• Michael Green

Michael Green Interviews... Amy Mason

Originally posted on 26th September 2016 here is my interview with singer-songwriter Amy Mason. We talked about her experiences writing songs & performing live.


Photo by Martin Mckay taken at Esquires

Where did it all start for you getting into music?

I have always enjoyed music - I remember being in the school choir and recorder club at lower school, played the guitar and the clarinet and had singing lessons at middle and upper school, studied music at Bedford college, and then went on to Study the subject at university in Colchester. It was during my course at Bedford College when I started writing my own songs for guitar and voice, and performing live around Bedford pubs and clubs. My favourite venue to play was 'Liz-eds' on Broadway in around 2002-2003. They ran a weekly jam session on a Thursday and this is where I really got my confidence on stage. Who are your influences? It's hard to say - I enjoy an extremely varied taste in music, and one could argue that every piece of music we've ever heard can influence us. Having said this, I have always enjoyed playing covers of Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Bowie and Nirvana songs, and I guess they would be my main influences. I also enjoy Ska, metal, prog-rock, psychedelic music and folk/country, and can find something to enjoy within almost any genre.

With songwriting where do you tend to get your inspiration from e.g how do you start your songs & what's your process? I tend to deliberate over the guitar for a long time, and then wait until i feel like some lyrics might come or a melody to sing over the top, and the vocal parts just seem to happen. It's hard to explain any other way. I've struggled with writer's block for a number of years, but when I do write it's hard to do so in any other way. It's like the lyrics have to sound good, the shapes of the words, and it just fits. the lyrics don't even have to really make sense.


Amy playing at the 2006 Bedford River Festival

How important is it do you feel it is to listen to current music as well as music from the past?


I feel that it's very important to have a regular input of music that is new to you, but not necessarily current releases. I think it can get in the way of songwriting to try and emulate new artists, or to try and stay ahead of fashions as a conscious effort. However I do hear new music often on BBC radio 6, and at work, and there is some fantastic current music out there.


Do you feel it is important to watch other acts perform and to watch other live music?


Yes, very much so. Music is a passion, and it's best shared. It's nice to have a captive audience when a gig goes well, but it's important to remember what it's like to be part of an audience as well. Live music should be a shared experience, and even if it's at a gig you're playing, it's important to watch at least some of everyone's sets (where possible). It's also good etiquette to show support for your fellow musician.


Photo by The Bedpop Record shop

Finally what tips do you have for anyone starting out when it comes to songwriting & performing?


Firstly, get live experience. Even if you sound terrible to begin with, you'll soon find drive to improve your performance because you want to sound good for an audience. Secondly - rehearse - until you hate the songs and could play them backwards. Third - never criticisize yourself on-stage. It looks very unprofessional and convinces the audience not to enjoy your music. Fourth, if you make a mistake, just carry on like you haven't - the moment soon passes and everyone forgets a small live blunder - but no-one forgets that time you stopped a song halfway through and apologised. And finally, look like you're enjoying yourself - even if you're not - if you seem to be enjoying yourself and smiling at everyone, then others will enjoy themselves too.


Amy has an e.p. and a music video coming out soon so to keep updated with that and other news go to

www.facebook.com/acousticamymusic

 

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