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Hello. I stopped blogging well over a year ago, but I’ve decided to take it up again. Now seems like a good time because there’s things going on that I’d like to share with you.

Last weekend I returned from three weeks in Nashville where I got to experience some great music and meet some amazing people. I went last year but I felt like I achieved more this time. Although I only played twice whilst there, I got to speak to a lot of interesting people and it really felt like the first step towards where I want to be. One of the places I played was the legendary Bluebird Cafe, which was especially awesome. I’ve recorded an EP of 5 songs, which I’m in the process of putting online. There are clips on soundcloud already www.soundcloud.com/emmawinstanley take a listen, tell me what you think. When I figure out how to get them on facebook I’ll let you know. (which is www.facebook.com/emmawinstanleymusicΒ  if you haven’t liked me already).
Whilst I was in Nashville I got my university results, and after deliberating I decided to let my mum open the letter for me. I got a 2.1! So happy with that πŸ™‚

So I guess now comes the inevitable question of ‘what am I going to do now?’. In all honesty, I don’t have a set plan and I’m glad of that. I’ve been so inspired recently, by something/someone I will talk about in a minute, that my plan is just to keep writing and book as many shows as I can to let people here my music, and see where it goes from there. Probably local at first but I’d love to just drive around the country with my guitar and play in wherever I can!

So my EP has 5 songs on it, 4 of mine, one a duet I wrote with a good friend Kieron Riley. Who was also kind enough to lend his voice for backing vocals, and did me an awesome photoshoot…thank you! But on counting earlier how many songs I’ve got including the ones that are in the process of being completed, the total was 10 maybe 11! I didn’t realise until then. So why this inspiration? Well I think it’s partly with going to Nashville and sort of discovering myself, but also because of an artist called Marina and The Diamonds. Maybe you’ve heard of her, maybe you haven’t. I’ll admit I hadn’t heard of her until a few months back, and I really wish I’d discovered her 2 years ago when her 1st album came out. But being the type of person I am, if I really like an artist, I go back and listen to older music and read their story etc. And I’m so glad I did. Basically the point I’m at now, is where she was at about 6 years ago…making homemade EPs and playing any venues she could, didn’t rate herself as a singer but just had a message to share and knew this is what she wanted to do.

I’ve been inspired because I regard her as a much more intelligent and original songwriter and performer than a lot of artists around at the moment. And it’s not her musical sound that inspires me per se, it’s more her style and approach to writing. There wasn’t one clichΓ©d love song on the 1st album. Instead she chose to write about issues that mattered; the presentation of females in society, the music industry, gossip in magazines, being your own person etc.
Though she’s adapted a new image and her 2nd album is a lot more mainstream, electronic pop, the idea behind the whole thing is amazing and she hasn’t lost sight of who she is, despite what people might say about ‘selling out’. I won’t go into details because it would take too long, but if you’re interested she briefly explains it here: Electra Heart Interview. Though I’m not sure you get the full concept from that. In the playlist videos to the right, there’s a track-by-track breakdown of the album explaining each song, which is really interesting also.

The reason I’m all hyped up on Marina and writing this blog tonight is because I saw her live last night. Not to exaggerate but definately one of, if not the best live show I’ve been to. A nice mix of the new album plus all the singles from the first one. For anyone who is a fan or interested, this was the set list and links to the ones I videoed:
Homewrecker
Oh No
Mowgli’s Road
Lies
I Am Not A Robot
The State of Dreaming
Power & Control
Bubblegum Bitch
Starring Role
Obsessions
How To Be A Heartbreaker
Primadonna
Shampain
Radioactive

Encore:
Teen Idle
Fear & Loathing
Hollywood

She’s definately an artist you have to see live in my opinion, amazing performance.
After the show she came out in the rain to sign autographs as well. I have a lot of admiration for artists like her who are self made musicians who once had nothing or not a lot, and are now especially appreciative of their fans, and she definately is. Can’t wait for October, Lonely Hearts Club take 2! πŸ˜‰

But yeah, her as a person and her music has been inspiring me an awful lot lately, and I’ve come up with a new bunch of songs, all about personal things that I now feel I’ve got the confidence to present to the world and hopefully I will get to. It’s such a free feeling being out of education for the first time in my life. Knowing I can just work and then in my spare time I literally can just write music all day without the added pressures of uni. Definately glad I went, but glad I’ve left now to start the next chapter of my life. And I’ve got a really good feeling about it! πŸ™‚

Thank you for reading. Go listen to Marina if you haven’t already! And keep checking back for updates about my songs going online. Also working on some youtube videos of originals and covers! πŸ™‚
xxx

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hey to anyone who actually reads this (thankyou haha)!

