The most rewarding side to my job

As a musician, I’ve had the opportunity to perform at some amazing venues and events and play alongside some incredibly talented people. Now, don’t get me wrong, every single one of those events have been memorable and I’m beyond grateful to have been a part of them, but there is one thing that I do on a regular basis as part of my job as a musician.

Performing at various elderly carehomes around Essex, entertaining the residents. This is seriously the most rewarding side to my job and I’ll tell you why, every single resident is so grateful to me taking the time to come and entertain them for an hour, yes AN HOUR, that’s all it takes out of my day.

It really brings tears to my eyes just seeing the residents smile and happily enjoying my performance! They may not be all there mentally and may not remember me from one week to the next but every single Sunday that I am there, they show up, they clap enthusiastically and they’re extremely thankful. In my eyes, that beats any arena audience anywhere, anytime.

If you’re a young musician, especially a Pianist, I would highly recommend looking around your local area for some carehomes and writing a short email detailing your services and how you would love to perform for their residents, it really is extremely rewarding work and also looks brilliant on your CV because you are gaining experience with working with elderly people, it may not be direct experience but you are having to interact with them throughout your performance and you will find yourself building a rapport with them as you gain regular slots at a certain home.

Of course, I do get paid for the work I do, but the money is most certainly not the motivation here, seeing the residents smile is the motivation. Look into it, you won’t be disappointed!!


Album Review : Tall Dark Friend – The Baffled King

Album Review : Tall Dark Friend – The Baffled King

10014118_10153166993291355_6303141347427317741_oTall Dark Friend A.K.A Jordan Grey is a twenty-something virtuoso Pianist and vocalist from Thurrock, UK. With a killer reputation for energetic and passionate live shows, she’s certainly made a name for herself on the indie music circuit.

As well as live performances, Jordan also records her own material, I am going to be doing a track by track review of her 2015 release “The Baffled King”.

Track 1 – When I Do

The first track of the album titled “When I Do” is what I deem a perfect start to an album. It is an upbeat track driven by Piano, Guitar and Drums with amazing lyrics to compliment the instrumentation, including an orchestral section at 2:51! Jordan’s vocals really reflect and go hand in hand with the powerful lyrics, this track certainly does the best job of grabbing your attention!

One thing that struck me about this track was how beautifully simple it is. There’s nothing to complex about the chord structure or the way the instruments are played, everything just sits comfortably in a nice, neat line, combining the genres of Rock and Ballad to a tee. I really enjoyed the brief use of Orchestra at 2:51, this was a brilliant way for Jordan to add some dynamic contrast to the overall product. “What I Do” is the perfect drive-along feel good song. I couldn’t stop smiling and dancing around when listening to it. Top work!

Track 2 – Y.O.L.F.O

Y.O.L.F.O shifts the album into another gear,and we’re not even half way through yet! I dubbed it as pure genius from bar one, and this is a statement I completely stand by and probably always will.  Tall Dark Friend’s use of vocal harmony really fills out the track, making sure there are no un-needed gaps as the track flows from bar to bar, line to line.

Again, Grey makes brilliant use of dynamic contrasting from 3:00 with a steady build up within the instrumentation at 3:25 until the track reaches a well timed and perfect crescendo at 3:37! During this dynamic contrast section, there is one repeating lyric: “we’ll live forever, once, then never again”. I’m not sure exactly what this lyric means but it certainly resonated with me. It is starkly clear to me that these lyrics are from the heart, yet they have clearly been well thought out to mould together a track that is more than chart worthy!

Track 3 – Corridors

Track number three has got to be one of my favourite Tall Dark Friend tracks! I’ve been fortunate enough to see this one performed live on several occasions and it blows my mind every single time! The combination of generally fantastic musicianship and technology on the studio version of this track is one thing that sticks out for me, it adds a somewhat futuristic feels to the track and for me, it is the perfect answer to the question “Who IS Tall Dark Friend?”, Corridors just captures everything that makes Tall Dark Friend who she is and condensed lovingly into a 3 minute track of perfection, showing off her vocal range for the first (and not the last time) on this album. This track is always my go to track when listening to Jordan’s work, I know all of the lyrics too! No shame whatsoever! Pure genius!

