I have been doing music for a while now.
When I was 7, I was chosen to play trombone in the school brass band and orchestra. About a year later I performed three pieces, by myself, to 200 staring faces during an assembly. This was my first gig.
Music always made sense to me. When the school commissioned someone to write an original score we were told it was a big deal, that it cost a lot of money. The day we got our parts I was really excited, but when I heard them my first thought was: ‘I could have done this better, and for less money’.
For me, I guess it started with my Grandfather.
I read a lot as a kid. Reading and drawing, those were my things. Every time I finished a drawing he would take it to the pub, to show off to his friends. He had a woodshop, and he’d frame each picture. He hung one on the wall directly opposite across his chair, so he could look at it everyday. For a young boy, this kind of encouragement is golden.
Later on, we would talk about music and poetry. He sang opera in his spare time. People tell me his voice was a pure Welsh tenor. He performed the Easter Oratorio solo at Winchester cathedral. But by the time I was old enough to hear and remember, he couldn’t sing anymore. His lungs were shot. A payment come home to roost from a childhood spent working in coal mines. But we could still talk about it. He would bribe me with sweets to memorise poems, then recite them back to him.
Only now, looking back, do I see how these things shaped me. My Grandfather died when I was 13. That was when I learned about death. The last lesson he taught me. Perhaps the most valuable; but hard to take for a young boy.
The first time I played solo, I was so amped before the show. I drank an entire bottle of red wine. When they called my name and I started to walk towards the stage the energy inside me built and built with each step. It felt like a tidal wave. I was sure I was going to explode. But the moment I stepped onstage I got this feeling. It was like being home for the first time. That’s the only way I can describe it. Just a really peaceful joy. The greatest exhale. A kind of light. Then I played and they asked me back, and that was that.
I always had a strong sense of my own music. What it would sound like. What it would feel like. But for the longest time, I couldn’t get at it. It took a long time to be ready. This is the reason that I am making my first record now. The time in between has been spent searching, learning, exploring, practicing, and failing again and again to express my music purely enough. I wont make something if I’m not ready. Just can’t do it. Occasionally I thought about giving up. Once I almost did. But it called me back. ‘A little longer, just a little longer’ ran the mantra in my mind, whilst all around me people would ask what I was doing, and I would answer ‘music’ and they would ask to hear some, and I would say either: ‘come to a gig’ (if I was playing at the time) or simply: ‘not yet’.
And then it was time. That’s when I started this blog. That’s when I started properly recording music, and that’s what has led me here.
It is a great love I have for what I do, and I plan on doing it until I die. This is my whole dream. To push what I can do, as far as it can possibly go, for as long as I can. To create, connect, and share the best I have with any that would benefit from it. This, to me, is a life well lived. This, to me, is a worthy fight.
If you are reading this then I thank you, deeply and sincerely, for your interest and attention.
And I wish you your own worthy fight.
My name is James Radcliffe and I am a 100% audience supported independent artist. If you like what I do (and can afford it) then please consider buying some of my music. Each purchase really makes a big difference to me and 10% of every sale goes to a charity which: houses, feeds, clothes, and educates orphaned children in Nepal.
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