It’s been a while, I know. I guess not a lot has been happening and it seemed I didn’t have a great deal to write about until now.

So Nashville is drawing ever closer, yes it’s only June, but it doesn’t seem 2 minutes since Christmas time and it’s now March. So it’s going to come around pretty quick I think. Plans are still being made, but everything is falling into place now. We’ve got flights booked, accommodation almost all sorted, festival tickets bought. just the small boring details like insurance to do next haha.

For the first time since we planned the trip, it’s finally starting to feel very real. I will admit, recently I’ve been feeling quit scared about going. It’s the first time I’ll have been away from home for longer than a week, and it’s also my first time flying so I think it feels like a million miles away, as I’m used to going places via car or coach.
but at the same time, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so excited about something. Recently, I’ve constantly had this overwhelming feeling about it. Like as if it’s meant to be? I don’t know, to some it might sound a bit strange, but I’ve got a really good feeling about this trip.

I don’t know how to say this without sounding a bit egotistical, but with coming from a northern English town and wanting so much to be a part of this kind of music, makes it seem like I’m/we’re made for more than this. (Kieron and I that is, and I think he’ll feel the same way).
When I put this feeling together with everything that’s happened in the past year, it all fits like a jigsaw, leading to Nashville.

Honestly I’ve never felt more passionate, determined and inspired as I do right now. I think it came from when I saw my favourite band, and the reason Kieron and I started singing together, Lady Antebellum, win 5 Grammy’s this year. I went on YouTube and watched their old road videos from 4 years ago, just before they got signed. And I was like ‘yeah, this is what we need to do!’. Our story right now is similar to theirs 4 or 5 years ago.
Also I re-discovered an old Lady A song that like my life anthem right now. It’s where I got the title of this blog from and It’s called ‘I was Here’. If you haven’t heard it then you can check it out here: Beautiful song. I heard it a while ago but it just didn’t hit me before like it did this time. I love when a song can do that! (They deserve 5 Grammys haha!)

So now it’s just all about going out there and getting it! But sometimes, believing in yourself is a really hard thing to do, and I’ll admit a lot of the time I’m the worst at it, I’m far too negative I know. At the risk of sounding conceited and people thinking I’m better than I actually am, I find it easier just to say I’m not great at things. Although I’m more confident than I was a few years back (hard to imagine I know haha). I’m getting there πŸ™‚
As the wonderful Taylor Swift said: “Fearless isn’t being completely unafraid, it’s having fears but jumping in anyway”
And in around 3 months time, that’s exactly what I’m going to do!

Thankyou for reading, it means a lot. πŸ™‚
Love,
Emma x

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me + mum + shopping <3

Today’s been a good day, a great day. I really wanted to blog something about it, but I wasn’t exactly sure what. So I’m simply going to say:
I love my mum. Simple as that.
All we did was go shopping, but we haven’t had a day like this for ages, and I didn’t realise how much I missed that until today. Usually one of us ends up in some sort of depressed mood when clothes won’t fit or don’t look right, but today there was none of that. We both came back with less money and a happier face than we left with this morning. πŸ™‚

There’s nothing very deep or meaningful to this blog, I just wanted to say thanks for a really good day. Since I sadly don’t have any best girl friends any more, my mum’s done a great job of being just that. Love you!
xx
_____________________________________________________

mum – I’ve seen you getting a lot of glances of young men. see your prettier than you think.
me – Really? I don’t normally
mum – Oh well it must be me then

me – I wanna go to Selfridges next, just for a look around
mum – Yeah. haha going into Selfridges with a Primark bag
me – Oh yeah they’re gonna know I’m not really rich!
_____________________________________________________

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Change

Hi everyone.

Tonight I’ve been thinking about things changing. Change is something everyone has to face in many different scenarios. Sometimes change is for the better, and sometimes it’s not. Sometimes you know a change is coming and then other times it can take you completely unawares. That’s what I became aware of just now.

