writing your music?

I write songs like you need the bathroom, sometimes nature calls and you just have to get it out there. Maybe it’s not as functional as that, more spiritual, a cathartic exercise, but saying that I’ve had a lot of good trips to the toilet.



How would you describe your own sound, or what do you hate being labelled as?

Soulful, heartfelt, someone told me recently I “stunk of musician”, I can only gather this to be a good thing as it can’t be Jack Daniels’ and body odour as I stopped drinking over five years ago and my personal hygiene has gone from strength to strength. I don’t know what I “hate” being labelled as, maybe I’ve not been doing it long enough to be labelled as anything in particular yet, but it is funny that originally being from Nottingham interviewers and radio jockeys always ask me about Jake Bugg, which I don’t mind, like I said, it’s funny, Jake’s a lovely soul, but all we share is geography and some of the same taste, I’m certainly not a Notts County fan.



What are your key influences (musical or otherwise)?

Whilst we’re on football I suppose being a Sheffield Wednesday fan has a huge effect on my mood, they can switch a song from a major chord to a minor chord in a matter of 90 minutes. Everything can be an influence, I write down all the things I like in a little blue and white notepad just to remind me there are nice things in the world. And musically, anything with soul.



Do new acts really need record labels anymore?

Not really. It just depends what works for each individual.



Many artists seem to be quite forward thinking when it comes to self promotion, what with the modern phenomenon of blogging, twitter, online releases etc. Do you think it’s important these days for bands to feel less segregated from their fan-base? What do you do to remain connected with them?

I’m always blogging and tweeting and doing all that stuff. Very approachable me. Drop me a line anytime, positive or negative feedback, I’ll always get back to you.



So far, what have you found helpful in getting noticed, and gaining fans?

Playing live is my bread and butter so I love that and always make new friends and fans out on the road, but the internet, wow, the internet. It’s huge, it’s a great democratiser and I know that people all around the world have listened to my tunes and read my beat poetry. That’s very cool.



Are there any online resource or sites you’ve found useful in promoting your band? How useful do you find Facebook and Twitter?

It’s all good. I was uneasy about it before but a mate of mine in another band said “they’re just vessels”, so if you just treat them as such you can make them work in your favour. I am enjoying YouTube at the minute, but just putting songs on there with minimal visual stimulus, getting positive reactions to my music is so heart-warming. And I love blogging, a music industry “insider” told me not so long ago that “blogging is dead” but I think I’d do it anyway if no-one read it, I love waffling on, as I’m sure you can tell.



Do you have management at present? If so, how has that changed things for you?

I’m looking after myself at the minute, I’ve had a few offers and worked with various people in the past, like I said earlier, all these people are just humans, you still have to work hard yourself, it’s all about finding different ways to connect with people, and the right people, that’s the most important thing.



What’s your favourite piece of gear, when it comes to live shows?

Would it be too twee to say my vocal chords? It’s just me and my guitar at the minute, and I’ve never had that kind of a adolescent fantasy feeling going for a piece of wood, as long as it’s in tune and I can get my words out I’m happy.

Check out his Music here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nzdl3wOe7KA&list=PL7UCvjRIeiY9bHc8S5B10vDleLSXwSIdf

Or via Soundcloud: http://www.soundcloud.com/matthenshaw
http://www.matthenshaw.com

http://www.facebook.com/matthenshaw
http://www.twitter.com/matthenshaw11
http://www.soundcloud.com/matthenshaw
http://www.youtube.com/user/ilsonowl
Written by: jchick on 12/06/2013.on 12/11/2013.

Matt Henshaw Flid The Lid @ Brew Dog Review in Left Lion ...

FlipThe Lid at Brewdog

As another cold week in Nottingham drew to a close, a small handful of locals looking to wind down with some of Nottingham’s finest singer-songwriters gathered at BrewDog for an evening of exquisite beer and exquisite music. Flip the Lid is a new night hosted by I’m not from London, with four assembled acts who, although similar in performance, provided the crowd with a range of styles to satisfy everyone’s tastes.

First on was fresh-faced eighteen-year-old Josh Wheatley, who loosened the crowd with smooth pure vocals and sincere heartfelt tracks that gave the audience a flavour of what was in store. Dressed in a smart checked shirt, Wheatley set calming mood for the remaining night and in turn showed a real maturity in tracks like Sail Away that, coupled with the mellow tones of his voice, made for an enjoyable opening.

