USA & Canada

Recently got back from an amazing trip to the states and Canada with Ella and co., where we played on some cool TV and radio shows. It was the first trip we’ve done with the whole band and I can’t wait for the next one – the whole team is awesome and we have tons of fun together. Halloween in NYC was especially good; we had about an hour after finishing promo to go and buy our costumes before heading out to see the parade, so we snatched up some turtlenecks, some wigs and some glasses, and went as the Beatles:

IMG_1674

Nailed it. Plus we’re British so all the Americans loved it.

Anyway on this trip we played 3 major US TV shows; The Today Show, The Ellen Show, and Late Night with Seth Meyers. Ella killed it on every one and as a result Ghost has shot into the top 20 out there, so that’s cool. My favourite video of the three is from the today show, mainly because of the dude in the audience who is going in hard on the Dad-dancing, check it out:

Also definitely watch to the end to see the presenter’s weird reaction (around 4:20).

Crazy Americans.

So Ella’s next single is a beautiful tune called ‘Yours’, but unfortunately for me it’s a piano ballad, so I won’t be doing much promo for it I don’t think! It’s cool though, we’ve still got a good few shows and things planned before the year is out. As for next year it looks like we’ll be going to the states again early on, and then come April we’ll be heading out to support Take That on their UK arena tour, which will be bananas. Roll on 2015…

Live Lounge

Last weekend we bundled into BBC Radio 1’s live lounge with a string quartet to play some stuff with Ella. We played Glow and Ghost (the latter of which I believe is an ‘unlock able’ extra on the live lounge website) and then ended the session with a cover of A Great Big World’s ‘Say Something’ featuring Christina Aguilera, which – although I find to be a somewhat depressing, borderline morbid song – did sound very nice with the string arrangement and trademark perfect Ella vocals.. Have a little look and see what you think:

 

I’m currently in Cologne, Germany right now which I think marks the first time I’ve ever blogged from abroad, which is something I always say I’ll do but never get around to. So hooray me.

Berlin tomorrow and then home for a few days before heading out to Belgium next week!

Sunday Brunch with Pro Green & Tori Kelly

As the title of this post suggests, I recently found myself performing Professor Green‘s new single ‘Lullaby’ with him and his band for Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch show. I got the call last weekend as his usual guitarist was unable to make the session due to being ill. The show went great and I had a lot of fun – him and his band are a lovely and professional bunch of guys, and to top it all off we had the incredible Tori Kelly (who features on ‘Lullaby’)  singing with us which was amazing. She has one of the best voices I’ve ever heard and I really hope she becomes massive – she’s ridiculously talented, not to mention lovely, as well as absolutely stunning! I was unable to find the full quality version of the video so this one will have to do, check it out:

Mirror Man

Last month we went back into the awesome RAK studios with Ella to film some more live stuff. This time we went through four tunes with the full band and it sounded ace. The first video has just surfaced and it’s probably my favourite song of hers (lots of guitar), it’s called Mirror Man and this is what it sounds+looks like:

Shout out to Duesenberg and Divided by 13 for making me sound good!

Summer 2014 PART 2

Yeah so I forgot a bunch of things in that last post.

Firstly; GEAR. Thanks to the wonderful folks at Westside MI (especially my good friend and wicked guitarist Peter Honoré) I am now the proud owner of a beautiful Martin OM28e Retro. It’s the nicest acoustic guitar I’ve ever played and it sounds incredible. The Fishman F1 Aura system is brilliantly designed and every sound engineer I’ve worked with since getting this guitar has absolutely loved it! Here she is:

IMG_0700

 

Beaut.

This also leads nicely on to my next topic, which is GIGS.

I used this wonderful guitar for a few gigs and sessions with some other artists recently, one of whom was Nick Gardner. I was asked to play with Nick by my friend (not to mention keys player/sound engineer/MD extraordinaire) Steve Weston, who was given the task of MDing Nick’s first proper live show – which happened to be opening for Maroon 5 at iTunes Festival. I’m a big Maroon 5 fan so it was a special one for me to be able to open for them at the Roundhouse, and thankfully the show went really well (you can watch it here). Nick is a talented singer and a lovely guy, who will surely go on to do some cool things, so keep your eye on him! Here’s a cool shot from the gig:

10689585_816528171733344_962286645997747913_n

The other artist – or artists I should say – that I worked with this summer was a lovely group of girls who go by the name of Neon Jungle. I joined the girls for their Radio 1 Live Lounge session in which they covered X Ambassador’s & Jamie N Common’s ‘Jungle’ – which was a ton of fun to play due to it being super guitary. Check it out:

And that concludes my massively overdue update. Hopefully I’ll get to work with all these guys again in the future, but until then it’s back to business with Ella.

Summer 2014

I am a terrible blogger.

Since my last update 4 months ago I’ve been lucky enough to have travelled to some prettttty cool places with Ella. Throughout June and July we flew to Sweden, Switzerland, Amsterdam, Spain, Germany, and the USA – all for acoustic promo and showcases (which all went brilliantly by the way)! Her debut single ‘Ghost’ has absolutely ‘smashed it’, or so to speak – having spent 2 weeks at number 1, gone platinum, and been named the best selling single of the year in the UK.