I could seriously go on about this track for hours, I could probably dedicate a whole blog to Tall Dark Friend’s work, it is seriously THAT BRILLIANT!

Track 4 – Hang With The Happiness

This is the sort of track that makes you want to get up and dance as soon as it starts! A brilliant tongue and cheek middle finger to her critics , Jordan hits the nail on the head with what she is trying to say and accomplish with this track. She even added in a short rap section which shows us another side to her musical abilities.

This track has limited and basic instrumentation although it works surprisingly well with counter melodies that most musicians wouldn’t think of using that actually compliment eachother. This track is full of inspirational words from a writer and musician who has taken on the world, and WON!

Track 5 – Girl With The Fringe

This track causes the album to take another twist on the journey towards track 14. I can’t put my finger on why, but this one didn’t strike a chord in me. There were some extremely interesting lyrics throughout but nothing really resonated with me, I couldn’t connect with it like the other tracks. It’s probably because I’m not a girl with a fringe!

Despite this, the instrumentation is yet again well thought out and compliments everything nicely! It’s just the lyrics that I can’t get my head around so much. There is no denying that it is still a good track none the less.

Track 6 – Honey, I’m Home

This track starts yet another portion of the album journey. Introducing several ballad tracks following it, it is a definite improvement from track 5! Honey, I’m Home yet again does a brilliant job of showcasing Jordan’s vocal range and ability, singing a set of poignant lyrics such as “swimming through a lake of love though the waters cold”. To me, this track is conveying images of hope, this is something everyone can relate to. I’m not sure what the actual meaning of the lyrics are, this was just my own interpretation.

I feel that this track would really suit a wedding first dance scenario. This is because of the powerful lyrics and the soft piano. I absolutely adore the stripped back style to this track and the emotions it caused me to feel. The finale of this track really took my by surprise but in a really great way! A brilliant use of transposition at 5:50 concludes a track that I can literally find 0 faults with!

Track 7 – Now You Need Me (Now You Don’t)

This is a track that truly masters the blend of guitar and piano, it’s obvious that this was meant to be a track driven through harmonies and a solid band. Track 7 has also given Grey an opportunity to showcase a more rocky edge to her vocal tone which is a brilliant way of showing the listener what she is capable of doing.

I love the fact that on this track, as well as others, Jordan makes sure not to limit herself to just Piano and Vocals. She really tries to unlock and exploit every instrument she can in the most musically bliss way possible! It’s a short and sweet track that allows you to indulge deeper into the heart and mind of a true genuine artist, but because of it’s length, doesn’t reveal too much! There is still 7 more tracks to go, after all!

Track 8 – Didn’t You Know? 

Didn’t You Know is truly a magical track! It’s your typical pop anthem with the adventurous Tall Dark Friend twist, this combination creates a track that should be a worldwide number one hit! I just wish it could’ve been a longer track, although the short but sweet formula used throughout the last few tracks seems to be working well, maybe there will be an extended version one of these days! (Jordan, if you’re reading this, this is a subtle hint 😉

Track 9 – Neptune Tune

This track took an extremely unexpected twist into the realms of techno. I must admit, I wasn’t a very big fan of this one, it feels a little out of place compared to the rest of the album if I’m being completely critical. However, it does do a great job of exploiting all of Tall Dark Friend’s musical personalities and shows how diverse of a musician she is. Her diversity is one of the many things that made me fall in love with her music in the first place.

Track 10 – More Than Mates (You and Me)

Track ten settles down again compared to Neptune Tune, it goes back to a style that I feel suits Tall Dark Friend best. More Than Mates seems like your typical relationship style track, which everyone can relate to. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind covering track in my own set, although I doubt I’d do it any justice whatsoever!

