The Malaise of the Modern-Day Musician

The Malaise of the Modern-Day Musician


The music industry is a platform for the ambitious and creative.  With that comes a harsh realisation: many will not have long careers; others will take longer to find success.  In a scene where too many burn out (rather than simply fade away), it is understandable (from a musician’s standpoint) to have niggling doubts.  The music industry promulgates too many reality-star-quick-buck-no-talent-fly-by-night-clowns: true success/respect often arrives later (age-wise).  With so many of my musician friends disaffected- frustrated by their ‘lack of progress’- I have a little story to tell…


ONE of the biggest joys- and tantamount regrets- is witnessing the plight (of my musician friends).

It is an industry (music) I will be entering soon (with trembling feet and an optimistic heart); getting a band together- and laying down my ‘impressions’ for the world.  I am very excited (about what I can achieve) and feel sure I can overcome some inner-fears- stage fright, nerves; public expectation etc.   When I look around social media (Facebook and Twitter et al.) one thing always strikes me: the struggles (the modern musician faces) to get recognition.  We all have our ideals of life: what we want to achieve; where we want to be (and by what age).  The truth of the matter is this: our expectations are always a little overzealous.  The musicians I know are universally exceptional: each offer something new and genuinely original.  The fact that (the ones who feel short-sold) are not ‘huge stars’ is not a reflection on themselves- their work ethic or talent- more a (hard fact) of consumer culture/the current scene.  When speaking (online) to various musical contacts, they always tell me the same thing: (they) are deflated by the lack of attention (they have received).  I can understand this malaise: true talent deserves reward and acclaim.

I am in the same boat myself: I wanted to be a lot further along (in my life) than I am now- I have not given up on any of it.  It is disheartening to see some lovely people sound so down: stuck in a rut and questioning of their life’s ambitions.  To all those (who have these fears and resemblances), I would say this: keep holding on; do not give up.  It sounds like a trite bromide; yet it is a valid point: those that stick at it will get their just-rewards.  The fact that (the musician in question) feels so under-sold and under-appreciated shows how much they want it (success) – that is the type of passion and dedication that will see them succeed.  Before I expand upon this point- and offer some personal insight- there is something worth mentioning: the cost of being a musician.

From (recently) chatting with a musician friend, I know the financial strains involved in music- an average (no-thrill, holds- barred) song can cost between £200-£300 to get produced.  Considering the average human earns practically sod-all (my business studies background coming into play here!), the tableau (and parable) of the recording process is a fiscal nightmare: how many of us have that sort of money to throw around?  When you look at an E.P. (or an album), the cost runs into four (or five) figures- unless you are raking in some serious gig money- you are not going to accrue a massive stream of revenue.  Social media- and music-streaming websites- make it easier for Joe Public to get tunes for free- adding an extra arrow into the chest of the musician.  Day jobs and savings are often used (to finance musical endeavours); factor out rent, food etc., and the reality is: how realistic is a career in music?  I am immensely proud of ALL my music ‘friends’- the people who have given me so much pleasure and inspiration.  Before I wrap up; offer some solace and (I would hope) ‘pep’- like an ebullient cheerleader chanting for a U.S. football team- I shall get a ‘bit personal’…

Among my (multitudinous) business ideas- I shall touch more on this anon- is (trying to) formulate something for the musician: a fundraising site- like your Kickstarter-s and so forth- that makes it even easier to raise ‘serious’ funds.  The aforementioned site works on the principle of benevolence and mass co-operation: getting the music-buying public to donate to a musician/music project- that can often be a stumbling block.  Having tried (somewhat unsuccessfully) to get charity initiatives and fundraisers off the ground, I know for where I cometh: most people want their music free; few will spend their cash on something like a Kickstarter campaign.  It may be an over-generalisation, but there is some truth: the point of the idea (my alternate slant) would eradicate that side of things- it is in the ‘sketchy/infantile’ stage of development, but I am hoping for an ‘Archimedes moment’ (I shall keep you abreast if/when I get something concrete).  I digress, of course; but the point to my thesis is this: money is the major stumbling block (when it comes to furthering a music career) rather than a lack of talent.  This year I am getting my backside into gear; getting some music ‘done’: turning apathy into ‘hell-to-the-effing-yeah!’  In addition to recruiting various band members, I am looking at a fully fledged E.P.; making a move to London; getting my music out there- I will be exploiting sites like Kickstarter as much as possible.  On that point: I can understand certain reticence- people feel if they use it- and rely on crowd-funding, they are employing some dishonesty; maybe not being as independent as they would hope.  Bringing the public into your musical ideas- from the ground-level- is a great way to ensure long-term support- and detract from the disposable fair-weather fans.

I have quite an ambitious mind: my ‘dreams’ are quite extensive.  In addition to business ideas (music plans and the like), I have heady hopes and aspirations- they including moving to the U.S. for a few months.  Music is- and always will be- right at the top of my ‘to-do list’: few people on earth lionise music as much as I; have that intense hunger and desire (to want to be a part of it all).   Like everyone else, I set the bar high: have a timescale and plan of action; want to be big news very soon.  I feel like many of us assume we have to ‘get everything done’ by a certain age: most of the people reading this blog (and my musician friends) are in their 20s and 30s!  Some professions are a ‘young man’s game’- football, prostitution, child actor, trained assassin etc. – but most aren’t.  Music is an industry that provides a mouth-piece to the middle-aged and old alike (legends like Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney are still going strong).  I am worried about (how I am going to finance) most of my music: one of my songs will take at least £5,000 to produce- what with the studio time; crew of musicians etc.  Not wanting to descend into poverty (or sell my organs), I do wonder where the finances will emanate from: how will I ever afford a music career?  Small steps seem to be the answer: being modest at first and taking things a day at a time.  I understand that ‘your average musician’ does not rake in a lot from their songs- gigs and such only pay so much- so we all have to economise and scale-back to begin.  Ever since the ‘90s (when I was but a slip of thing) I have wanted to hear my songs in the ears of others: it is that realisation that subjugates petty financial concerns.    It is axiomatic to say the music world is over-populated: it seems every week several thousands new bands emerge; all ‘the next-big-thing.’  Making your voice hear (and getting a sturdy foothold) can be a source of anxiety and self-doubt.  Let me leave you with this…

