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Freedom and Flight – New Album Coming Soon…

I’m happy to announce that the album is done… almost!

The last couple of weeks I have been sorting out final small but important bits and pieces (such as artwork) – and once these are sorted, I can finally announce a release date.

Talking of artwork, the very talented Jonathan Bailey is kindly allowing me to use one of his photographs for the album cover – if you’d like to check out his work (which is fab), his website is here: www.jonathanbaileyphoto.com.

The process of recording, mixing, getting the album mastered and ready for release has been in turns an enjoyable, creative, frustrating and exciting experience. I’ve learnt a lot from it, am proud of how it’s turned out and am looking forward to releasing it out into the wild, so to speak.

Freedom and Flight will be available in various places as a physical CD and as a download – exactly where is to be confirmed, but I will let you know as soon as the release date is finalised. Watch this space!

January Update

Ok, so a couple of things:

later-logo2_180x135

Firstly, I am playing at Riffs Bar this Saturday (26th) as part of their definitely-not-stolen-off-Jools-Holland Later with Riff event. Should be a great evening – there’s going to be sets from Josie and The Outlaw, the fab Ethemia, acoustic blues from Ian O’Regan and more – all hosted by Mr Riff himself, Andy Pett.

Secondly, a quick thank you to Malcolm and Andy for having me on The Late Gig on Swindon 105.5 on Sunday. Had a lovely chat with the guys and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Tune in next week for a session from The Black Feathers, who are both lovely and brilliant.

And finally, the album is starting to come together though there is a lot more to do. I might even post a taster up here soon…

Happy Christmas One and All

It’s that time of year again, and I’d just like to say merry Christmas, and to thank you all for your support, both musically and otherwise through the year.

This year has been one of a great deal of change for me personally, and I hope that this will continue to be a positive thing in my life through 2013. A massive thank you to family and friends who have helped and supported me – I am very lucky to have you.

So, plans for next year: Hopefully I shall have the recording stage of the album complete in the near future, so, depending how long it will take to get the post-production malarky and artwork sorted, a release date is on the cards for early next year.

After that, I hope to get out there and play as much as possible, so keep an eye out for live dates.

So thank you again to everyone who has come to gigs, listened to the music or supported in a myriad of other ways. You rock.

Merry Christmas, and best wishes to everyone for the year ahead.

A Wee Update from the Studio

My little recording den

I shall henceforth refer to this as my ‘recording den’.

This is my studio. Yes, it is a mess – but it’s my mess. I’ve never been able to do any form of work without making a muddle, so it kind of shows that I’m being productive (that is my excuse and I’m sticking to it).

In case you’re wondering, the blanket is to damp down reflections from the wall behind me when I am doing vocal takes. It also has the added benefit of making me feel like I’m tucked away in a little den. Which is nice.

Microphone

My trusty Rode NT1A

The desk is a Yamaha N12, which connects to my computer via Firewire and it may be the best thing I have ever bought.

Yamaha N12

The mixer beast

A quick report, then – I’ve been working on a brand new song, and have piano and vocals done for both that and another track. I’m hoping to add some guitar to both those songs at some point this week, but I’ve got heaps more to do getting some older songs down too…

So there we go; progress is being made slowly but surely, and I’m very happy to be holed up in my little cosy den for a while longer.

Here’s the Latest…

I appreciate that I haven’t posted much news on this site since I updated it to the new system, but I am hoping that will change in the coming months as my excuse has always been time. Or rather a lack of.

This excuse is no longer a valid one, as I have made a change in my life to give time to what I really want to be concentrating on. Which is another way of saying that I quit my day-job.

I am slowly starting to get the ball rolling on a few things, but it may take a little while for the momentum to get going and for me to get my head around my new situation.

These are exciting times; lets see where they take me.

Treefest and other news

Ells at Treefest 2012

Ells at Treefest 2012 (Image credit: Laura Pitcher)

Right – first off a message from me in my 4014 founder role: to everyone who was involved in TreeFest 2012 at Westonbirt Arboretum; thank you! I have said this before and I’ll say it again – our little team of volunteers were brilliant, thank you all so much for your help. Thank you to the musicians who played some fabulous sets for us and to Drew and Mary at MEMM for the sound. And special thanks to hubby Jon for all his hard work in the lead up and as our ‘go to’ guy at the event. You all did the 4014 Project and yourselves proud.

One last thank you – cheers to everyone who came to listen to the music over the weekend – we were very pleased with how the line-up came together and we hope you enjoyed it too!

Pics from Treefest should be available soon – keep an eye on the 4014 Project Treefest Page for updates!

So, back with my musiciany hat on: Check out the line-up for the Running Horse Acoustic Sessions in the Garden – an all day event showcasing some brilliant local musicians including Alice Offley, Ali Finneran, The Bateleurs and The Black Feathers (and me! Can’t vouch for my own brilliance mind, heh!). Taking place on the 22nd of September, it should be a fab day so get yourselves along there! Details on the Facebook Event Page here.