Admittedly, I was slightly worried that the album was declining in quality as the end was nigh. Thankfully, Jordan managed to perform a rescue mission with this one and managed to keep me engrossed in her musical craziness once again! There are slight techno elements to this track too but, in my opinion, it is done miles better than the previous track.

Track 11 – Way Back When

From the first few lines, this song strikes the chords of the heartstrings in spectacular T.D.F fashion, it’s an entire track of the kind of subtle flair and brilliance that only she can capture. Way Back When tells a story like no other, I was immersed into this track from the start, it captures the heart and takes you on a musical, emotional fairground ride that you really don’t want to end. The most incredible thing about it is the fact that there was no need to use elaborate chord sequences or busy instrumentation, the marrying of  piano and lyrics do it more than justice.

Track 12 – King Of Hands

Continuing on the path of heart throbbing piano ballads, you can hear Jordan’s passion within every syllable of this song. The storytelling is a take you by the hand adventure that is so mesmerising and capturing, you may as well be in Wonderland! Everything about this track just seemed effortless. Again, there is brilliant use of orchestra throughout this track, the orchestration on the entire album is amazing, as a composer, this is something that really sticks out for me. It really is nothing short of perfection this track, and I could listen to it over and over again.

Track 13 – See My Bones

I must confess, that I am seriously running out of compliments to give this crazy talented artist! Tracks 11-13 really compliment eachother, it is as if she has devoted a certain number of tracks to a certain genre that she plays, if this is the case, then it is a very clever idea and works very well!

I loved the re-introduction of beatoxing and sampling in this track. I also really enjoyed the sudden change of tempo during the track, going from a ballad to a form of upbeat jazz piece. With every track, a new side to Jordan’s playing seems to become unlocked, this excites me more than I can really put into words, I admire Jordan for taking the time and effort to really explore various styles throughout this album, she certainly knows how to be versatile!

Track 14 – Zero

And here we are, the fourteenth and final track that wraps up a stunning collection of Tall Dark Friends work! This track could not have been more fitting either, combining almost every element of the album to create one final curtain call of perfection. See My Bones compliments it’s 13 other friends beyond measure, slotting in perfectly to create a complete Tall Dark Friend musical puzzle! Some could say that this track falls flat compared to the rest, but I completely disagree with this. Each track on this album clearly had it’s place, and this is where See My Bones belongs.


In conclusion, The Baffled King is what I deem a track by track masterclass and is an inspiration  to listen to! I honestly believe that this album will one day be up there with the timeless classics we all know and love today! It has been crafted with the right amount of love and affection required to create something this sublime, Tall Dark Friend grabs you by the hand from track one, and from then on, you follow her through a 14 track quest to touch every possible music side to her that you can.

The Baffled King more than deserves a place in the charts and it saddens me that it isn’t up there with the likes of Adele and Sam Smith! Anyone that hasn’t heard this album should make it their belated New Years resolution to sit down, close their eyes and get pulled into some Tall Dark Friend.

Okay, I’m now two thousand words in so I’m going to finish up with this:

Jordan/Tall Dark Friend, it’s been a true honour to review something so perfect. A 14 track CD of passion and genius that I know will be up there with the greats one day! I can’t wait until your next release. Stunningly done, my friend, top marks!

Rating: 10/10





Why having a business mindset is important to having a successful music career

Why having a business mindset is important to having a successful music career

I see a lot of independent musicians struggling to really make a solid living out of their talents, I was one of them until last year. Throughout last year I learnt one extremely important lesson when it came to actually making money from my music.

You MUST have a BUSINESS MINDSET! I know it sounds more complicated and scary than it actually is, I was put off this for ages but if you really want to start making money from something you love, you need to start treating your talent like a business.

The business mindset means making serious time and putting serious effort into your work and this means making sacrifices. I’m not going to sugarcoat anything about this, if you want to have a successful career in anything, you have to be dedicated to your craft and the demands it has. Let me put that more bluntly, if you’re not prepared to get in from gigs at 3am and then be prepared to wake up at 8am the next day to write about your gig, respond to emails and post photos, then you may as well stop. Sure, the life of an indie musician isn’t the most glamorous in the world, but believe me, it does get better if you’re prepared to put the work in!

