Michael Green Interviews... Shaun Clark
Originally posted on August 5th 2019 here is a Q & A with singer-songwriter Shaun Clark. He talked about his experiences in music.
Where did it all start for you getting into music?
My family took me to festivals from a young age, and feel in love with the whole concept of music. From that point on, I just wanted to pick up a guitar and play the songs by all the bands that I fell in love with, particularly a band called The Levellers. From then on, I started to write my own songs, and have never looked back. To this day, I still attend the festival that quick started my love, passion and drive for music and performing.
Who are your influences?
My biggest influence is of course ‘The Levellers’. The music they play, the stories they tell, the show they always put on, whether it be a seated acoustic performance, or a full scale gig, they have always been the influence when it comes to writing music, lyrics and general stage presence.
I take influence from a number of other artists that I have discovered from festivals and gigs. Namely, Gaz Brookfield, Ferocious Dog and The Leylines to name only a few. These acts all draw such a fantastic crowd from playing all their own songs, they aren’t just musicians. All are performers and capture the audience, and refuse to let go right down to the very last note.
With songwriting where do you tend to get your inspiration from e.g how do you start your songs & what's your process?
My songwriting process doesn’t follow any particular rules (rebel right). And no specific inspiration. It can come when I least expect it. Sometimes I will be sitting on a train, or at a gig and suddenly I will have lyrics come to mind. Over the years, this had ranged from soft folk songs (Attachment, Magic), to cheesy party songs (Party Bus, Drinking For England) and most recently, a handful of country songs (Act Together, Travelling Man).
I have no particular order in how I write. Sometimes I start by just playing some chords, other times I come up with lyrics and add music later on. Most recently, I have come up with a title and built the song from there.
One of my songs ‘Dance Like No One’s Watching’ was actually written after coming off stage, when 2 blokes stood at the front, shouting over the music and always on the phone. Particularly annoying, especially when everyone else is enjoying the show.
One occasion, I wrote a song telling a story of my self, a ‘Eulogy’ of sorts, which ended up becoming the name. But within this song, I have used lyrics of some of my other songs to create the track.
How important is it do you feel it is to listen to current music as well as music from the past?
In all honesty, i can say i am not really a big fan of current ‘chart’ music. Alot of the themes are repeated continuously, and the melodies are recycled from one some to the next.
Although, their is the odd song that jumps out at me, artists such as Josh Grobban and Passenger to name a couple. Creating fantastic harmonies, with added comedic effect from time to time really catch my attention more than others.
I prefer music from the past, as it feels more genuine, and I feel that the artist(s) put more emotion into their songs of yesteryear.
Do you feel it is important to watch other acts perform and to watch other live music?
Absolutely, otherwise, how will you discover new artists, or the next big thing. I try to get out and watch other acts and attend gigs as much as possible. Some of my favourite artists have come from getting along early to see the support acts.
I go along and support alot of local artists as well, and have met some great acts that have gone on to chart and tour the world.
Finally what tips do you have for anyone starting out when it comes to songwriting & performing?
I would have to say, go with what comes naturally. When it comes to songwriting. Let it come naturally, never try to force a song out, as you will never be happy with the end product. Take a listen to your influences, but try to not be them, sample elements, maybe a chord structure, but put yourself into everything you write to give yourself your own identity.
Performing is the same. Don’t think too much about how others perceive you. If you want to go and sing all your own songs, then do it, same with covers. At the end of the day, it is what you are happy with.
Both songwriting and performing are incredibly difficult skills, and it takes years to get it right. But never feel disheartened because it has taken you time to build a performance, a fanbase and reportaire. Everything comes with time, and if it what you want to do, then it will come naturally to you if you work at it.
To find out more about Shaun and his music click the links below
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