Earlier I put I put ‘ugh!…’ on my facebook status because things were just making me me a feel a bit ‘ugh’. You know what I mean, everyone feels like that. Being honest it was mainly lack of musical inspiration and a non existent love life haha. So a friend I haven’t spoke to in a while asked what was wrong and we got talking. We started to talk about old times, and how different everything was a couple years ago. I knew that someone we were friends with has just had a baby, and then I just found out that someone else we were good friends with has just gotten engaged. This came as a shock because we haven’t seen them for a long while, and you don’t realise what’s happening in other peoples lives. So this inspired me to just write this, spare of the moment blog. I’m not even thinking about what I’m writing to be honest, I’m writing as I feel and as I think.

So going back to ‘change’. My friend Gina said how she misses the college days with ‘the tea machine’ (long story) and all those memories from 2 years ago. We had a group of friends that was really good, that we really loved to hang out with and go to parties with. And I agreed, the college days were fun and I do miss them. And suddenly I think we both became aware of just how much things have changed around us.
Especially as I mentioned I don’t have any girl friends since the incident earlier this year where 2 people I thought were best friends didn’t turn out to be that at all. And Gina said she’s in the same boat, so therefore we’re going to have a big catch up next week because quite frankly, it’s been far too long!!

This past few months have all been about change really. If you’ve read the past couple blogs (minus the gig review maybe), then you’ll know that I’ve been happier musically and found a direction that I want to go in. Not only want to, but a direction I feel is right for me. And for the first time in a long while, something is being done about that. Writing, recording and going to the CMA fest in Nashville next year. Because I’m really doing something to make it happen, it feels like a big change. A big step up from where I was before summer, just going along to uni doing what I have to do to pass and not really thinking about much else. So this year when I go back to uni, I’ll know musically where I’m at and hopefully be able to use that more. πŸ™‚

I think this year in general has so far been a year where everyone I know seems to have changed and grown up in one way or another, it’s a little strange because it all seems to be happening at once. Maybe this is just the year of change for me. The 19th year and everything’s starting to look different.

Things personally for me are probably change for the better, and so I’m just going to look forward to that and literally do all I can to fulfill the dream and goal God has given me.
And as for everything else, well it’s just getting used to a new way of things. We’re not the people we were 2 years ago and that’s just what we’ve become aware of tonight.
And mine and Gina’s catch up next week will be filled with the most random quotes and reminiscing haha! Looking forward to it chick!

Thanks for reading xx

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London & Lady Antebellum (Review)

Hey! So I guess I didn’t blog whilst I was away in Scotland, or since I got back sorry. But hey, I’m here now.
I’m going to post a review blog of the 2 days I spent in London. πŸ™‚

As I said in the previous blog, me and Kieron went to London to see Lady Antebellum play their sold-out debut London show!
So last Wednesday was the day. We got a 7am train to London, meaning we were there for 9am, 11 hours before the concert started haha. The plan was to walk around and sight see, but that didn’t happen till Thursday. We went more or less straight to the venue to see where it was, and we found it finally about 11ish. Whilst trying to decide what to do we saw 3 girls waking towards to venue and then they sat down on the steps. We were thinking ‘they’re not are they??’ And they were….queuing at 11am for the concert! haha. We weren’t dressed for the show, so we went to find Kieron’s friends house where we were staying, which was 2 subway trains away. We found that, got dressed up, got some food, and went all the way back to the venue, and at 2 o’clock we were also in the queue. 9th and 10th to be exact πŸ™‚
And this is pretty much where we spent the next 5 hours until the doors opened. The time went pretty quick. We could hear them sound checking inside for aages, like 2 hours, that was fun to listen to. It was also fun to watch everyone else arriving and getting in the queue, and it gradually built up till it went all the way around the corner and there were 2000 people stood on the street waiting. Some people had meet and greet passes, which we didn’t win. But then again they didn’t get to the front for the show, which we near enough did, we were on the 2nd row, was amazing to be so close!
This review is going to be pretty long, but here goes anyways:

They opened to doors nearly on time, like 10 past 7. And then it was nearer to 8 o’clock when the support act, Rachel Furner came on. She was great, amazing voice! We don’t reckon the bass player was really singing the backing vocals, he moved away from the mic and it stayed the same volume lol. But hey my old band used extra backing vocals so I can’t say anything πŸ˜›