Following on from our trip to the USA at the end of July, we then flew out to Sydney in August, where we spent 4 days doing more radio promo – as well as a showcase gig, a breakfast TV show, and a performance on the Australian X-Factor. We then flew to Auckland for a couple of days for more of the same, plus a live acoustic performance on New Zealand’s One News breakfast TV show (which you can watch here).

Despite it being winter over on that side of the world we still had an amazing time – I loved Sydney and I REALLY loved Auckland. We had a day off before we left and got go and see Minnehaha beach, which was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to in my life. Here are some pictures which will definitely not do it justice:

IMG_1073

Above: The walk down to the beach

Below: The team setting up for Ella’s photoshoot

IMG_1074

IMG_1084

Above: Ross and co. contemplating a dive off of the rocks

Below: Meeeee

IMG_1092

As you can see it was pretty special. What was not so special was the 31-hour journey home. Auckland > Melbourne > Dubai > London with a few 3-hour stopovers thrown in for good measure, was absolutely insane…

BUT WE MADE IT.

And actually – for another trip that fun – I’d totally do it again.

On top of all that traveling we also found time to do a few UK shows here and there (Here’s a clip from Fusion Festival) as well as film some really cool live sessions at the amazing RAK Studios. The first one to come out is an acoustic version of Glow and soon there’ll be some full band performances of some as-yet unheard Ella tunes, so I’ll make sure to post them here once they’re out. Until then here’s Glow:

Next up with Ella it’s a BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge performance and another trip to Germany, leading up to the ‘Glow’ and ‘Chapter One’ (Ella’s debut album) releases in October.

May = Acoustic Promo

As the title of this post suggests; May has been a month of many acoustic performances, all with the wonderful Ella Henderson. I travelled all over the UK on a two-week regional radio tour with her and her team, performing some stripped back tunes and promoting her debut single ‘Ghost’. It was loads of fun and everyone at the radio stations seemed to love having Ella in, not to mention hearing her sing in such a bare, intimate setting, where she absolutely shines. Have a listen to this recording of us performing her cover of Gorgon City ft. MNEK’s ‘Ready For Your Love’ and you’ll see what I mean.

On top of that her Vevo DSCVR acoustic version of Ghost just came out and it looks and sounds awesome, so check it out:

Next up on the acoustic hit-list is a couple of sessions for Sounds Magazine and The Box – but not before a few TV performances we’ll be recording with the full band this weekend…

Ella Henderson

Earlier this month I was lucky enough to begin playing for the wonderful and incredibly talented Ella Henderson. Many of you will likely recognise the name from X-Factor, as Ella was a contender in the 2012 series, who has since been working away writing and recording some seriously good music. She’s just released the video for her debut single ‘Ghost‘ off the back of two awesome showcase gigs we did earlier this week, and the official single release is on the 8th of June (so get pre-ordering!). As well as the showcases we”ve also done an acoustic session for Vevo which I’ll post here once it’s been put up.

It’s only been a couple of weeks but it’s been so much fun, largely because of the amazing singer and her great songs – but also because I get to work with some of my favourite people again; my two Union J bandmates, Ross and Joe, and our favourite MD, Mr. Kojo Samuel. Really looking forward to some more Ella stuff over the coming months – I’ll be sure to keep this blog updated but until then here’s a shot of me lurking in the background at one of the showcases earlier in the week…

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 10.07.33

Post-Tour Blues

It’s January 2014 and the Union J tour finished almost two weeks ago, which sucks, because it was awesome. 22 shows with a bunch of really great people: from the UJ boys to my band bros, to the amazing crew and our lovely tour and production managers – I am genuinely really sad it’s over. It was the best tour I”ve done so far and I’m already really excited about the possibility of another tour one somewhere down the line.

Here are some shots from along the way:

DSC_0027

IMG_0098

IMG_0104

Moving forward there will definitely be some more Union J stuff going on this year, and once Mr. Maynard pops his head up again hopefully I’ll get to reunite with my boy to play some of his sick new tunes! On top of that I’m hopeful that I get to meet and work with some new artists this year, but we’ll have to wait and see. Anyway happy new year from the nerd playing air guitar in that last picture. He’s happy and you should be too.

Union J Magazines and TV Screens Tour

This week I played two warm-up shows with Union J to mark the start of their UK & Ireland winter tour. The crowds were great and the shows ran really smoothly – and on top of that everyone involved is incredibly cool, so I’m feeling pretty excited about getting on the road properly this weekend.

IMG_3790

In the run-up to this tour I’ve been fortunate enough to strike up relationships with a few of my favourite companies – which I’m over the moon about. Firstly, Gibson were kind enough to give me an SG to use for the tour, which sounds amazing and has been so much fun to play so far – I don’t know how I’ve lived all this time without one! Secondly, I got in touch with the folks at Duesenberg and they managed to sort me out with a beautiful Fullerton TV (pictured below), which I am completely in love with. And finally, I’m thrilled to announce that I’m now an Elixir strings endorsee. I’ve been using Elixirs for as long as I can remember and I really cannot stand to use any other strings, so a huge thank you goes out especially to Andy Palmer from Elixir for making that happen.

IMG_3782

Now it’s on to Oxford this Saturday with all my shiny new gear for the first proper date of this tour. More updates soon! (Maybe. But let’s be honest – probably not.)