Age and money are twin heartbeats that get slower (the longer they keep beating): the former merely a number; the latter a capricious and unyielding pain in the arse (we never seem to have enough money no matter how hard we work).  Aphorisms aside, my true-cum-basic diatribe should offer some crumbs (of guidance): success and appreciation come to those who keep at it.  It is a hard mistress, music: you slog and work; stardom can seem like a far-off beacon.  Before I sign off- and drill down to the bedrock of my blog- I will throw in some case studies…

Musicians like Ed Sheeran- not a huge fan of the music; fan of the man himself- arrived from a ‘humble’ and fraught background: nary a few years ago he was sofa-surfing and busking to make a living.  With a few pence in his pocket- and rejection calls ringing in his ears- he has moulded himself into one of the U.K.’s most exciting musical prospects.  Without getting fixated around short-term success; pacing his ambitions, Sheeran has bloomed into (one of the world’s) biggest stars- he is not a one-off by any means.  I know too many people who have lots of money; they are privileged and scarcely have to struggle- I know a few online friends who are in this position.  Money, comfort and luxury will come (later in life): the early years will always throw up their share of fiduciary woes and roadblocks.  Legendary artists like The Beatles and Bob Dylan rose from modest- that is to say, hard- backgrounds.  Having had to work themselves raw, they had no easy ride: their determination and talent got them where they are.  I know people get fixated with age: they assume that unless they have ‘cracked it’ by their 20s, then they will never succeed.  Bullshit.  I am 31, and have not even recorded a note- your most inspired days and mature movements happen in your 30s/40s etc.  The songs I was writing when I was in my 20s pale (by comparison to what I am recording now).  The world wants music that is of the finest order: it does not matter if you are creeping towards middle-age; so long as your music is good, you will get the support.  Although the young generation have limited attention-spans- and have shockingly-poor knowledge of ‘older’ music- they have enough savvy to realise a good thing.  So many music careers can be over in a blink, there should be no rush to ‘make it’- patience and limitations can be a good thing.  An historical sweep of the legendary music throws up its own maxim: the best there have ever been (took) years to become legends.  It may not be a world-beating saying, but you get the point: it will happen!  Bryan Cranston- Walter White from Breaking Bad- began his life on U.S. soaps: how many U.K. soap stars can you see being in his position (where he is now)?  It may sound snobbish, but few of our soap regulars can ascend to his heights.  The point is, that he- one of the world’s best actors- began life amidst low expectations.  His career started slowly; he began to get bigger parts- dramas and T.V. shows started to form on his C.V.  From there- doubting his ambitions; questioning his motives- he landed a part (as Hal) on (the criminally under-watched) comedy Malcolm in the Middle (playing a neurotic and happy-go-lucky dad to a clan of hellacious sons.  It was not until his 50s that Cranston scored the role of a lifetime: that of Walter White in Breaking Bad.  Aside from being one of the greatest acting shifts in history- Cranston played a lovable and put-upon man in Malcolm in the Middle; a drug-dealing cancer sufferer in Breaking’- it proved how patience, is indeed, a virtue.  Aside from Cranston’s biblical talent- few actors are as funny and traumatic as him- his biggest role has arrived in the middle of his life (well, we hope at least).  Society is too fixated with youth and (making it) young: the finest music; the best acting- that is (in this day and age) coming from wiser (and more mature shoulders).  Keen not to bore (to the point of rigor mortis), let me conclude:

The last year has seen (me suffering) some pretty f*cked-up things come my way.  In addition to being involved in a car crash, I have had a bad ‘depression year’- shall keep those details clandestine.  Having lost a couple of (good online) friends (under auspicious and ridiculous circumstances) – which has caused immeasurable stress and sadness, I have experienced personal ‘loss’- the death of those close to me.  In spite of all of this, I have never been more optimistic about music: that is thanks to those who provide the music.  From pink (now purple) haired Yorkshire stunners; to Surrey-based singers- I have revelled in the audible joy (they provide).  Over the past couple of months, I have spoken to three separate musicians who have said the same thing: they feel depressed because they are (not as far along in their career) as they had hoped.  Despite the fact that all three are insanely talented, I get what they are saying: we all (that write music) want to be wowing festivals; touring the globe- all whilst we still have energy in our bodies.  The realisations are these: a): those desires will be realised (trust me they will and b): stardom is the accumulation of gig tickets and magazine interviews.  Few will realise (reading this; they who make music) just what an affect they are having.  Set aside- for now- ideations of arena tours and record deals, and consider this: do you realise just what an affect your music has?  If you manage to influence and compel a single human, you have already made an impact: every musician I have review has done just that (and inspired me).  Every album I have heard; every song I have dissected- every new YouTube video that arrives- makes me a more confident songwriter- in words of Sam Smith: “I know I’m not the only one.”  It is the small things- the individual songs and performances- that make a big difference.  I know many will sit there and say: “It’s easy for you sitting there; try being us!”  Fair point, but I will offer this: you will all (those that want it) get success before you know it.  Whether it a spot on Later… (With Jools Holland) or a modest tour of the U.K., depends upon your talent and resolve.

