Many of you have heard his beautiful song writing in action following our release of his festive Christmas song Warm Hearts. Therefore we thought that it would be a good time to re-introduce you to the man himself. In his own words, may I warmly present to you our wonderful songwriter, arranger and lyricist Colin.
“I’ve been in love with music for as long as I can remember. I grew up in an environment where singing and playing the guitar were essential parts of most family celebrations. I was weaned on David Bowie; raised on Neil Young; reproached on Lou Reed; nurtured on James Taylor and soothed
on Carole King – to name but a few. My dads (Johns) job meant we moved a lot when I was a child; but a loving family and music were constant – when we were living abroad, I remember attempting to translate Lou Reed’s Satellite of Love into German at nine, for example. I will always be grateful for the influence of my parents’ music.
However, perhaps like a lot of boys my age, whose adolescence spanned the late eighties and early nineties, I did not think it was ‘cool’ to show my love of music, preferring to concentrate on playing football, clowning around and having a laugh at school, and bobbing along aimlessly on an incessant wave of pop and dance music at the time – music I still love and listen to with fond nostalgia after a few beers on a Friday night YouTube ‘journey’.
That was until I heard Oasis and The Verve. I was shaken by the astute simplicity of the opening lines of Live Forever: as accessible a song as it is unforgettable. I thought I could have a go at that! And I was inspired by The Verve’s History, struck by the pain of Richard Ashcroft’s William Blake-inspired lyrics in this amazing song and album, A Northern Soul. I realised that creativity has no constraints.
Leaving school, I became a student: interested in learning. Suddenly, there were endless possibilities in words and music!
I began to apply myself like never before: learning chords, writing lyrics, reading, writing songs and singing. Within a relatively short period of time, a few like-minded school friends and I were out busking, playing venues and performing our own songs to anyone who would listen. With the amazing support of my parents and a few close friends, our efforts culminated in the formation of our band, Voices – we didn’t like the name but couldn’t agree on a better alternative – which lasted from 1996 – 2000. We played lots of venues across central Scotland; however, the highlight was undoubtedly headlining The Cavern Club in Liverpool in 1999.
For various reasons our band separated. I continued to write songs and play gigs myself for a few years; I also attempted to form another band but I just couldn’t replicate the feeling of being in a band with my friends. At the time I found the experience difficult to rationalise. It felt like I had put all my energies into something for nothing. It took my mum and dad to reinforce how much I had
gained from the experience: a strong work ethic; a love of learning; a confidence to be creative, and a passion for the people and ideas around me, notwithstanding the songs I had written.
Over the subsequent twenty years, I have attempted to take these values into all aspects of my life: my studies at university; my relationships as a father, son, brother, partner and friend; and my philosophy and practice as a school teacher.
Standing up in front of a class of thirty-three teenagers can be fun but is always a privilege. I have also concluded it is similar to doing a gig. It requires you to be at your best and have resilience. Your audience needs to believe you mean what you say; that you are there for them; and that they should take something away from the experience. My love of music has never been far away from the
classroom. Used appropriately and proportionately, it can support building positive relationships with pupils. But I would never have believed a few years ago that I would be embarking on a musical journey with an ex-pupil and his mum, my family and a few dear friends to release a Christmas song.
But what has transpired is the alignment of a wonderful group of talented and committed musicians, family and friends whose belief in my song is as humbling as it is exciting.
On Friday, 30th November 2018, I returned home to find my children and partner immersed in the Christmas spirit. Their enthusiasm and excitement were compelling, infectious and relentless. That night I wrote the majority of the lyrics for Warm Hearts to fit the melody that had been working on
that week. The sentiment behind the song is that Christmas increasingly forces itself into our lives every year whether we are ready for it or not. But those we love ensure we keep on going and enter into the Christmas spirit despite the pressures of life.
Although the song lyrics perhaps present a more modern, realistic take on the festive season, the melody and the arrangement of Warm Hearts certainly are not. Its 3/4 rhythm is the perfect backdrop for just the right amount of sleigh bells and Christmas cheer, whilst the production tips its hat to some of the eighties classic Christmas songs that act as our soundtrack to this time of year.
Over the last year, after a ten-year hiatus, I have been writing new songs at an unprecedented rate.
It is as if they have been hanging around in the recesses of my mind, waiting for the nights of interrupted sleep to become more infrequent and the insurmountable mountains of marking to become scalable. Writing new material over the last year has been a wonderful experience.
I hope that you enjoy WarmHearts. I hope it adds to your Christmas spirit.
Merry Christmas when it comes”
Don’t forget you can now find out more about the song Warm Hearts on our website: http://www.warmheartschristmas.com
You can also stream our song on SPOTIFY, I-TUNES, APPLE MUSIC, DEEZER, GOOGLE PLAY, AMAZON MUSIC and for purchase on Bandcamp.
You can also send us “YOURVOICE” to be featured on a remixed version of our song please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or see our website.