Matt Henshaw took the reins next, and shifted the tone onto more provocative but equally emotional lyricism that stepped the night up a gear. The most suave of the bunch, Henshaw dressed smartly in a grey blazer filled the room with his own self-proclaimed gospel and offered more diversity in his choice of song, from the hard-hitting As A Matter Of Fact to the politically themed Calling You Out, a track he comically attributed to David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband. With a fresh melodic vibe throughout, Matt Henshaw continued to set the pace and show why he’s been getting column inches in The Guardian and NME.

Matt Henshaw
Matt Henshaw
Filling in after the unfortunate withdrawal of Whisky Stain, Ben Fowkes presented his own style of song writing, rich in imagination. Recovering well from a broken string in his first track, Fowkes’ own brand of metaphor laden tunes provided a fascinating alternative to the more direct lyrical approach taken by the previous acts. Dressed in a vibrant cardigan, he befitted the venue.

Martin Sanders provided to provide the undoubted highlight of the night with his expert slice of sleazy blues and sixties guitar solos that really captivated the crowd and offered them a great high to end both the show and their week. Playing on a guitar that looked like it had been constructed out on an old trash can, his rough around the edges performance continuously laid down more and more groovier guitar solos that really made you feel like you’d been taken out of Nottingham and were swigging moonshine in a bar in the Deep South. Joined by Joe Barber for a mammoth finale of a track, Sanders showed that is more capable at matching the younger generation of performers that preceded him.

Overall then a fantastic plethora of talent that made for a hugely entertaining and warming end to the week. The future bodes well for next generation of Nottingham’s songwriters.

Flip the Lid was at BrewDog on Sunday 19 January 2014.

Matt Henshaw Pepper Rocks Review by Cassia Helme ...

Gig Review - Blessing Magore, Matt Henshaw, Esther Van Leuven, AJA @ Pepper Rocks 14/01/14
Written for NottinghamLIVE - find online review here.

I had never once set foot into Pepper Rocks until Tuesday night, which was the Unplugged Pepper Rocks send off party, to say goodbye to their sound engineer who's off travelling the world. What struck me about the place was it's cosy, small, antique feel. Made with brick, stone and wood, it offers a rustic, traditional pub feel, but with a youthful/edgy side to it, making it a popular haunt for a more alternative crowd. Taking advantage of the £3.50 cocktail offer, I grab myself a Woo Woo (can't help but think that sounds a little risqué...) and find a seat, which isn't particularly easy as the room is jam packed. I'm suddenly grateful I found a seat, as the gig starts a fair bit later than anticipated, as they usually seem to in Nottingham, but before I know it, BLESSING MAGORE takes the stage with LANCE, who I'm not quite sure whether to call an accompanist or not, because he doesn't sing, and plays the lead parts in the guitar, so I think I'm just going to have call him Lance!

This is a slight change up to the original line up, possibly explaining the late start, however Blessing seems comfortable, and confident as he opens the evening. Having had Blessing perform for us on the NottinghamLIVE radio show, I know a little of what to expect, and I'm looking forward to hearing them perform. Both men are on guitars, and Blessing strums as Lance harmonises and adds flourishes here and there. They have a chemistry and complement each other, but possibly due to the level of noise in the room, I couldn't really hear the vocals in the first few numbers. However what I do hear is really nice, with Blessing's vocals being smooth and his accent adding another layer of sweetness to them. There are lovely melodic passages to his music, with careful consideration being taken to song structure, and although there were a couple of small slips here and there, they recovered quickly, and they were barely noticed. Blessing also dedicates a song to Claudia, the 'off travelling' sound engineer, as she is heading to Africa, where Blessing is from. The song is catchy, and the vocals have charm and charisma. Half way through the performance, they are joined on African drums by Daniel Ison, who runs the Pepper Rocks open mic nights. The addition of subtle rhythm brings out another tone to Blessing's music, but doesn't detract from the vocal and guitar parts. Blessing also dedicated the next song to Claudia, but this number is a little darker and almost haunting at times, and again it as some lovely melodies. I do think that the guitars can be a little too similar at times though, and can feel a bit like a jam, but when Lance explores the instrument more, it really does bring out more intrigue into the music, and think that even more use of interesting guitar techniques would be nice to hear. Blessing has a sweet style and lovely vocals, and is a comfortable performer. His performance displayed a variety of influences and was a joy to watch and participate in.