The point of the blog- aside from trying to nullify the haunting doubts of some fine musicians- was to offer comfort and assurance.  Everyone I have reviewed- from Jen Armstrong through to Allusondrugs- will see their standards/hopes realised.  They may not know it (same applies to everyone else) but they have had a HUGE effect on me; they have inspired countless people- they have brought smiles to endless faces.  They are young, they are green (they- to paraphrase Supergrass- “keep teeth nice and clean”) – they should feel fantastic (more than merely Alright).  As for the future: give it time (that is, after all, what the future consists)- and know this: you are doing incredibly well.  Whether it takes a few more years- or you are hitting your prime in your 40s- it is worth sticking around.  Do not give up on music; do not question your career choice: NEVER doubt your talent and ability.  The reason I am optimistic (about music) and hell, even still breathing (no hyperbole needed) is because of the fantastic new music out there- saving someone’s life outranks sharing the bill with London Grammar (it may not to some, but it should).  As for those things that we (in the music-making sphere want): tours, radio interviews; to nestle alongside our heroes- that will all come along (I am not saying it to balm wounds and diminish ‘silly’ doubts).  Stick on a good tune; write a catchy song, and relax: you are doing marvellously.  In years to come- when gig stipends increase and hit singles are seducing the airwaves- all of the anxieties and fears will seem (almost churlish).  I know how you feel; I know how scary it is: we’re all in it together (and I cannot overstate how proud to know all you fine musicians).  Hell people, if the likes of me- procrastinator extraordinaire– are looking ahead (with high hopes), then you will all be fine!  Stay strong, keep playing, and (when next year arrives); keep your diaries well clear…

BECAUSE they will be very busy indeed.

The Thirty Best New Music (Acts) for 2015: ‘The Final Ten’

The Thirty Best New Music (Acts) for 2015:

‘The Final Ten’


The Verideals:

Jade Barnett and Mat Jones (make up The Verideals).  An act with immense potential, the last year has seen them develop and evolve.  Having reviewing the group (under their former name Shades of Jade), the way they have adapted is impressive- a musical proposition with a clear future.  Clear chemistry and strong songwriter is backed by Barnett’s inimitable voice- an act that are sure to rise from the underground.

Boom Tales (Ft. Eloise Lovell Anderson)

One of my favourite acts from 2014, the unique and unforgettable sounds (from Boom Tales) is a rarity indeed.  When Eloise Lovell Anderson lends her vocals to the mix, that sense of beauty and ethereal entrance is augmented.  Whatever 2015 holds for them, it is clear they will continue to grow- reaching new fans and supporters.  As comfortable relaxed and serene- as enraptured and determined- the group are one of London’s finest.


Their front-man resembles Kurt Cobain: to be fair, their music has hints of Nirvana.  Allusondrugs are stronger than resemblances: catchy, anthemic and insanely hypnotic- the boys are destined for future festivals.  The north (and Yorkshire) has ample wonderful music: these lads rank amongst the very finest (from the county).  Once heard, they are near-impossible to forget.

The Moth Lantern:

Guided by the stunning songwriting o Dan Clark, the Lincolnshire band is one of the most underrated in the U.K.  Their album (Light Waves) shows just how strong they are: masters of melody, uplift and thought-provoking lines.  Having been backed by the likes of B.B.C. Radio 6, the four-piece will be climbing (new heights) throughout 2015.

Braver Than Fiction:

Mixing Indie-Folk, Blues and Alternative shades, the Sheffield band have received serious plaudits- include laudatory statements from many.  A phenomenal live band, it cannot be too long before Braver’ are making their way internationally: their sound is ready-made for the U.S.  I know the group is making plans for this year: make sure you are a part of them.


Few acts (successfully, at least) mix Hip-Hop and Rock/Metal.  Beastie Boys mastered it: since then, there have not been many followers.  Skillful lyricists; masterful musicians: their stunning songs are backed by raw and scintillating vocals.  Another band (like Allusondrugs) that has grit and panache: they are sure to be regular fixtures at some of this country’s most prestigious music festivals.

Dana McKeon:

Malta is a country that is growing in recognition- having produced the likes of Chess.  Dana McKeon is an exceptional talent: a skilled M.C./rapper; a prodigious artist and intuitive songwriter, she is sure to go far.  Critical praise has been flooding in; fans and supporters have flocked- this coming year is going to provide (her) much opportunity.  When I reviewed (her single) Street Art, I knew we had (an amazing artist) on our hands- see for yourselves…


The three members of CryBabyCry are a busy bunch- Rosie Doonan has been heard as Rosie and the Howling North and Cissie Redgwick; Jonny Firth has performed solo and as one half as Knuckle; Nici Todd has played with Rose and the Howling North (as has Firth).  The guys are clearly comfortable with each other: this familiarity comes through in their assured and stunning music.  A terrific live act, the Yorkshire crew are building the foundations- to a very prosperous future.

Second Hand Poet:

Few (male) solo artists have stuck in my mind (over the last few years): Second Hand Poet is an artist deserving of wide acclaim.  Haunting and introspective; uplifting and passionate: the young artist is not short of inspiration and direction.  Having performed around Surrey and London, Second Hand Poet has garnered appreciative sighs- his fan-base is growing.  In a scene filled with half-arsed solo acts, it refreshing to see someone who has true potential.

