Michael Green Interviews... Lloyd North
Originally posted on October 12th 2019 here is a Q & A with singer-songwriter Lloyd North. He talked about his experiences in music.
Where did it all start for you getting into music?
My Dad was an American Airman, so I spent time at base listening to Country Folk records like Hank Williams. I still have family ties in Virginia. In my teens I played first in A blues band then an acoustic trio, then solo. I was playing in a vibrant Bedford music scene in 70s in wine bars, pubs and marquees. I then started writing my own stuff however work took over. I kept the music going when and where I could at weekends. Who are your influences? I’m influenced by songwriters of the 60s and 70s like Tim Hardin, John Denver, Joni Mitchell, John Martyn & Nick Drake. Working in the travel Industry on my foreign visits I would listen to a lot of French, Spanish and Mediterranean musicians and rhythms. I was also a regular at the Cambridge Folk Festival.
With songwriting where do you tend to get your inspiration from e.g how do you start your songs and what's your process?
I try to write about things I know e.g. life, outdoors, family, nature and free thinking. Melody is the first thing I work on often without guitar or piano, so I voice record it (phone these days) before I forget . I usually have a lot of words and subjects that I’ve jotted down in a back-pocket notebook. I combine this with the melody to find the right sound making a ballad or an up-tempo song.
Do you feel it is important to watch other acts perform and to watch other live music?
Any experience of other artists widens appreciation of styles and the social music interaction. If you enjoy live music and you have time, go and watch. It also helps with talking to venues and finding places to play.
Finally what tips do you have for anyone starting out when it comes to songwriting and performing?
With songwriting, to get 1 good song you haft to write at least 10. The work ethic is the key, it’s easy to give up but you must keep writing, you’ll get there. The basics on the piano or guitar are good enough. The song is the objective not the technique. It’s easy to get bogged down in style, I’ve made that mistake to often. The biggest hit songs are the simplest.
As a performer I like audience interaction and just being up there. Enjoy it and entertain and don’t think of star status. I missed it after a lifetime of work from the age of 16, so the last few years I have returned to relive and do more now . Rehearsal is so important, write out your setlist, try and memorise lyrics. Doing world famous covers everyone knows with your sound. Tune up before you go to the gig, then check again once you are there as it saves time. Nerves are good, they give you an edge. If you make a mistake carry on the crowd will love it . Don't be put off by some who don't like your stuff, there’s always critics, a lot more will like it. You will be surprised.
This is what I try and have done, everyone’s road is different. I think it's important enjoying being a performer and respecting the audience. When you get that connection and applause from the audience it means everything.
To find out more about Lloyd go to www.facebook.com/pg/Lloyd-North-237592189632824
Are you looking to improve your songwriting or live performance skills? Click Here to find out about my coaching sessions.
CLICK HERE to get your free copy of my Ebook called '5 Steps To Help Performers Overcome Stage Fright & Nerves & Know What To Say In Between Songs'