Having  said all of this, here is how I managed to finally get into the right frame of mind to start making a profit from my music.

I built my brand

Branding is everything when it comes to any form of business idea. The reason behind this is because brands are lot more memorable than names, hence why you see celebrities making perfumes, clothing lines, toys and so on. Because that way, they are everywhere and constantly on peoples minds. Now, I’m not saying I have a toy or a clothing line BUT I do still have a solid brand under the “Gary Cunningham Music” name.

Branding is another phrase that people are petrified of, especially musicians. The top one liner from the majority of indie musicians is “I’m a person, not a brand” there in lies mistake number one, and that one line has basically killed their chances of making money from the off!

I will write a more detailed post about how to build a solid brand in a later post but the bottom line is, you have to come up with something memorable and get it seen by as many people as possible.

I started charging for my performances (at a reasonable price)

This sounds like something is painfully obvious, like “the sky is blue” obvious. BUT shockingly, some people still don’t do this. They spend their musical days doing open mics and charity events! NOW I am not slating open mics OR charity events in the slightest, I support many charities and have various charity performances coming up.

What I am referring to, are the musicians that say they want to make money from their music but are just doing these sorts of events. I’m sorry but if you genuinely want to make money, you need to start looking further afield regarding performance opportunities. I very rarely do anything music wise for free these days, simply because I believe that I am working hard and investing my time into something just like every other business person around me is. This, again, is where the importance of a business mindset comes into play. KNOW YOUR WORTH PEOPLE!! If you don’t venues, managers, promoters, press, they’ll all walk all over you like you’re their own personal doormat!

If a potential client asks you to work for free, don’t be rude or unprofessional about it. Just politely remind them that you are running a business and trying to earn a living, if they are decent people, they’ll understand that. Those people that contest and explain that it’s for promotion, aren’t worth your time. Again, I’ll write another article about working for free in the coming weeks so be sure to keep an eye out.

I know this is quite a short article guys but every topic I’ve discussed today will be explained and broken down in more detail in future articles!

The one thing you should take away from this one though is that this is the music BUSINESS and it’s not called that for nothing!




My top five indie artists of the year so far

My top five indie artists of the year so far

The wealth of independent talent surrounding Essex lately has been astounding, there are definitely lots of musicians around that I know are going to go far this year, I could list a lot of them but I’ve decided to shorten the list down to five.

5) Chase Martinez 11885009_442485689270791_7430716026365865694_o

Chase Martinez is an 18 year old singer/songwriter based in Romford, Essex. He has one of the best voices I’ve heard and that’s no exaggeration! I’ve been fortunate to work with this young man and see him live on several occasions. I’ll never forget the  first time we met at a Boombox Essex Live Lounge, a local open mic in Billericay, Essex. He declared that he didn’t feel he deserved to be among the people there because he didn’t feel he was talented enough, he then got on stage and performed and his voice shocked me to the core, I haven’t felt the same excitement about an unsigned artist in a long time.

He had the pleasure of supporting famous 80’s band “odyssey” last year and since then he has been flying and building up his reputation on the local music scene. Honestly, you NEED to check this kid out, you won’t be disappointed!

Chase’s social media:





4) Asylums


I’ve featured Asylums on this blog before, reviewing their latest single “Missing Persons”. I must say I’m surprised I haven’t heard of these guys before! They’re music brings back the days of upbeat energetic indie rock but definitely fits perfectly within the mix of the current standards of popular music.

They’ve just recently finished a UK tour with “Ash” and are currently working on their album which they plan to release off of their own record label “Cool Thing Records”, this band are certainly one to watch this year, they’ve got a huge future ahead of them!

Also look out for the music video to “Missing Persons” being aired on “Sunday Brunch” on Channel four this weekend!

Check out my review of “Missing Persons” here!!