Next on the bill was MATT HENSHAW who I have not seen performing live before, so was looking forward to experiencing something new. What struck me about Matt was his interesting use of chords and powerful vocals. He opened confidently, singing a track I recognised from YouTube, which has a country style feel to it, alongside a bit of The Beatles too. He has a heartfelt delivery, with passionately performed vocals alongside strummed guitar. The next number grabs my attention as it is lyrically honest and lovely, with a passionate performance on lines such as “My door is always open if you need a helping hand, my words are here to guide you, there's always something in the way”. His vocals are impressive, and a little pitchy at times, but this is a result of his intense delivery and heartfelt performance. His vocals are in his chest voice, which is strong and obviously where he is most comfortable, but I would love to hear his falsetto too. The next song he performs is of a different tone, using minor chords, and interesting chord progressions, he instantly has my attention. The change of pace adds interest to his set, and the sadness of the song brings another layer of character to Matt. There is desperation and even anger in this song with lyrics such as “I know you're saying something, but all I hear is nothing that can help me change my life”. The interesting subject matter works well with the unusual chords. His next song changes the pace back to a more cheerful tone, as he dedicated the song to his fellow performers. Bringing back the country notes from previous numbers, the crowd is enthusiastic and is continually supportive. Especially in the next song which he says is for Nick Clegg, David Cameron and George Osborn, which is slightly unusual and has the audiences attention. He then proceeds into a song where he is “calling them out”, and it has a distinctive blues feel, especially in the guitar hook. The song is well structured, with attention being paid to the melodies, which develop really nicely, and are well contrasted from verse to chorus. He finishes his set with some soulful tracks more traditionally about love, and dedicated his last song to everyone in the audience, which of course receives a good response. His entire set was pleasantly surprising and lovely to hear, with talent and a knack for good songwriting, I look forward to seeing Matt again very soon.

Next on the bill was ESTHER VAN LEUVEN, who I swear I saw four times last week. I think I am beginning to know all their songs off by heart just from frequent listening! What I can say about this dynamic duo, is that they are always a pleasure to listen to. Their first number is one of their new tracks 'Mr Loverman', which is soulful and sweet, and both Esther and Frazer are taking extra notice of their performance with consideration being taken with dynamics. The vocals are delicately delivered, but are also contrasted by powerful sections in the chorus. Esther uses her hands on the mic to gesture alongside her vocals, which is nice to see with music of their style. I find myself singing along, because let's face it, I almost know all the words. Their next track is darker, with a sexy, cheeky air to it, and adds a contrast to their set following their opening number. With lyrics like “we'll take it easy but we won't take it slow”, it isn't completely obvious what they mean, but this leaves their songs open for interpretation, which I think helps the audience relate to their music, and form connections with it. Their performances throughout the next few songs are beautiful, with precision and passion for what they are singing, and with excellent chemistry they are an unforgettable duo with heaps of talent. They work so well together, and Frazer is a wonderful support to Esther who takes the lead on vocals, but Frazer in his own right provides a wonderful accompaniment and is vocally irreplaceable in this collaboration. They finish their set with 'Better That I Let You Go' which is a gorgeously varied number, with plenty of room for Esther to showcase her vocals. I particularly love Esther's lower range, as she doesn't venture there too often, but in this track we hear more of it. Their set ends on a high and I can't help but want to listen to it again after it's over.

Ending the evening is the gloriously glamourous AJA, who takes to the stage with her laptop and effects pedals, changing the tone of the evening completely, and adding an electronic edge to the proceedings. She is has a big personality but is warm and open on stage, and this is important being a solo artist. Her performance is passionate and interesting, as she masters the electronica whilst putting on a visual show too and singing. She doesn't inhibit herself on stage, and seems to fully experience her music through her body as well by dancing. Her music is varied and has a definitive artistic direction which makes it special. She uses various electronic techniques intelligently, and obviously takes pride in her work, as it is clearly well thought through, with some unexpected and interesting turns which keeps the audience hooked. She has a mixture of styles, some more lively and dance inspired, other slower and spacious, using heavy reverb and delays on the vocals, creating an ethereal element to her style, which is particularly resonant with me as I am a huge fan of all things ethereal. Unfortunately, I had to leave AJA's set early, but I can say that her unique style, talents, lovely personality and hardworking nature sets her up for an unmissable 2014!

By Cassia Helme
Posted by Cassia Helme at 09:43