Ivy and Gold:

Drawing comparisons with the likes of London Grammar; Ivy and Gold are a stunning duo: one who will go far.  Mix alluring and powerful vocals; captivating and nuanced soundscapes; universal (yet personal) songs- they are a duo for the people.  The bond and affection (Rachel Wilkinson and Jamie Davies) share is evident: that simpatico comes through in their (glorious) music.  Last year was a good one for them- this year will be even better.  The market is begging (for an act like them): it is easy to see why.

The Thirty Best New Music (Acts) for 2015: ‘The Middle Ten’

 The Thirty Best New Music (Acts) for 2015:

‘The Middle Ten’


Annie Drury:

A young artist who has had her work played on (B.B.C.) Radio Two: the Yorkshire heroine is on a golden trajectory.  Under the tutelage (and management) of Cuckoo Records, 2015 is going to be a pivotal year: expect to see this rare talent coming (firmly into) the spotlight.  Modern music provides much competition and variation- there is something for everyone- so it is tough knowing who to back: Drury is an artist that should be a staple (of your record collection).

Little Sparrow:

When I reviewed her (Wishing Tree) album last year: I was blown away by the mesmeric vocals; stunningly evocative songs- the beauty that spilled from every note.  Hard-working, determined and passionate- Katie Ware is an artist that is sure to be making music (for many years to come).  Whether wowing festival throngs- or seducing intimate crowds- there is no getting away from the wonder (of her music).  I know how hard she (and her manager) works: it will not be long before Little Sparrow is a huge success.  Do not let her music pass you by.

Lisa Marini:

Charming and cheeky; vicarious and vibrant: Lisa Marini’s E.P. from the Bedroom Den is as colourful and alluring (as its cover).  Highlighting the sort of memorable songs (and stunning vocals) that makes careers- the only way is up (for Marini).  Buy her E.P.- and help fund her future creations- and experience an artist with a lot more to say; a special voice (and plenty of ambition)

Sarah Collins:

Having begun (her music life) covering sensational songs (in her own inimitable and stunning way); Sarah Collins has grown and burgeoned- she has assembled her own band; is getting airplay; embarking on tour dates.  Having gained fans and plaudits (throughout 2014), the scintillating singer has impetus and purpose: to bring her warmth, passion and power to the masses.  Seek out her (many) performances- and see what all the fuss is about.

Universal Thee:

A band with a stellar reputation: one of the U.K.’s finest rising acts.  Drawing influence from the likes of Pixies; the husband and wife-led group are a force to be reckoned with.  Boasting catchy hooks; insatiable melodies; quotable lyrics- these lot have ammunition in spades.  Few new bands are as assured and confident (as Universal Thee)- expect this to pay dividends as we progress through 2015.

Alison Levi:

I have always loved Miss. Levi’s cheek and charm; her humour and beauty; her wit and vitality: above all, it is her knee-trembling tones (that capture me most).  The stunning London-based artist is someone we should all keep an eye on.  With possible new releases and gigs afoot; plenty of fresh potential- we will all get to witness the young singer do her thing.   Follow Levi (on social media) to enjoy the witticisms, fun and adventure- and some bloody good music.

Nina Schofield:

Schofield has worked her socks off (over the last year)- playing gigs all around the country.  Her brand of Pop has managed to catch the ear of multiple radio stations, venues and critics.  An effortlessly talented songwriter, Schofield’s natural warmth and strength shine (throughout her music).  With new fans and support behind her: surely this year will see her become a household name.

Crystal Seagulls:

After a whirlwind 2014, the boys are embarking on fresh assaults: their music is ready-made for festival crowds and hungry music-lovers.  Anthemic and fist-pumping; subtle and tender, the band has a range and ability (few of their peers possess).  When a new album- or E.P.- drops, it will see the guys win over new supporters and patrons.  In a world of reality T.V. musicians and manufactured idols- this group is the kick in the teeth (that makes you smile).

Lydia Baylis:

We are pretty much spoiled for choice when it comes to female solo artists- few manage to resonate (and stick in the consciousness).  Baylis is that rarest of things: a musician that manages to tick all of the boxes.  Humble and intelligent; talented and beautiful; prolific and inspiring: her music crosses boundaries; unites fans of (multiple genres).  Check out (Lydia’s) SoundCloud channel- and witness some very impresses footsteps.  Few are more excited (than me) to hear new material: it is sure to be very special indeed.

The Bedroom Hour:

You may notice- that few of my recommendations- feature bands: this London clan is impossible to forget.  Containing essences of Elbow and Doves, the boys are in no shortage of wonder: their body of work is solid and remarkable.  With an album- and several releases- behind them, the group has amassed a dedicated fan-base.  Few bands are as primed for the big-time as The Bedroom Hour- their time as Reading and Leeds headliners cannot be far away.

The Thirty Best New Music (Acts) for 2015: ‘The First Ten’

 The Thirty Best New Music (Acts) for 2015:


‘The First Ten’


Jen Armstrong:

A woman who had made me reassess life; made me make some big changes- switch to vegetarianism, sign up as a blood and organ donor- and strive for better things.  She is going to be rocking the U.S. (for six months) very soon- and is an incredible talent to watch.  One of the most stunning musicians in the U.K., you would be foolish to pass her by.


From Malta to Surrey, to… who knows where?  Last year was a busy and promising one; her two previous E.P.s- Babygirl and Tuxedo- have shown what a songwriter she is.   We are less than a month in (to 2015) but the signs point to some big things: a new single is just the start of it.  Keep your eyes planted her way…

Marisa Rodriguez:

A young talent that works tirelessly (to promote her music).  One of the most diverse and impressive young songwriters around: her upcoming E.P. will be one of the most anticipated of 2015.  A stunning voice- and stunning artist- it will only be a matter of time (before Marisa) is a big name.