Asylums social media:

Cool Thing Records:




3) Charley Monroe


Charley Monroe is a 19 year old singer songwriter from Ashford, Kent. She headlined London Pride in 2015 and has been gaining lots of attention from Industry specialists such as publisher “Notting Hill Music”. Currently working on her first original track, Charley is taking the UK music industry by storm. I can personally vouch for her talents since I had the pleasure of working with her as her Pianist at a Notting Hill Music networking event in November last year. Trust me, there are huge things coming for this girl! Make sure to remember her name, she’s certainly a star in the making!!

You can watch mine and Charley’s performance at the networking event HERE!!

Charley’s social media:




2) Tall Dark Friend


Tall Dark Friend (Jordan Gray) has got to be one of the most unique artists I’ve come across! Her stage presence is like none I’ve ever seen in my life, it’s truly infectious and mesmerising to watch. As a virtuoso Pianist she is able to make her Yamaha Tyros sing like a bird with little effort, this along with her outstanding vocal ability and range makes her one of my favourite indie artists of 2015/16.

Why she hasn’t been singed yet I will never know! Not that that’s stopped her from releasing her own music with several releases scattered across Itunes, her most recent one being her album “The Baffled King” (2015) She has been the recipient of several awards including Best Unique Act at the Essex Entertainment Awards 2015! Just take a moment to look through her astonishing catalog of music spanning several years! Also, make sure to come and see her live if you get the opportunity! You’ll be amazed, trust me!

Tall Dark Friend’s social media:



Download “The Baffled King”:

1) Holloway Road


And my top indie artist so far this year goes to HOLLOWAY ROAD! These guys are a UK Country Duo, I see them as the UK version of Florida Georgia Line, yes, they are THAT good! They write some of the catchiest songs I’ve heard and they’re voices work so well together, having seen these guys live quite a few times, I had to give them the top spot on this list!

People are making predictions that they will get signed up this year and I couldn’t agree more, you would be amazed at how two people can create something so great with two guitars and two voices, they also have releases around the web that you should definitely check out, their music always puts me in a brilliant mood, a mood so good that you’ll have to come and experience it yourself if it’s the last thing you do! Their self titled E.P. even made it into the Itunes top ten Country charts! If that doesn’t scream talent I don’t know what does!

I really hope these guys get picked up soon, they deserve it and are more than talented enough to perform along the stars of the Nashville Country scene!

Holloway Road’s social media:




Make sure you go and check out all of the artists on this list! They’re all great musicians and great people too!


Important lessons I have learnt as a young person in the Music industry

Important lessons I have learnt as a young person in the Music industry

Ask anyone within any branch of the Music industry and they will not hesitate to tell you how hard things can be, how harsh some critics are and how challenging it can be to keep on going despite countless rejections from countless people. The difficulty level is amplified ten fold when you are a young musician!

I’m only 17 years old and I have been performing and playing the Piano from a very young age, I started lessons from the age of 4 and was in my first band from the age of 9. For the majority of my career, I have been lucky enough to be guided and given amazing opportunities which has allowed me to gain a certain level of experience that some musicians my age lack, though this is no fault of their own.

However, there is no denying that I still face many challenges as a young musician which has caused me to learn many harsh but valuable lessons.

Not everyone will take you seriously

I’ve had this issue more times than I care to admit. You will always get the sorts of venues, mangers, producers etc, that will see your age as a reason to not really listen to what you have to say. This can be very demoralising, it actually used to affect me quite a lot when older people in the industry would talk down to me or flat out not listen because I wasn’t an “adult”. This being said, your age does NOT define your musical ability or level of professionalism and the way I see it is, the people that see your age as permission to be patronising and get on their high horse, simply are not worth your time, so just shake it off and move on.

You have to grow up VERY quickly

The Music industry along with the acting industry is probably one of if not the harshest industry to be a part of. I promise you now, critics and fellow musicians will show you some tough love every now and then. You will hear the occasional “You’re not good enough” and “give up”. I cannot stress this enough, it is imperative that you grow up fast and develop thick skin, especially if you want to get noticed by big industry professionals. They will not hold back, if they think that you’re rubbish or that you don’t sound as good as you should be sounding, they will be flat out honest about it and you’ll be expected to be able to deal with that in a professional manner, take the criticism on board and not cry about it.

