Michael Green Interviews... Simon William
Originally posted on March 15th 2020 here is a Q & A with singer-songwriter Simon William he talked about his experiences in music.
Where did it all start for you getting into music?
My dad used to be in a band when he was younger and music was very much a part of my life growing up, though I never personally picked up an instrument for most of my childhood. One day I had a sudden desire to play drums, I think I was about 10 at the time, but I quickly packed it in when I discovered an old ½ size guitar gathering dust in my brothers room. I then moved on to start producing dance music at the age of 14 in my bedroom on the first computer I bought, it was so terrible for a long time, then eventually as my ear developed I started to make some real progress. Who are your influences? When I was younger I used to listen to a lot of bands like Linkin Park or Green Day, but this doesn’t really translate into what I do now. Since I started writing my own songs and singing, my main influences have been a bit of a mix, I absolutely adore Jamie Cullum. If I had to choose one artist to listen to for the rest of my life it would be him. Then recently Lewis Capaldi has come out of the woodwork and become a massive hit, I definitely take a lot of inspiration from him too.
How do you decide what songs to cover?
I find for me to learn a song I have to connect with it, in the past I’ve had people give me suggestions for songs I can play at gigs and if I’m not feeling it, it can take me weeks to learn it through properly.
If I do connect with a song it just flows, there was a song I learned in summer 2019 called Still The Tide by Craig Maddox. I heard it once and knew I had to play it and I think in about two hours I had all the words down with a full arrangement.
With songwriting where do you tend to get your inspiration from e.g how do you start your songs & what's your process?
My songs tend to be very reliant on being ‘in the mood’, they are always about how I feel or have felt at some point in my life and when I perform them I tend to tap into that emotion that I held when I wrote the song. I usually start by picking up a guitar or noodling around on my keyboard for a bit, playing chords until a melody starts to form in my head, then I will write the words to that melody.
Sometimes I hit gold (at least I hope so) and of course sometimes those songs go straight in the bin.
I think it’s important as a songwriter to write in excess, you never know you might start a song and find the perfect ending 5 months down the line. I’ve been working on my current EP for 6 months which will be out later this year.
How important is it do you feel it is to listen to current music as well as music from the past?
I’ve never been one to tell someone what they should listen to, everyone likes something different and I feel like that’s what makes the world such an interesting place. If you like new music, you like new music and if you like old music, you like old music! I personally love to just put on my weekly new music mix from apple music or spotify because it’s fresh. Probably helps me to come up with new ideas as well.
Do you feel it is important to watch other acts perform and to watch other live music?
Absolutely, it’s incredible how inspired you get when you see a good performance, I will always think about how I could accomplish something like that or even take it further. It helps to build your own vision when you look at an array of others.
Finally what tips do you have for anyone starting out when it comes to songwriting & performing?
Practice, practice, practice! Believe it or not I’ve been singing to myself for as long as I can remember but I only felt confident enough to perform in Summer 2019, I lacked the coordination to play and sing simultaneously and it knocked my confidence and motivation. It was only when I sucked it up and put in the hours that I got past the obstacle, I’m still not perfect, but I know I will improve as time passes.
Like any instrument, writing lyrics and performing is a skill that improves over time, get up there and most of all have fun!
To find out more about Simon follow him on his social media links below
Photography by Rachael Lowes Photography
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