This post is going to be a little bit different from me and so I totally understand if you hate it, but what I have to say here is really important and so if you could stick around until the end I would really appreciate it!
Music for most of us, plays a huge part in our lives. It can make you laugh, cry or even both. It’s the soundtrack to our milestone moments or merely something to make car journeys more enjoyable. Life without music, I think we can all agree, would be very dull, and very quiet for that matter.
It is for this reason, we need to be supporting the little guy (or gal), they are after all, the future of this beloved industry
Eight years ago, I went to Manchester Arena to watch none other than the Jonas Brothers, it was only my second ever concert (the first also being them, just all the way down in London), and my main memory of the night was actually meeting a little band called Ivyise who were handing out their flyers before the doors opened. When I got home that night, I found and added them on Facebook and my world quite literally changed.
Shortly after, another band called ROOM 94 also added me having seen that I was friends with another small band. They soon became my favourite, and I followed them wherever I could. (Huge thank you to my Dad for being my Taxi, and my Mum for persuading him.) The tickets were cheap, and I could get VIP Meet and Greet for only £10!! Although, I certainly didn’t need it, as they were more than happy to wait and wait until everyone that wanted had a hug and a photo. This was mind blowing for me. It meant that I could see them two or even three times on one tour. Of course being 13/14 years old meant I became OBSESSED (I’m so sorry Dean, Kieran, Kit and Sean, I know I was unbearable) and so I owned every tee, and bought anything I could with their name on…and I still have it all (Thank you again Mum).
One of the support acts on this tour was Dave Giles, a singer songwriter with stupidly catchy songs, and a serious love of tea. Dave’s Music is one that I feel has grown up with me, and from the second I met him, I knew he was going to feature in all of my playlists forever. His music has made me laugh and cry, and I’ve actually lost count of the times I have been to see him live, although I am certain it’s double figures now. I even based my A-level media coursework around him!
It’s through one of Dave’s shows that I was then introduced to Danny Gruff, despite the fact he actually lived about 15 minutes away from me. Danny is another musician that will never bore me, and just like Dave, I can’t count how many times I’ve seen him play.
I’ve been able to see hundreds of bands now, for so little money, and I actually met some of my best friends through supporting these musicians. I’m by no means saying that you cant do the same watching Ed Sheeran, Paramore or Shawn Mendez, but they all started somewhere. They all needed the support. Truth is, the music industry is built on these small artists, people with a passion that want their music heard. The lengths these musicians may then go to is up to them, but without us, those options are limited. I have loved so many bands that sadly had to call it a day because they simply couldn’t afford to keep doing what they loved, and it’s honestly heartbreaking.
I’m not asking you to spend endless hours scrolling the internet for independent artists and bands, nor do I want you to give up listening to your favourite mainstream artists. But, put that Spotify playlist on shuffle, or listen to the introducing artists show on your radio. Go and see one small stage at the festival you’re attending (that’s how I found Catfish and the Bottlemen, 8 people at the BBC Introducing stage at Leeds Festival 2013) or even go to your local pub that has live music instead of those playing the same chart all day, every day. You really don’t know who you might find.
By no means are tastes limited to the bands I’ve mentioned above either. But if I listed each of them, this post would never end. I just listed the ones that have had a lot of significance in my life, but if you’d like me too, I’m very sure it can be arranged.
How can you do your bit?
1. Go to small music venues, lord knows we are losing a new one every week, but they are fantastic places that provide a platform for musicians regardless of their following.
2. Listen to their music in anyway you can. You might think that artists don’t earn money from Spotify streaming, but they do. Just because Taylor Swift had a meltdown about it, doesn’t mean it’s true. It’s surprising how much Spotify can make you, when your label and managers aren’t taking the majority of the cut. YouTube also pays, and like Tesco says “Every little helps”.
3. Share their music. I cannot stress how important this is, you like them, which means your friends probably do to, or someone that follows you on twitter, or tumblr. A share means a lot more than you realise, and this current world of having to pay for almost everything, a bit of free advertisement is a huge help.
4. Buy their stuff. It’s costing them a lot to make these shirts, hats, wristbands and mugs, so buy it. You’re helping them, and you get something out of it too! Win Win.
5. This one is really important… SEE THEM LIVE. If you really love an artist, seeing them live is the best feeling, and with the majority of independent artists, tickets will cost you nothing, and you’ll literally feel like you’re entering a family. If they’re on tour and they aren’t playing your town, TRAVEL. I live in a tiny town in North Wales, and I’ll never see anybody play here, but I’m only an hour on the train from Liverpool and Manchester, and while I’m at University, I’m even closer to Newcastle. Travelling is how I made the majority of my friends, and there’s not really anywhere that’s too far if you put your mind to it!
As I mentioned above, Dave Giles and Danny Gruff are fantastic musicians and both are on tour next month. These shows honestly are fantastic and it honestly feels so familiar, even at your first show (I’m not being paid for this, just following tip number 3).
Danny is promoting his debut album, which is self titled, you can find it on Apple Music and Spotify. His tour ‘Never in a Month of Sundays’ also kicks off this weekend in his hometown of Wrexham. Tickets are £10 or less…it’s a bargain really! You can find tickets here: www.dannygruff.com/shows
Dave is currently trying to raise money to get him to Nashville to record his second album, five years after his first album ‘Love, Life, Loss & Tea’. He has also just released an EP ‘The Clothes are Back On’ – That title is a joke for his fans and if you head to Spotify or Apple Music and check out his older EP’s you’ll see why!
Dave is also on tour next month. These shows are pay what you want and so it is the perfect way to check out a new artist. Some of the dates are now sold out, but you can buy/reserve tickets here: www.davejgiles.com/gigs
If you made it to the end, Thank you so much!
I hope what I’ve written here has helped a few of you, and hopefully I’ll see you all at some shows!
See you next week!