Equally, you need to find a way to be able to dish this out too when the time comes. This won’t happen and you certainly won’t be experienced enough until you’ve been performing for quite some time. I know a lot of people that are too scared to be totally honest with their fellow musicians when giving out feedback, this isn’t necessarily an awful thing, but having the guts to be harsh does earn you a lot of respect. Many of my musical friends, especially vocalists and pianists, will come up to me and say “Gary, can you listen to this and be totally honest about it please?” and I will be TOTALLY honest.

Here’s an example: a singer I know posted a cover of Beyonce’s “Listen”, now this girl is insanely talented! BUT on this particular occasion when asking me to critique the cover, she was unwell and therefore not at the top of her game. Because of this, I said “It’s either too high for your voice or you’re not well enough to sing that song at the moment, take it down”. She did find this quite degrading at the time which wasn’t my intention, but later on down the line, she thanked me for my honesty, saying it made her a better and tougher artist. To this day, she comes to me for critique on her performances, thankfully, I’ve never had to be negative ever again as they have all been flawless.

Being able to deal with taking and giving brute honesty has developed me and matured me beyond my years as a musician, this has allowed me to become respected among my older and more experienced peers as someone of high standard.

You do improve with age!

I can confirm that the rumours about puberty and improvement are in fact true! Don’t get your hopes up, it’s your musical ability I’m referring to, not your looks, sorry kiddo!

Anyway! I started singing when I was around 11-12 years old, this was the pre-pubescent Gary and believe me, it wasn’t pretty (still isn’t on some fronts but can’t have it all eh? ) I had one of the whiniest, most irritating singing voices on the planet and it would actually annoy ME as well as everybody else! Thankfully, once I’d hit puberty my vocals improved drastically. I found it easier to sing, my voice was smoother, it had a much nicer tone to it and it also allowed me to find the musical style that my voice was suited to! To my happiness, and to some others’ surprise, my voice suited songs in the Jazz and Blues genre, this is the style I tend to gravitate towards today, although through practise, I’ve been able to develop my voice for different styles.

If you’re one of those vocalists that are struggling and feel that you’re voice just isn’t “working”, my advice to you is to be patient, once you hit puberty and grow up, things will begin to change and more doors will open for your voice.

Make sure to act your age when you can!

I’ll put money on the fact that you’ve been told to “act your age” many a time by your parents when you’re behaving like a child, right? well guess what? you need to act your age in Music too! This is just as important as “growing up”.

What I mean by this is, have fun! Go out with your friends and do the sorts of things that people your age would do! It’s great and very beneficial to switch off every once in a while, because us young musicians have to act like an adult when we are gigging, touring, rehearsing and doing what all the grown ups do, we sometimes neglect our inner child/teenager. This can be very bad for your health, it’s actually very draining on the brain to constantly allow yourself to act seriously all the time! Not to mention that your friends will miss you when you’re out there gigging on the weekends whilst they’re still in bed at mid-day! Take some time to go and hang out and catch up with your friends, you’ll be able to relax that way and have a laugh with the people closest to you, you’ll also have more fun and memorable experiences to write about for your music too!


That’s all for this post folks, I know it’s rather long winded but I hope you’ve enjoyed it regardless! Until next time, happy gigging!

How to minimise or even completely stop stage fright

How to minimise or even completely stop stage fright

Stage fright is one of the most common barriers musicians and other performers face. I have gone through phases of stage fright on many occasions, the most recent one being at the Essex Entertainment Awards 2015 when I was performing in front of 700 people. I didn’t get it awfully, but when I was backstage I was sweating on my hands quite profusely and also struggling to breathe at times. However, I managed to perform and it went very well, this is because deep down I knew I was in control as soon as my hands touched the keys.

Some of you reading this will be new to performances, therefore stage fright affects you quite badly. In this article I am going to provide you with my top tips to combatting the performer’s worst enemy.