So it was probably 9pm when Lady A took to the stage, opening with the new album’s rockiest number, ‘Stars Tonight’. Great opening song, it really got the crowd into it! And everyone noticed when they changed Friday to Wednesday in the line ‘it’s the roar of the crowd on a Friday night’. This song went straight into ‘Love Don’t Live here’, which everyone sang along to. ‘Perfect day’ was next. We love this song because musically it’s so simple and the words are all straight to the point lyrics, yet it’s in no way cheesy and has this awesome infectious country beat to it. Seriously this song will always cheer me up!
The set was slowed down a bit after this with ‘When you got a Good Thing’. A really nice ballad that we also love! They kept it slow with ‘All We’d Ever Need’, which saw the backing band leave the stage leaving Lady A singing acoustically. This song is the first one they wrote together, and it’s a really nice one. They also said at this point that this was ‘the first of many shows’ yay!
The next song was a cover of Radiohead’s ‘High and Dry’ which Charles said was ‘an attempt to befriend people in the UK’ haha. To be honest I’m not familiar with the original but I loved the way they sang it. After this everyone went to the back of the stage leaving Dave alone upfront. He played some solo acoustic guitar, maybe improvised I wasn’t sure. If it was it was damn good because they went straight into ‘American Honey’ after this, which has a really strange guitar tuning. So to be able to play so good in that tuning, let alone improvise, is amazing! He got a big cheer for that, and then when the opening melody of ‘American Honey’ was played we cheered even louder. I love this song SO much! Kind of a mid tempo number, and has this perfect laid back country feel to it. The song’s about looking back to who you were as a child, and the music really compliments that idea. And not forgetting how good Hillary sings the lead.
Keeping to the country feel the next song was ‘Slow Down Sister’. The melody of this song is great, real country like. The latest single in America ‘Our Kind of Love’ was next. Everyone knows this from the opening piano riff, it’s so good. And lyrically I love this song as well as the music, ‘Just like driving on an open highway, never knowing what we’re gonna find..’.
Since Dave was already sat at his baby grande piano, the next song was ‘Hello World’. If you haven’t heard this song then you gotta hear it. Its about a guy kind of finding himself again through different things in life, like a little girl waving at him, and a little church he passes by. The piano is so nice in it and it builds up big time throughout the 5 minutes. Country style power ballad definately!
Then there was some music played by the band and we didn’t know what song it was, until the familiar sound of ‘Need You Now’ was heard. This song won them a grammy award this year, and trust me it’s well deserved. The song in general is just amazing and when you see Charles and Hillary sing it to each other with such emotion, it’s a great moment πŸ™‚ When the song finished they held the mics to the audience and everyone sang the chorus, and they looked pretty overwhelmed at that.
All seriousness over now, the next song was ‘Lookin’ for a Good Time’, which is about….well just that haha. I think if you listen to it or read the lyrics you’ll see what I mean ‘how ’bout baby we make a promise to not promise anything more than one night…’ lol. It’s a great song though, and this one came out best on video because they were all so close up.
Next they did another cover which was ‘Free Falling’, not sure who it was originally by, but it’s a good song. And that brought them to the last song of the set, their current single over here ‘I Run To You’. Obviously this one went down well, everyone knew it and sang it out! It’s a great song with this really good driving beat to it, good to end the set with.
They went off-stage and then some people moved the piano forward to it was obvious there was going to be another song. They came back on and sang their version of ‘Hey Jude’ by The Beatles. No one expected that as an encore but it worked well, they got everyone singing and arm-waving to it.

And that was it, end of the show. It was really an amazing show and I can’t wait to see them again, so worth queuing 5 hours for!!
It took us a while to get home, on account of we came out of the tube station the wrong way and walked for half an hour in the wrong direction, then just managed to get the last bus home at midnight.

The day after we spent the whole day sightseeing and saw pretty much all the sights of London. The highlight was seeing James Corden pull up at the side of us in his ’10 reg Jaguar, picking his nose haha. Can’t believe I didn’t get a picture of that!

And that’s it, that was out 2 awesome days in London. We had a great time, and will be doing that again when there’ another good London concert!
Seeing Lady Antebellum has really made me even more determined to get to where they are. Hopefully this is definately where I’m going, because it sure feels like it’s where I should be! πŸ˜€

Thanks for reading πŸ™‚ xx

The London pics are all up here if you want to look:
http://www.facebook.com/#!/album.php?aid=196376&id=529687472

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All things country…

Hey!
The past couple weeks me and Kieron have been writing some music. We’ve got 2 1/2 christian songs done, and we’ve decided to start writing what we really want to do…country music. It’s in very early stages but I think there’s a clear picture of where we want to go with it, and hopefully we’ll get there.

