Writing With Kids

Inspire Singer/Songwriter Bootcamp 2017

In August I had the pleasure of working with Nina Smith and Elliot Labatte (Silver Wilson) on another Singer/Songwriter bootcamp. We spent an intensive 5 days writing, recording and performing with a very talented bunch of 13-19 year olds. Some of them wrote their very first songs. Click on the links below to listen or download.

Luca, Joe and Anisia
Sam, Sam and Tom

A Blog's Life

Workshops And Beer

Ah! Summertime!

I’m all broken up (in a good way). School has finished with a lovely gift from a pupil – this is what you get for teaching kids how to play Bieber/Sheeran.

And a mention in the school leavers assembly from a budding 11 year old comedian

“Why was Matt locked out of the music room?
He left his keys in the piano”

I’m not going to be sipping margaritas on the beach though. I’m going to be chugging them down I’m going to be

  • Giving private lessons
  • Demoing lots of songs
  • Prepping my new EP for release
  • Writing a book on songwriting!
  • And teaching a couple of workshops with my bud Nina Smith. See the ad below

In other news I got featured on author Dave Kusek’s blog in a songwriting roundtable

And Stephen Wordsmith’s album Tintinitus (featuring my co-write A Little Spillage) got a review on Troubadette

Behind The Song Nottingham Sounds

Race To The Top

Stunning MCs like taser shocks, I got a jet pack flow, I’m taking off
A breathless hip hop sprint to the finish line. A collaboration between The Afterdark Movement and Deeper Than Forever ft. Bru-C and Kayfficial

Download      mp3 demo

Behind The Song

All credit to Afterdark’s Bru-C for the concept of trading ever shortening lines with DTF’s Kayfficial. Afterdark sax player Ed Reisner came up with the initial riffs and chord sequence. I suggested stretching out the chord sequence for the bridge to build tension and made a few tweaks here and there. Former pupil Sarah Kerry produced and played live drums and Nina Smith added and arranged backing vocals.

Former Pupils Nottingham Sounds

Earth Below: Mountains (Official Music Video)

Earth Below are the fruit of the latest Inspire ‘Supergroup’ Project that I’ve been working for the last year along with fellow tutor Nina Smith. They’re a really talent 7 piece band and will be launching their EP Almost There at a BBC Introducing Gig in Mansfield on Jun 29th. Here’s the video for the lead track Mountains

Former Pupils

Earth Below: Mountains (Live In The Studio)

Earth Below is a new band I’ve been working with alongside Nina Smith and Rob Green. Here’s 3/7’s of them playing Mountains live in the control room of Old Library Studio.

Nottingham Sounds

Supergroup Bootcamp 2015

Last week was super busy, but super productive. I spent all week working with Nina Smith on a musical ‘bootcamp’ for County Youth Arts Supergroup project. In previous years this has led to the creation of New Communication and Deeper Than Forever. This year’s crop promises to be just as talented.

We set them a number of high pressure challenges around songwriting, performing and rehearsing…

And it was great to see a bunch of young people who didn’t know each other bonding so well by the end of the week…


Get more info on County Youth Arts music projects here

EP Diary

EP #2 Diary – Part 5

As winter starts to draw nearer I feel like hibernating. By about 4:30pm I feel like I’ve been sedated. At the weekend I grabbed my son’s electric and forced myself to do some lead guitar and luckily my ‘neighbour’ was quiet enough to get something down. It took way too long (of course) and I became conscious that I was losing the groove after 3 or 4 takes but it was taking me 20 or 30 to really get happy with my note choices. I spent 2 hours recording 30 seconds only to totally rerecorded it the following night. I’m unimpressed with my soloing but it does the job of lifting the track in a few spots.

I still have a bits of vocals to do, but last night I was involved in a serious accident while travelling back from the sessions Nina Smith and I have been running with Deeper Than Forever. The bus we were on had a head-on collision with a car – killing both it’s occupants instantly. The bus passengers suffered various injuries, Nina lost a couple of teeth and I injured my throat hitting it on the seat in front. So apart from just dealing with the shock/aftermath, I’m probably not going to be able to sing/teach properly for a little while. But maybe I’ll be able to prepare Fingernails for mixing if I feel up to it.

Nottingham Sounds

Nina Smith – This Love

Nina is a great Nottingham-based songwriter and a classy vocalist, destined for great things, here she is live in her living room!

A Blog's Life

Catching Up

What have been up to? Working on a recording project with Nina Smith & New Communication which culminated in a gig at The Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham. Here’s 2 songs from there, the first I which I co-wrote with Nina and a few of the NewCom guys…

Next Wed I’ll be at the RCH again performing Tree Of Life, a song I co-wrote with one of my pupils for FAWM 2013, with a choir of several hundred kids  –  (download the demo here).

On Friday I’ll be supporting the fabulous Agent Lala at Bunker’s Hill in Nottingham. Agents Laila & Mathew have been part of the Nottingham First Tuesday Songwriting Group from (tues)day one and constantly amaze me with their fun, yet deep and endlessly inventive writing. Come along and hear for yourself!

Blogging wise I’ve posted demos of new songs Everything In The World Is Fighting Everything In The Sky and Vengeance Is Mine and over at Beatles Songwriting Academy I’ve been taking apart Piggies and Happiness Is A Warm Gun