February was a silly busy month for me, which is why I've only just got round to writing this post.
I released my new EP "The Don't Judge This EP By It's Cover EP" last month and if you've not listened to it yet, then you've probably seen the artwork, which features a picture of me in my pants. (Click on the words so you can listen on Spotify, Apple Music or buy a CD)
"Why?" I hear you ask. Well, I have a few reasons, so I'll share them here.
I came up with the concept a couple of years ago. I spent a few years touring with some people who had a much bigger following than me, and as a result I ended up in meetings with various industry people and what I kept getting told really started to bug me. It seems that they felt that I needed to wear better clothes and try my best to make myself look younger. Now, I know that in the pop world, image is very important, but I'm a singer/songwriter with a marmite like voice, what difference should how I look really make? If people like the music and my voice, then they'll listen, if they're only listening because they think I'm a fashion icon, then they're listening to the wrong guy! So the idea of doing something in my pants without a hat came to fruition around then. The title was fairly obvious at that point!
Along with those meetings, I was very aware that some of the younger people who were coming to my shows were really suffering with mental health problems and this I found very troubling. After some research, I began to realise that image and body image was one of the main causes of this in younger people. The main stream media doesn't expose us to many "normal" looking bodies unless it's to mock them, so again the idea of me presenting myself, warts and all, suddenly felt like something that would be good to do. There is nothing wrong with not being ripped, having a funny angled chest and a high hairline. I'm proud of how I look, and so should you be!
I also wanted to prove a point. If I had been female then the response to this artwork would have been very different. I've not had a single person objectify me (well not that I've seen), or shame me or invalidate my art as a result of this cover. If you're someone who doesn't believe that male privilege exists, then this is a true example of it.
There's also a side of me that likes the idea of people having their music on shuffle whilst they're on public transport or in a public place, and when one of my songs comes up and they realise they're not in the mood for it, they'll think twice about taking their phone out of their pocket to skip to the next song, as the artwork will be on the front of their phones. This tickles me anyway.
I've quite enjoyed how much fun people have had with it as well, superimposing all kinds of things on me, or me in other places,
Ultimately, I just wanted people to listen to the music, and I guess that I also knew that something like this might make a few more people notice that I've released something amongst the wall of noise that now exists on social media. Shameless as it is, we do have to do something to stand out!
So, they're my reasons for getting my kit off, but I hope you've enjoyed the new songs, I won't leave it anywhere near as long in future to release something! In fact, I'm already working on the next one!
Hopefully see some of you in the next couple of weeks on my tour with Lewis Fieldhouse.