It's that time of the year when everyone posts their new years resolutions.
Last year I said that I was going to record 12 different EPs with different artists and a few new ones by me featuring some different styles etc. I really wanted to get back into production and put a whole load of new music out and try and create something.
In January I released an EP by my side project band For Apollo, but after that, not a single release. I started recording two. One for Lizzie Jane and one for myself, but somehow things seemed to just get in the way of me being able to focus on this work.
"How's your EP coming along?" - My good friend Nick Kent asks me this every time I see him, and it's almost a running joke now. He took the photos for the front cover way back in February or March, and I had a whole vision on what I wanted to happen, but I still haven't even finished writing the songs, let alone recording it.
So from my resolutions last year, 1 out of 12 was completed. Brilliant.
Why did I fail so badly?
1. In terms of my own song writing, I was struggling. Although I had some ideas, I was still struggling to accept this new path that I set myself upon back at the end of 2014, and although I thought I had a vision, it really needed some more thought. Which I have now done you'll be pleased to know, and now I really have put the wheels in motion to start achieving things with my own music again... This is positive, it just took a lot longer than I thought.
2. I didn't actually have the time I thought I would. Recording is a long and time consuming process. Well it is for me anyway. If you're pressing all the buttons and trying to capture your own performances you need a good chunk of time. It's not a case of "I have an hour, let me pop into my home studio and record that piano part." I actually need a good 5 hours solid to start getting anything that resembles a decent piano part!
Why didn't I have the time? Well, something happened that I didn't really anticipate. I ended up doing 239 gigs last year. This smashes any previous year (although I've never counted, but I know I've never been near to being that busy). That amount of gigs comes with a certain amount of admin and practise, so inevitable when I was at home I tended to not be in recording mode. Most of these gigs were covers gigs, and that may not be ideal in terms of wanting to pursuit my own material, doing that many gigs did really help my voice develop which I hope to be able to showcase more in recordings this year! I had so much fun doing all those gigs, and at one point Danny Gruff and I considered making a challenge for 2017 in which we both tried to perform 365 gigs. We really gave it a lot of thought, but we realised that as much as it would be a great achievement, we'd end up doing a lot of gigs that just weren't worth doing, and not having the time/energy to focus on other things we want to achieve or to see our friends, families and girlfriends!
3. I took more time off. This one may seem very self indulgent, but once it became clear that I would definitely would not hit my target, I decided to make sure I got some proper rest on my days off rather than forcing myself into the studio. I took the longest holiday I've ever had since I registered self employed back in 2007 (12 days in Italy in August), and this all helped me to focus on where I want to go. So I suppose this was also extremely positive in the long run.
4. My girlfriend lives with me now. This of course isn't a problem, it's wonderful. Faye is great and makes me very happy. The only problem with this is my own. In the past I used to most of my recording/writing at night, but with my studio being in the home, and with her having a 9-5 job and needing to sleep earlier than I normally would, I no longer have my late night noise making sessions. This requires me to be more productive during the daytimes. Something that I really will try to do more this year, but if i really can't make it happen, then I'll just start hiring external spaces to try and get it done. It will be more expensive, but I can't go on with such a low output.
So this year, there will be new music, not 12 EPs from different artists, but I will finish Lizzie's EP and get my own one out pretty soon. Then I'll be writing a lot more, and the big announcement about what I'm doing this year will happen between the 4th and 6th April. (I need to get all my ducks in a row before making the announcement, but it will happen!) It seems odd to be announcing my new years resolution to be an announcement in April, but there you go...
I'm going big rather than fading away.... or that is the plan. So if you're reading this, I hope you're ready for sharing an adventure with me.
Oh, and while you're still here. Thanks for all the support in 2016, although I didn't fulfil my target, I saw a great number of you on my small tours and some of you even came out to my covers gigs! Not to mention, we all raised nearly £4000 for Mind. People who follow my career really are the most inspiring of people, I often feel that I get more inspiration out of you than I can ever give you, so thank you!