Elena Ramona:

In a scene that can be defined (by predictability and limits), Elena Ramona is a singer/songwriter who offers something fresh- a unique voice with a special talent.  Growing in stature and confidence; she is a stunning artist that will be making waves (and impressions) as the year unfolds (with a new E.P. mooted).


A charming and (hugely gifted) Yorkshire duo, these guys are an immense prospect.  Seemingly capable of owning any themes, style (or genre), their effortless and diverse songwriting is a joy to hear- their live performances have charmed and seduced many.  It is only a matter of time before the heartwarming twosome are festival mainstays.


Over 2014, I reviewed many amazing musicians: few more memorable than Gypsyfingers.  Their album Circus Life was a highlight for me: it demonstrated how naturally they (Luke Oldfield and Victoria Coghlan) unite.  Stunning vocals, entrancing songs; incredible compositions- a Folk duo with a massive future.

Ellene Masri:

Alluring and romantic; impassioned and empowering: Ellene Masri creates music for the masses.  Elements of Jazz and Pop fuse into songs which linger in the mind- topped with a voice that can buckle the knees.  Splitting her time between the U.S. and Europe, the young star is a continent-straddling artist with plenty to say: with many ears (more than) willing to listen (and adore).

The Updraft Imperative:

Christian-Rock magic from the Australian wonders.  If you love your music catchy, nuanced and inspiring: these are the guys for you.  Whether you are religious (or not) then they will appeal and entice: their songs are designed to make you smile, think and reflect- few other bands are capable of doing this.  Let us just hope they come and play (in the U.K.) as much as possible this year.

Chenai Music:

Strong and defiant; principled and thoughtful- an artist that has the power to inspire musicians and change minds.  One of the most naturally beautiful women (I have seen), her voice and artistry is a glistening treat: her music is some of the most original and innovative around.  With new releases (surely forthcoming) this year- check out a young artist with limitless potential.

Los and the Deadlines:

A band I am familiar with: their songs never fail to amaze me.  Hard-rocking and swaggering; cool and detached- these guys can pretty much do anything.  Their order composes multiple nationalities; their songs cover masses of ground- their consistency and prowess is staggering.  Going from strength-to-strength, the London group is one of our finest.

One Language… For All

“One Language… For All”

The Idea:

This year is going to be a lot more positive one.  Last year- and quite a few that proceeded it- were pretty dreadful.  In addition to (very soon) getting a new place, I am doing a few ‘good things’: donating blood regularly; getting a band together (starting the end of Feb.); ‘switching’ to vegetarianism (Feb. 14th); doing more for charity; starting Psycoacoustics- the business that includes a music bar/cafe, charity and record label.  In addition to all of this, I hope to do more for ‘me’.  Dating and love are big considerations: finding someone to be with; becoming less lonely.  They are all big plans and ideas, but I am making some (small progress)- if you have it all in writing, it is only a matter of DOING it.

This is often a stumbling-block for people.  If something is hard to: often many will not do it.  It is not just sheer effort (that deters ambition) but a great bugaboo: money.  Back in 2013, I posted an idea for a website- I called it Young Universe; considering its connotations and links to creationism, perhaps not a good choice.  The reason I want to start a music cafe; get a band together; do lots of charity work: it is not for my own fulfillment and self-worth- the idea is to try and help others.  There are lots of websites that do particular things: very few that are all-encompassing and all-inclusive.  Social media websites do little to ACTIVELY boost charities and fine endeavours- too vague and concerned with glibness.  Music websites- there are many of them- have their uses: there is not one that takes care of EVERY need/desire.  The same goes with other aspects of society/consumerism: travel websites, dating sites; search engines, film websites- the list goes on…

For that reason, I got stuck on a thought: why has nobody tried to do this (and create a website that takes care of everything).  I search the internet for hours for compartmentalised reasons: why is it not easy for me to find (information and needs) without searching for hours?  I love travel and the world; languages and charity concerns; comedy and animation- and of course, music.  I have to go to dozens of sites (to fulfill my whims, hungers and curiosity).  I am on THREE social media sites- because they ALL have limits and restrictions.  I visit at least half a dozen music sites (on a regular basis): YouTube and SoundCloud are my sites of choice.  I often wonder if it is the pure amount of TIME it will take (to put something so vast together).  Maybe the millions (who knows how many?) of pounds, perhaps?  These are considerations that can be negotiated and rationalised: perhaps the average human is not too bothered about wider issues- or at least not motivated enough?

I don’t know.  What I know is, that there are many out there who cannot experience the world- disabled, elderly, socially/financially disadvantaged etc.- whom want to see as much as possible; discover what is out there- without having to save up for it (or get out of the house).  Like all of my ‘big ideas’- music cafe; band; charity organisation- it may be a case of ambition over reality: I am not really a fan of scaling-down/small starts.  If anyone would/could have a read, I would love to know what they thought- if the site is realistic/something they would ‘visit’…


In addition to the previous details, the interface involve quite a lot of movement. Shooting stars will be animated as well as satellites, and the planets will revolve. The Moon will be represented. It will replace the Sun during the evening. You can click on it, and will give different ‘evening options’ including different music, bar recommendations etc.

There will be a number of galaxies represented in purple, the stars will alternately glow red, and a satellite will be shown. The satellite will contain your music playlists or T.V./film stream, and can be viewed as you navigate the site.

Personal Profile:

This represents a very small section of the overall website. There would be a ‘profile page’ or front screen. This is a single design; there will be bespoke software where you can design various things. You can choose to produce a short animation; upload a filmed piece and edit it, or do similarly with a photo. There will also be an option to ‘produce’ a photo, sort of like an album cover. There will be other options but you can personalise as much as you like. Also included is an option to produce a stop motion piece, upload a song or a showreel, for instance.

