2. Settle in and learn to sing (Mercy of the Moment)
On first appearances, the flat seemed perfect. A place in which to open up a new chapter in our lives, enhance our relationship and hopefully develop my music.
I was particularly drawn to the idea of living in the countryside and romanticised over spending my weekdays in isolation, meticulously working on my craft, tucked away in an idyllic part of Kent, while the weekends would be spent earning enough cash from pub gigs to keep supporting this reclusive but creative lifestyle.
There was also a safe place to park my van and store my equipment while the added advantage of living near the M2 meant that if I chose to come home after a gig, it would rarely feel like a major inconvenience geographically.
With London only an hour’s commute away and it being seemingly central to everywhere and everyone we wanted to be near to, we felt we’d really landed on our feet with this little gem of a flat, though thinking about it now, I guess anywhere would have felt fairly luxurious to us relatively speaking. given our recent history as permanent dirty van dwellers.
Being on the road for so long inevitably meant that many of our friendships took more of a hit so to now be back in our home county of Kent, a place where we’d both spent many of our formative years in, we were happy to be making up for some lost time, not least with each other during this brief period of excitement and bliss.
Mercy of the Moment
Hello, Its nice to see you again,
It’s been a long old time, too long, tell me everything,
So - There’s got a lot we’ve got to fit in,
I haven’t seen you since we left, so what’s happening?
Guitar Lick (A.G)
Hello, It’s nice to see you again,
I see nothing’s changed, we’re same as we’ve ever been,
Oh - Enter the present tense,
I’m at the mercy of the moment yet again,
When does it ever go to plan?
We gotta make the most of what we have while we can,
And we ignite, hand in hand,
Oh - and you are a beautiful friend,
Feel the kick start of my heart come back again,
Both - in the eye of the event,
We’re at the mercy of the moment yet again,
We’re at the mercy of the moment yet again,
Over the weeks, the empty flat became more and more of a home as we began to settle into our new environment. Katie would spend her days working up in London while I would generally be writing new material in the spare bedroom. If I wasn’t, I’d either be rehearsing for upcoming gigs, playing music in a care home or taking lessons with a vocal coach in a neighbouring town, just ten minutes up the road.
I knew that before I could really set my sights on recording an album, I’d seriously need to step things up in the vocal department and so I sought the help of an operatic singing teacher to help get my head around the whole process. As far as I could tell, opera singers are the closest things to vocal athletes so I thought it’d be a wise move to tap into the classical school of thought in order to strengthen my chords and develop at a quicker rate.
It took a daily routine of three hours practice and weekly lessons for three months before I could get my head around things or notice any difference and even then, I was still hugely frustrated, unconfident and unconvinced.
After six months, I had a bit of authority and control over my voice and had just about broken through some of my cowboy habits.
Singing is incredibly psychological. You see so many people who think they can do it but in reality are completely unaware that what they’re doing sounds, weak, meek or just somewhat painful. I believe this is partly down to not being able to objectively judge your own voice. For a start, your voice is literally always going to sound better in your head as that’s where the source of the sound is resonating most.
I for one have certainly fallen into the trap of thinking I’m better than I am on a number of occasions having listened back to my own recordings just a few months after doing them and wincing at how I delivered the vocal.
The last thing I wanted, was to commit to writing a huge amount of material for it all to be let down at the final hurdle by my inadequate ability as a singer.
It must be said that I’m not claiming to be in any way a vocal expert now, I just knew that if I was going to write an album full of big production, melody and guitars, I’d need my voice to be able to step up to a certain degree and hold its own in the much more clinical and critical domain of recorded music.