1. Take some deep  breaths

I know this is one of the most cliche things to say, and I know that you’re probably sick of hearing this same old line, but this does work. Just take five minutes to compose yourself before you go on stage. The performance will be fine!

2. Practise performing in front of friends and family

If you’re comfortable with doing this, it is probably one of the easiest ways to get used to performing in front of an audience. This is how I started out, from a very young age I would put on small shows at various family parties and it really did help build my confidence up as a performer. If you don’t want to perform in front of family, maybe perform in front of some close friends.

3. Invent a pre performance ritual that relaxes you

There are so many famous musicians that have crazy pre-gig rituals, it may sound silly but it really is not that uncommon. I have one too, I must have at least one cup of tea before going on stage, I also have to stretch my fingers and wrists since I’m a pianist. Selena Gomez likes to drink Olive Oil, John Legend eats Chicken and Keith Richards eats Sheppards Pie. These sound really strange I know but take it from someone who knows, this genuinely really helps calm the nerves!

4. Have an experienced performer accompany you on stage

If your first performance is at an open mic night of some kind, or you are a singer and can’t play an instrument, have an instrumentalist like a pianist or guitarist accompany you. This will not only look better than using a plain old backing track like everybody else, but it will also increase your confidence on stage because you won’t be alone.

I have worked with a lot of amazing singers who are under confident and the first thing I do for their first performance is offer to accompany them on Piano so that they’re up there with somebody else.

If you’re going to do this, I would definitely advise recruiting a musician with a good deal of performance experience. This is because you can be sure that they will not get too nervous and are able to help you and comfort you if you get too nervous, you certainly don’t want to be having to worry about them whilst you’re petrified yourself already!


I cannot stress this enough! Live performances should be enjoyable both for the performer AND the audience, it’s key that you have fun with your performance and that you have a good time. If you don’t at least look like you’re enjoying yourself, the audience 100% will not enjoy your performance and that is definitely something you don’t want.

I know enjoying yourself is difficult when you are nervous whilst on stage, but if you follow all of the above steps, I’m confident that you’re stage fright will become easier to manage or even completely disappear.

I’ve been performing for a long time and I do still get nervous when I have a big gig like the one I mentioned. That being said, having some nerves is always a good thing and you’re bound to be a little nervous when getting on stage to perform in front of people no matter how many years you’ve been in the business!

The key to it all is learning how not to let it show!




Review: Asylums – Missing Persons

Review: Asylums – Missing Persons

Asylums are a four piece Indie Rock band from the seaside town of Southend-On-Sea. They have been getting quite a big reputation over the last year or two with the launch of their indie label “Cool Thing Records” and their DIY approach to music.

They are currently working on an album which is bound to have enough energy to keep Southend and beyond alight for a long time. Their most recent release “Missing Persons” really captures the fun and energetic side to the band whilst delivering catchy and punchy melodical and lyrical hooks all the way through.

Ever since hearing this track I’ve been stuck on it! In my eyes, it’s a beautiful mixture of chaos and musical genius, everything was clearly worked on day and night to get that near perfect sound, its not completely perfect, but that’s what Asylums are about and Missing Persons does a brilliant job of capturing this idea within a 4 minute track.

The music video compliments the track perfectly. Shot at what I believe to be “Kids Kingdom” in Southend, Mike, Luke, Jazz and Henry don’t hesitate to release their inner child with frotman, Luke hanging upside down above a ball pit at one point in the video! Although if you’re scared of clowns, I’d skip the first few seconds!

From a musicians perspective, the one thing that really pulled me into the track was the simplicity of it. A simple melodic hook and chord sequence with simple yet brilliant lyrics layered on top, it’s what music should be about and I really think the lads of Asylums have definitely got a huge future ahead of them in this industry, and they’ve carved their sound and path off of their own back since the start, that commands and deserves respect in my book. Well done boys.

You can listen to “Missing Persons” for yourselves here:

My Musical Goals For 2016 And Why Its Important To Set Your Own!