Everyone can access everyone’s front page, and like Twitter; you can choose to accept anyone, or on a person by person basis. The social website itself will be a new design. Facebook has too many white spaces; too many icons you don’t need; icons repeated, as well as adverts all over the place. The chat function is basic and flawed; the mail feature is frustrating and limited, and the overall design is colourless, flat and disorganised.

With this website, the design is that of a skyscraper. The design fills the entire screen and utilises video game technology. You will see a tower, and a lift going through the centre, and a set amount of windows. At the base is an Entrance (where you click and see your own profile; more later). To the left is an intercom, and is the Chat feature. There are options to have certain people on the list, and can talk via messenger, or Skype, and is a lot more advanced than Facebook. To the right is a mail slot, and where you can access e mail. It works more like a personal e mail account, where you can save and file e mails, as well as link it with your own personal e mail account. There is animation, so you can see animated people ‘deliver’ mail, as well as ride up and down the lift. It is constant, and makes it more interesting.

The overall design is slick and modern, and you can choose from a different number of buildings/skyscrapers. There are no adverts, and no excess of icons. All space is used, and gets rid of having ‘favourites’ and cannot ‘like’ a band or product. You can create events, but adverts and photo sharing are restricted. If you want to see them you can. If you only want to see certain things, then you can as well. At the top of the skyscraper, is a helipad; so if anyone is a ‘contact/friend’ a helicopter comes down and they arrive into the ‘building’. There are two flags on the roof. The left hand side can be personalised, to either a ‘Diary’ flag or ‘Events’ so you can rotate them as you see fit. The other flag will be a ‘Music Player’ or ‘Film Player’. If you have a Song of the Day or PlayList, this is where you can access it. You can simply click on the flag and play songs, as you would Spotify, for instance. If you choose a Film Player you can watch a film or T.V. show. There is an option to produce a split screen so you can see both at the same time.

In the skyscraper are windows. This is where activities and updates are, but will fill up in each window. I am working on developing this a lot further and making it much more involved, but you can block windows (which draws blinds across); and the whole experience is much more modern, and exciting. You can customise the flag, the building, and choose what you want to see. There is ‘weather’, so when it is morning, the sun rises, and then sets. You can have rain, sun, cloud etc and will change, according to the weather of where you are currently. Unlike Facebook or Twitter it is not pure social content. It draws in all aspects of the site. For instance, if you are part of the Music, Film, Science, and History parts of the site, you can get updates that you want to read, and links the rest of the site into the social part. This means you can be updated of everything you need to know, as it happens. If you want to block out statuses and pictures and just hear about music, local happenings and news, you can do; like having your own website.

The individual profile consists of a hotel lobby; or the inside of the skyscraper. Using a feature where you can create your own avatar, you will walk into the lobby. There will be a reception area where you pick up your ‘mail’ (e-mail). There is a Guestbook where you access to update your basic info and links etc. There is a portrait on the wall, where you can access and update your photos and videos. There is also a T.V. where you can view and update your points and updates. It is simpler and less cluttered than Facebook with the three main icons. In the lobby is a Games Room, Restaurant, Gym, Cinema and Beauty Saloon that takes you to different features and pages. The main other feature is your own personal Room. When you click on it, you go up an escalator or a lift, and go inside. In here is a room with lots of visual props, based on your personal likes and interests. So for instance if you are interested in travel, there is a globe; C.D. player for music etc. This makes it easier to see updates relating to those individual sections.

In essence, the idea is to involve more real life. You can video chat to anyone; get local news etc. and block out anything meaningless or boring. It does not compel you to be glued to it, but gives a much-needed portal to learn things you need to know and keep abreast of things that really matter to you, and connect with people you need to. The idea is to have a core group who you can get along with, and like and less need to be ‘friends’ with any person, just for the hell of it!

Human Profile/Book of You:

This works in conjunction with the personal profile. It is a ‘human representation’ of you. You will create yourself, as an avatar. You can see yourself as a simulation, like Sims. On your personal profile, there is a section, where only you can access it. This shows your body but organs etc are highlighted. If for instance you learn chess or win a few games, it adds a colour/section to the Brain. If you pitch an invention or idea that adds to the brain. If you learn a new language it goes to the Tongue; music/singing to the Mouth; photography in the Eyes; charity contributions in the Heart. If you donate blood that contributes to Blood etc. The idea is to do as much as possible to contribute as much as possible to each organ. There will be points and rewards handed out at certain stages.

Like the body representation, there will be a Book of You. This would be represented in the form of graphs and graphics, inspired by the book Information Is Beautiful. There are various chapters and just chronicles your achievements, updates and work and puts them into the form of charts, graphs, pictures etc.

Other Features:

I am formulating ideas by the day, but are a few of several hundred, that will make their way onto the site.


The idea would be, as well as being able to stream the site to T.V. or mobile, it will be touch screen. It works like a mobile where there will be a keyboard, and you can drag icons, sort of like iPhone mixed with C.S.I.! I am hoping it would be able to use 4G too. There will be a way where you can design applications and distribute them for free, or can tie in apps. via your iPhone, so they can be used on this site. Instead of paying users to design apps., points are awarded and mentions made. This way you can get them for free, but the creator is rewarded as well, and inspires future innovation.