Here’s a little story about a band and realising something:

I’d known about this band, Lady Antebellum, for a while, but never really listened to them (I am quite ashamed of that). Kieron’s been into them for ages. The other day we were trying to decide our unique style and how we’re gonna find it. So the best way is to listen to other music for inspiration, so we put some Lady A on…and I got hooked on their music pretty quickly. I went home and listened to it all in youtube, then bought the first album the other day. I had it on in the car and the song ‘I run to you’ is quite repetative with that one line, so naturally my dad commented on it saying ‘well just run then!’, ya know thinking he’s funny *rolls eyes*. Then he comes in from work a couple days ago and he said ‘hey you know that song that you had on in the car, well it was on the radio all day’. I’m like ‘what? in England?’. So I looked it up on the internet and found out they’ve released the album and 2 singles over here, and in 3 weeks is one debut UK show. So in a few weeks me and Kieron have a road trip (well train trip) planned to London, tickets bought and everything! πŸ™‚

Since I got the tickets the other day I’ve been so excited for it, therefore listening to Lady Antebellum’s music constantly! And it’s really influencing my writing, and my view on the future.
See today i was thinking where is it that I really want to go after uni. Because I get asked all the time, and the answer is always ‘I have no idea’. So now I have an answer. Instead of using my degree to get a job I don’t really want, like teaching, I’m just gonna do what makes me happy. And that would be writing and performing the music I want to do. Which at this moment in time is country music. There isn’t a big market for it over here, so if moving to America is what it takes then that’s what I’m gonna do!
We’re also going to the CMA fest in Nashville next year, so that will be a huge influence/wake up call I bet.

If you’re reading this thinking I’m being too optimistic and there’s only a small chance of it happening, and that I should have a plan B, I also have an answer for this now. I don’t need a plan B. I’ve been asking God to take me where I’m supposed to be, and the passion I feel for music especially this kind, is so big, that I think at the moment this is supposed to be where I’m going. God has given me a chance and a dream, and it would be wrong to throw that back at Him. If in the future this isn’t where I need to be, He will guide me then as well and show me what the right way is. Therefore plan B isn’t needed. I’m gonna chase plan A until I can go no further.

I’m going on holiday to Scotland for the next 2 weeks, so I may blog whilst I’m away, or when I get back definately πŸ™‚
Thanks for reading x

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God answers prayer

The weekend just gone was a good weekend. It was good for more than one reason, butΒ Β Β  whatΒ  made it different was that my eyes were opened further to just how much God listens and answers. Obviously we as Christians all know He listens to whatever we tell Him, and He will answer us. Over the past couple of years, since I really started to talk to God on a personal level, he has answered me numerous times. But I only realise He’s answered me after it’s happened, because it’s not always an ‘in your face’ clear sign, and it’s not always straight away.
This weekend however it was. On maybe Thursday or Friday I asked God for something, not a material thing, I asked for help with something. Asked him to just give me the answer and tell me what I should do. And on Sunday something happened that was as clear as clear can be. Think of it like if you were doing an online test and were stuck on a question, and then the right answer just appeared on the screen infront of you…that’s how clear this was. And I realised it straight away that this was the answer I wanted, that I needed. And it was a great moment. I sat there thinking ‘wow, God is…talking to me’.

I just wanted to share this because this time it was a quick reply. It was a clear reply. But things aren’t always this clear to us. I’m sure a lot of people ask for things and think God isn’t answering them when they think they don’t receive an answer. Like I said, He does answer it just might not be in an obvious way. And similarly it might not always be the answer you want to hear so people shut that out and wait for the answer they do want. If this is the case it’s because the answer we do want isn’t the right one for us, or it’s not the right time.
Looking back at other times I’ve asked God for something, I’ve also learnt that we have to be patient and wait for God. He’ll answer us when the time is right and not before.

I guess all this might seem obvious to Christians reading this, but I had to put it into writing for myself as most of this is a new discovery for me.

If there’s something you want or need, don’t give up on God, because he won’t give up on you.

xx

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