Reactions to ‘Bad Night’

So, since ‘Bad Night’ has gone out into the world, there have been some really positive reactions and I’m really, really grateful and excited so I thought I’d share them here. It’s been added to playlists on Spotify and PLAYED ON THE RADIO, both of which are just so exciting. While I think we, as artists, all have daydreams of a song going out into the world and being a huge hit and bringing everything we’ve ever wanted to our door, realistically we know that that’s very unlikely. But this song has gone out and cool things have happened, especially for being only the second song I’ve ever released.

It’s been added to a couple of playlists, as you can see here. A super special shout out to Song Suffragettes for their constant support; I feel very lucky to have connected with them. And I’m grateful to FutureNectarSounds for taking the chance on me and adding me to their playlist.

And I got my first radio play, on Cambridge 105! Richard, my cowriter and coproducer, lives near Cambridge, hence the connection. That was very exciting, even though I didn’t get to hear it and I’m really grateful to them for playing it. I’m also currently on their Unsigned Chart, which is very cool. If you go to their site, you can vote for me and help me stay in the chart, maybe even get higher!

As many new artists do, I uploaded the song to BBC Introducing. I’ve done this before but never received a response. But this time, I got an email from the host of BBC Introducing South, asking if I had a radio edit as the song in its original form is quite long for a pop song. We quickly created one, uploaded it, and they decided to play it. I’m not kidding: I totally freaked out. This is something that’s been on my musical bucket list ever since I really started working toward releasing my music. As you can see, I was pretty excited…

And this was my reaction to actually hearing it:

I’m really grateful to BBC Introducing South for giving me this opportunity and this special moment.

And amazingly, they played it again a couple of weeks later. Again, I’m so grateful for the opportunity and it’s amazing to feel like the song is moving out into the world.

It was also played on Radio Reverb, which was really cool, especially as it’s a local, Brighton radio station. My town was playing my song. That made me really happy.

I did an interview with my university, ICMP (The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance), which was cool, although I can get very anxious about answering the questions the ‘right’ way, saying the ‘right’ things. But I think I did okay. You can find it here. I hope you find it interesting!

And finally, the music video had a really lovely, beautiful review from Indigo Eve Music, which you can read here.

I hope some of this was interesting to you. This blog is about following my journey, in music as well as mental health and Autism. I promise there will be more of those posts soon. There’s been a lot of stuff going on, so much that I haven’t had time to write about it so I’m looking forward to updating the blog and you guys.

The End of an Era

I did it. I graduated.

The last three years have been a whirlwind. As I said in my Instagram post on Thursday, “my degree was an endless mix of inspiring, exhausting, frustrating, ridiculous, exciting, stressful, and joyful.” That’s the short version. The long version is very long. I dealt with a lot of grief and disappointment. I struggled with my mental health, discovered I was Autistic, and started to untangle all the threads that come from that. And that’s outside of university. At uni, I wrote hundreds of songs, met some amazing people, got the opportunity to go to Nashville, and ultimately, became a better songwriter. There were classes I loved and classes I hated. It was a constant battle to keep the lid on my anxiety and sometimes I failed. But I wouldn’t change it. My experience is coloured massively by how good my third and last year was. There were moments where I hated it, where it made me incredibly anxious, where I had meltdowns so bad I thought I’d never recover. There were moments I thought I’d never get through, that I couldn’t do what I was being asked to do. But somehow I did. Somehow I’m here, with a first and two graduation ceremonies under my belt.

The first graduation was for UEL, The University of East London. My school, The Institute of Contemporary Musical Performance, is a specialist music college and while it operates independently, it’s officially part of UEL. So we were invited to one of their graduation ceremonies. My Mum and my Granny came to this one. It was very formal – it was caps and gowns. That was something I was looking forward to and something I was very let down by. I’d thought it would be fun but it became a very stressful experience. Maybe it didn’t fit properly, maybe that’s just how it is but my cape kept sliding back and strangling me and my cap kept falling off my head. It took seven bobby pins to keep it on my head. As someone who struggles with sensory stuff, which includes the way clothes feel, that was really hard and really ratcheted up my anxiety. Fortunately, spending time with my friends, messing around and laughing, helped to keep it at a bearable level.

The ceremony itself was a bit strange. Because I only went to UEL once, it kind of felt like I was intruding, like I didn’t belong there. All the talk of the ‘UEL community’ made me feel a bit disconnected from the whole thing but the speakers were very good. I’d like to share something Geoff Thompson, the chair of the governors, said in his speech: “You are strong. Don’t ever, ever forget that you are strong… Never, never, never, never, never, NEVER give up on your dreams. It is not an option. It is not a choice.” You know, that was just what I needed to hear, just as I’m leaving university and heading out into an uncertain world. It was inspiring. It was empowering.

And all of a sudden, we were lining up to walk across the stage to shake the chancellor’s hand. It was weird: I had tunnel vision. No one could have applauded me as I walked across the stage and I wouldn’t have noticed. I was completely focussed on walking towards the chancellor, shaking his hand, and walking down the steps. It’s funny how something that you usually don’t have to think about – like walking – suddenly seems to take a lot of effort. But I did it, I got back to my seat, and I cheered for my friends. We threw our caps and then it was over. Graduation one was done. I’d thought I’d stay for a drink with my coursemates but after all the anxiety, I was completely exhausted. So I (eagerly) returned my gown and headed home.

The second graduation was a couple of days later and much more fun. This was just our school so it felt a lot more personal. Even though I don’t have many friends outside my course, I recognised a lot of faces from the other courses and we’d all shared the same space. We’re all connected by that. We didn’t have to wear gowns but it was still formal. Everybody looked gorgeous; it was really fun to see everyone dressed up. All four of my parents came to this one, which was amazing. I’ve never had all of them at a school thing before so that made me very happy. I was positively giddy.

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I really enjoyed the ceremony. The head of each course made a speech and then presented each of their students with the scroll. My favourite speech came from my programme leader, Jonathan. It was thoughtful and warm and inspiring. He even gave this blog a shout out, along with two other projects my friends have worked on. It was a very special moment. Another special moment was watching one of my best friends receive her scroll while her own song played. That was awesome.

And suddenly, it was my turn and I was walking across the stage, giving Jonathan a hug, and accepting my scroll. We posed for the photo and then I was moving again. I was a bit more aware of what was going on this time. The UEL one was a good rehearsal in that regard. There wasn’t an opportunity to thank my parents so I made the best of what I had. I located them in the crowd and did this:

It was important to me to do that.

Everyone received their scrolls and then we gathered for the reception. It was lovely to celebrate with everyone, to catch up, to introduce my parents to all these people who have played such an important part of my life in the last three years.

And that was graduation. The only other thing to add is that, to celebrate, we headed out for drinks. It was my first experience being in a club and my first experience drinking cocktails, neither of which I would say I enjoyed but it felt very empowering to try those new things and not feel trapped by my anxiety. Major thanks to my friends for looking after me and making it such a positive experience.

I will write more about my experience at university at some point but it’s a pretty big task. I need to go through my diaries and pull together some stuff before I can write an accurate account of that time but I will manage it at some point. It was a crucial time in my life. It’s a big part of who I am.

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