A lot of older users may be more interested in what is happening in their town. For instance, if there is flooding on a particular road nearby, you can find out, and can find out the latest news and goings on where you live. If there is an event in your area, or a charity run for instance, you can distribute it to a wider audience, to raise funds, supporters and exposure. Where there are travel updates for example, or continued problems, such as flooding, you can link with the council. If there needs to be a storm grate, or flood protection on a particular road, you can link directly, based on observations and raise funds for it, via the site.

Science and Beyond:

I am working on an interactive feature with the Science, as well as the Natural History Museum. It will allow interactive exhibitions, as well as many of the features and exhibits to be streamed to the site, either as an animation, or as a video presentation. Sort of like a video game, where you can navigate and interact. Will try to build a 3D element too. This means anyone who cannot visit London or is disabled and cannot get there, will be able to enjoy it.

There will also be sections on astrology where you can ‘visit’ planets and constellations, interactively. It allows forums and discussions to take place, where you can post new theories and discuss topics, as well as science, you can talk about philosophy, dreams, big world issues etc. You can undertake experiments, and will be programmes where you can build vehicles and see how they work. There will be ’00s of options in this section overall. There is also a Virtual Body, which will be yours, literally. You can enter your health info, and can alert you if any problems are detected and can also track blood pressure, sugar levels and information that needs to be monitored. If you have high blood pressure, and have another medical issue, it can alert you to possible future issues or illnesses, so you can beat them. It also links you to medical information all over the Internet. In

Search Engine:

As will as linking the website with a custom search engine (Google, Bing etc.); there will be an expanded search engine. Current search engines have a limit. If you type in ‘songs that sound like Blowin’ In The Wind’, it might struggle to pin down relevent results. Using the various parts of the sites, as well as users, if you need to find out the above query; it uses the search engine, but connects with users and people who would know at the same time, so the results are more accurate and comprehensive. It is more responsive so if you type a sentence that starts ‘which song contains..’ or the query is quite brief, it makes it easier to get an answer. Similarly you can enter soundbites, photos into the search engine if you need to find relevant information, and will give you results.


There are comprehensive dictionaries to access, in English as well as over 30 other languages. Also there will be an encyclopedia available for free. You will be able to access information including Space, History, etc. and will have photos, pictures, graphs and video links and will be the equivalent of having a 1,500 page encyclopedia at your fingertips.


I am trying to formulate a way of having comprehensive Rosetta Stone style language courses available for free, covering 30 different languages. Over 5 years I am aiming to learn 20 new languages and am aware how expensive it is to learn. I am hoping to employ experts and the site’s users, as well as existing resources, in order to have full and detailed language courses available for anyone.

Everyone Can Live Forever:

Well… in theory. There are options where anyone can upload videos and blogs about their day to do life. Not so much as narcissism but as a record of that individual. I am researching ways of being able to have people’s ideas and thoughts updated without their input, so based on entries and uploads, the site will update. The idea is that when someone dies, many decades in the future, their thoughts, voice and feelings can be accessed, so someone can theoretically ‘live on’ in computer form. It is less advanced than the idea of singularity, but will be a legitimate first attempt at being able to preserve thoughts and personalities in computer form.

Big World Issues:

Take the recent shootings in the U.S. The site is mainly set up to avoid as many of these issues as possible. The issue tends to be the lack of mental health care and help. The plan is to make sure, if someone is in trouble, or thinking of planning something like this, it connects with mental health providers, locally and internationally. Discussions can be had via Skype, appointments made, and information given. Also, people can connect with that person and try to prevent anything from taking place.

Similarly, issues like gun violence, racism, the enviroment, employment and illnesses are brought to a wider sphere, and it is hoped that through information, and productivity by members, issues are averted, and possible problems do not occur.


As well as better opportunities and ways to link for actors, there are also sections where you can create films. I have thought of a few short film ideas recently, and love them but not sure what to do. The site will allow for greater connection with filmmakers and fundraising portals, so these visions can be realised. There will be bespoke software where you can create films and ideas, or at the very least, be able to pitch ideas effectively.

There will be an option to write a joke or comical paragraph. It works like Twitter, where you have limited characters but you can submit a line or sentence. At the end of the day, a winner is announced, for the funniest submission and points are awarded.


It will essentially be this:

This is one of the major focuses for me. I am thinking of new ideas but there are a few already. There is a section where you can write lyrics (handwrite or type) and put on the site. If you can’t think of the music, or have them spare, this means somebody can pick them up, pair them together and a collaboration can take place. Or they can be given to a band, points are earned, and helps an act out. There will be software where you can compose music; be it orchestra, or guitars etc.- and either pitch it, or use it yourself.  Existing music can be played, and deconstructed, so you can see what notes were played, and what instruments. Also, I have often heard existing songs and lyrical ideas have come to mind. Here you can play a song, with lyrics playing, and replace them. From there you can compose music and make a new song that would sound different, but be inspired by existing ones! There are also songs that play and I think of a music video to go along with them. Obviously one may already exist. There is an option where you can create your own, and get permission from the band to use the song, or create one inspired by their song. You can create a basic version of the video via the site, copyright it, and pitch to filmmakers or if it is a new song/video, can pitch it to record label.  The site will allow you to merge sounds. For instance you can isolate a Queens of the Stone guitar track, and also play Latin music. You can fuse these, and create a new sound, and can inspire a song idea. There will be options to produce music using bespoke software There will be guitars, drums, pianos, and orchestras etc. where you can practice and learn. It works like Rock Band, where you can play the instrument on the screen, and compose parts directly, to form a song. It helps you to learn an instrument, as well as making it easy to compose and record music or demo ideas.

Life Skills:

Like a Wikipedia source it will categorise everything you could need for life. It includes D.I.Y tips, and thousands of hints, guides and pages that can be accessed, with easy to follow pictures. It encourages people to learn new skills, and improve existing ones.