Happy New Year everyone! Yes, I know it’s a tad late but I can only apologise and promise to be more prompt next year. Now the pleasentries are out of the way, I can get to my point.

What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you think of new year? For most people its the dreaded new years resolutions and how they’re going to yet again, give up with them after a few days. My new years resolution for many a year was to learn to sight read, being a Pianist, this skill is important, like many, I “gave up” after a few weeks of trying, sometimes I wouldn’t even try. Trust me, it’s a running family joke around the dinner table that generally starts with me declaring that I’m yet again going to sight read and my parents and siblings yet again saying “Yeah right, Gary”.

This year, I’ve decided to go about things differently. Instead of a resolution, I’m setting myself goals that are realistic and achievable. Not only are they that, they are focused solely on my business/ music career. Those goals are:

  • To have a minimum of 10 clients on my books
  • To get at least one of my own written songs recorded and released
  • To get at least 400 Facebook page likes
  • Get some solid work as a studio session musician
  • To tour the U.K with a band at least once

Now, to some, those goals might seem small or unchallenging, but for me, they are perfect. They are perfect because they are relative to me and my business. I know ten clients does not seem like that many but currently I only have 2 recurring clients and I’ve had about 4 one off clients in 2015, now this is brilliant considering I’ve only been putting myself out there professionally for just over a year. 2015 was definitely the year everything started to fall into place and it was the year I could say with confidence that I did have a successful business as a freelance musician and composer, that felt great, trust me.

The overall aim for 2016 is to go bigger and better than 2015, work with more amazing people, earn more money and find new ways to advance my business and with the idea of setting goals, I believe it is possible. This is because I now have a clear idea of what I want, now I need to come up with a solid strategy on how to get it.

Having stated my musical goals for 2016, I am now going to explain the importance of setting your own and why it is 10x more effective than the standard resolutions practice.

1. You’re more likely to work towards them

If you take the time and effort to really think about the things that you want to achieve within your musical career and the benefits and rewards you will reap from achieving them, you are a LOT more likely to focus on getting to the end result!

2. A broken down list sounds a lot more appealing than one big challenge

I can tell you that just from writing my goals down on my phone, it looks a hell of a lot more aesthetically pleasing than having the daunting idea of a mammoth task ahead of me. Calling them “goals” helps too, there isn’t a stigma attached to that word

3. Having a small idea of what you want is better than having none whatsoever!

I’ll put money on the idea that some people reading this post just go around doing things that they think will help their career and hoping for the best? Now I am NOT having a dig at these people because up until last year, I was one of them! I really didn’t have the first idea about what I was doing with my music, I’d just left a band that I’d been in since the age of 9 (2012) and it was my first time solo, it was a shock to the system and no prizes for guessing how many gigs I got, yep, ZERO.

Until I’d left Ten Point Too (the band) I’d had every gig and every opportunity sorted for me, all I had to do was show up and play. Now this was great for a young keys player, having adults arrange everything for me. But once I’d left the band and went solo, things started going wrong, sure my parents would get me a few performances here and there but they weren’t really proper gigs, they were open mic nights mainly.

It was only towards the start of 2015 that I really started to get my act together after two years of wanting to do music but not going the right way about it!

4. Seeing is believing!

This is probably one of the most famous quotes in the world, and it’s more than true! If you write your goals down in a notepad, on your phone, on your laptop,wherever, you are more likely to want to work for them and you’ll believe you can do it more! Not to mention there’s nothing more satisfying than ticking things off, it gives a real sense of achievement, for me anyway!

That’s it for today people, I will leave you with this:

Goals are achievable and key to a successful and sustainable career in the music industry. Make sure to set goals realistic to YOU, otherwise it’s pointless, don’t set a goal to headline the O2 arena just yet, baby steps.

Thanks for reading guys and Happy New Year!! (see, I said it twice, you can’t complain now)

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Twitter: @garyrcunningham


Instagram: @garyrcunningham

Snapchat : Musickid754