That’s all for now! Ells x

Afternoon of Music

Just a quick reminder that I’ll be playing at the Afternoon of Music in Malmesbury tomorrow. (That’d be the 18th August, just in case you’re looking at this from the future!)

The event is taking place in Cuckingstool Mead (the field bit opposite the Rose and Crown – no, I didn’t know it had a name either…), and is shaping up to be a fantastic showcase of old and new local acts.

And it’s only £5 for adults and £3 for kids – so no complaints about value for money, then!

More info over at the Malmesbury Carnival website: Carnival Event Page

Cheers me dears, I’ll see you there!

Repost – Ells’ Helpful Guide To Music Things Part 4: Surviving Your First Open Mic

Ok, this is a re-post from my personal blog and also a bit of a re-hash of a piece I did for the 4014 Radio show back in the day. I’m reposting it to hopefully reach a few different people, and seeing as it’s nearly time for our annual 4014 Project Carnival Open Mic, I thought now is a relevant time to go over the info again.

This site is more about my solo stuff and exploits etc., so I won’t be doing too many of these, I promise!

So, it’s your first Open Mic – that’s great! I hope you’re excited, but I expect that you’re pretty nervous too. Here’s my tips for making the most of your Open Mic experience:

  • Preparation – Practice, practice and then practice some more. Remember that you will be nervous on the night, and that this might make your performance a little less than perfect. The better you know your songs or pieces the better you’ll feel.

    Open Mics are a great opportunity to improve your stage presence and performance skills – the best way to get more confident on stage is to get on stage. They generally have a supportive and encouraging atmosphere too.

  • DO IT – If it’s your first time performing in front of a crowd, it takes guts to actually get up on the stage. Every musician out there will tell you that it’s worth it though.
  • Make Yourself known – There will probably be a slightly stressed looking somebody around with a list: that’s the person you need. Let them know that you want to play. I would try to get there early(ish – you don’t want to hang around tooo long), so that you’re guaranteed a place.
  • Are we sitting comfortably? – Position yourself so that you can comfortably sing into the mic. If you  need to look at the neck of your guitar or the keys of the piano (or whatever instrument you play), move the mic/mic stand so you can do so without singing ‘off mic’. Moving things about is not a crime – remember, the sound person wants you to sound your best, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

    As a side note, it’s a very good idea to practice with a mic if you can – it’ll help you get a good idea of the best placement for you.
  • Annnd relax….– Before you start your performance, take a deep breath and a second to try to relax. Your adrenaline level will probably be quite high, so it’s easy to rush in and play too fast.
  • Look at the audience… – Looking at the audience will make you seem more confident, regardless of how you’re feeling inside. If that freaks you out or puts you off, try looking over the audience. You don’t have to do it all the time, but if you don’t look up at all, you won’t make as strong a connection with your listeners.
  • Ignore the Chatter – There probably will be some people in the audience who talk. If you can, just try to ignore them. There are people who are listening, and they want you to do well.
  • Don’t worry if you make a mistake – It’s live music – nobody expects it to be perfect. All musicians have messed up on stage. If you can’t keep going, try to pick up from near where you left off. And if you’re bold and make a joke of it, then I bet you’ll get an even bigger cheer at the end of the song.
  • And finally – enjoy!Performing music in front of people is nerve-wracking, yes. But it’s also a great feeling, and once you start it’s hard to stop!

I hope you enjoy your first Open Mic experience – but even if things don’t go quite to plan, remember that it takes time to build your confidence and the more you get up on stage and play, the easier it will become.

The nerves may never leave you completely (I certainly still get nervous, and I’ve been at this for years now), but it’s all part of the experience, and the buzz after a great performance is pretty immense.

Why not share your experiences in the comments? I love hearing from you – and maybe I’ll even see a few of you at an Open Mic near by.

Progress and Up-coming Dates

I am feeling pretty positive at the moment. The album that I have been working on for quite some time now is moving forward, I have been writing new songs, and I’ve got a few things lined up in the calendar.

So, here are some dates for the diary:

14th August: 4014 Malmesbury Carnival Open Mic: Rose and Crown, Malmesbury High Street – I’ll be kicking off the proceedings and will be your host for the evening at the Rosie from 8ish.

18th August: An Afternoon of Music: Cuckingstool Mead, Malmesbury – Music starts at 3pm, and there’s a great selection of local acts to take you through to the evening (£5 entry for adults, £3 for children, under 5s free).

24th-27th August: TreeFest: Westonbirt Arboretum: I’ll be playing on Sunday, but will be at the festival all weekend with my especially-festive-festival-organiser-hat on. I reckon we have a fantastic line-up, um, lined up, so don’t miss out! More details on the 4014 Project website.

So, are we all in a state of excitement yet? I know I am!