Inventions and Pitching:

In the last few days I have almost died a few times. Once when the sun was shining and forgot sunglasses and could not see where I was going. A few days later, there was ice on the windscreen and could not get it off without pulling over. I was frustrated. What if new car makers could install windscreen and windows, that at the press of a button could be blackened, to avoid accidents. Also have concocted a way of heating the outside of the windscreen so ice can be cleared on the move. Whilst visiting a sick friend, an idea arose. Have thought of something more advanced than Instagram where you can create your own photo, with any image or detail for free. I thought of an acting website, as well as several others. The idea is that there is a site you can pitch an idea but have copyright to the idea, but be able to connect with people who can move it forward and make it real. There are also discussion sections, so for instance any scientific discoveries or medical ideas are thought of, they can be shared and moved forward.


A lot of men suck as relationships, and sex, and everything else (I’m told). The idea is that there is a more comprehensive dating site. It works like e-Harmony where it matches people more effectively but is a free site. There are articles and tips from publications like Ask Men and Cosmopolitan that give advice about sex, dating, relationships and love. It is like the encyclopedia where it has chapters and employs visual aids, video links and can be edited by anyone and updated with advice and help.


As well as having reviews, advice and archives, there is a function where you can design your own car. It includes everything from the interior, to the name. You can also design or pitch innovations, technology or safety ideas and pitch them directly to car companies as well.

Travel and International:

Get information, photos, videos (and tours) of countries of the world.  You can select any country and get as much information as you need- history, local attractions, recommendations; photos and ‘virtual tour guides’.  Users can leave reviews and stories; share holiday pictures; recommendations- travel tips and insights.  The page is interactive and stunningly designed.

Charity Schemes:

This is a way for people to connect and launch charity schemes. These can include helping the homeless, volunteering at hospitals, or organising charity events. It connects users and people from around the world, making it easier to raise money, organise events and launch innovations to help as many people in need as possible.


As well as being an option to design your own, there is a whole library of classic and existing games, that you can download direct to your laptop or T.V. and play.


Provides a full interactive service to everyone. You can view documentaries and simulations of under the sea, Antarctica, the jungles or anywhere in the world. It gives access to nature to those unable to experience it themselves and encourages people to get involved and experience it first-hand.

Thoughts going forward:

As I mention, I am formulating new ideas, simulations and developments by the day and am going to try to make the site as all-inclusive and detailed as possible. I am not trying to bury Facebook and Twitter, but improve on both and have so much more to offer. The idea is not only to get every walk of life involved for free, but push people to be as good as possible. Through designing new programs, making networking easier, and encouraging charity, it is hoped that every individual will make as much an effort as possible to do as much as they can. I am keeping the social element, but trying to make it a small percentage of each person’s experience and introduce people to sports, games, and worlds they have never considered or been unable to experience.

I am hoping that the introduction of 3D and 4G will play a part. I am hoping to have as many 3D simulators, and if possible make everything 3D. Depending on how the technology advances, it is hoped that it will be the ‘norm’ for households thus enhancing the overall experience. With 4D being a future possibility (for all), these, along with touch screen technology makes it simple, and fast- for everyone!

In addition to promoting creativity and charity in everyone, it is hoped the site can change lives and affect change. Given recent developments in employment, gun violence and racism, it is hoped that the site can help to change individuals responsible for crimes and make it easier for laws to be changed.

I have encountered too many awesome people, by accident on social media sites. It should be easier to meet great people and the site encourages and makes it possible. There are too many faults, flaws and limitations with Facebook, Twitter and social media; and the idea is to override this and make for a better, much fuller experience.

Hopefully all of this can be a ‘reality’: get this site working- I think it could help many; do good (and educate many people).  I would love to hear comments, suggestions, ideas (for features/pages etc.), and above all.

What the hell should (the website) be called?!

Interview: Elena Ramona


Elena Ramona



With the music industry offering so many new (and exciting acts); Elena Ramona is one of the hardest working talents around- and one of the U.K.’s most promising young songwriters


THE last year has been a busy one for the Surrey-based musician.  In addition to new material and exciting tour dates- the young musician recruited a host of new fans.  With a new E.P. on the horizon (and plans afoot), I talk to Elena Ramona about the release of (her brand-new single) Lying Blue Eyes

Lying Blue Eyes is your new single (it looks at a no-good central figure). Was there a particular inspiration for the song?

The inspiration for this song was relationships: sometimes they work out and sometimes we get hurt by the people we trust and love the most. The message in this song is (pick yourself up when times are rough, know the heartache is never forever and carry on living life even in the hardest of times)

The song itself is a sassy and brassy number- it differs in terms of sound (from your previous numbers). Does this indicate a new direction/sound for you?

I love experimenting with different sounds and genres. I am yet to find my sound so trying different styles is key for me right now. People have been really supportive regarding this track and the feedback has been great for me to know what direction to take with the next tracks yet to come.

Who has been the biggest influence for you- either musically or personally- over the last year?

My mother- she has supported me through all the ups and downs I have faced last year. She is my rock and I don’t think I would be where I am without her keeping me grounded and always believing in me no matter what.

Will we be seeing a new E.P release?

Yes, there will be a new E.P. release in the very near-future.

Knowing how hard you have worked the last few years- and how determined you are at the moment- what advice would you give any up-and-coming artists?

Find your sound. Your fan base and your own unique style of writing your material which will make you stand out. Enjoy it because the journey is the most fun part; you will meet many amazing people have some great experiences- and above all, do not give up when you feel stuck



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