Monday, 8 March 2010

Introducing...Liz Reynolds

YMC: How long have you been writing music?

I have been writing since I was very small...I was actually three when I picked up a keyboard and started writing and recording a bunch of songs and soundtracks for stories that I made up.  I find it hard to explain where it began though, it certainly changed when I picked up a guitar for the first time.  As soon as I learnt to play a few basic chords at twelve I started writing little songs with them.  One of the songs I wrote when I was twelve is one of the most popular ones that I still play now, the 'Cup of Tea Song', which you'll probably hear me say at gigs wasn't its original name, but fans remembered it as 'Cup of Tea Song' so I just went along with it.  After all, in my view, songwriting isn't really about what I wrote, its more about how the audience relates to it.

YMC: How do you build up the confidence to play solo?

Building up the confidence to play solo has to have been the hardest thing for me and I know of many other solo acoustic acts that have struggled too.  I have always been shy and nervous but I have to say it was the encouragement of my friends that eventually got me through it.  I even used to be ill before I played in front of two or three people at open mic nights.  They call your name and you almost wish the floor would eat you up, my heart would be pounding, I'd miss my fingering on my guitar alot and my voice would be very small and quiet. It sounds silly, but if you've never 
done it before it's very difficult.  I've even had really confident friends suggest that they might get up and play a song and chickened out because it really can be that hard if you're not used to it.  I think the best thing to do is practice at doing gigs and the best way to do that is to do open mic nights, just kind of grin and bare it until it becomes easier.  That's how I got to the stage I'm at now, otherwise I think I would still be doing 1 gig a year and playing at Dr wuu's once a week because it was comfortable and easy going. 
It definitely is the hardest thing about being a solo artist if you are shy or nervous, but I suppose everyone has different ways of dealing with stage fright.  One thing that helped a lot though, was some kind words from my friend Richard Canavan who is one of the producers for my album and again incredibly talented.  He told me that fear is a
similar emotion to excitement so if I convinced myself i was excited I would eventualy feel know what... it worked.

YMC: Would you every consider fronting a band, or are you happly to play solo?

I do play with other musicians and have played with bands before, it certainly takes all the preasure of you because as a solo artist you are responsible for the vocals the guitar and the songwriting, so if a gig goes badly it's easy to put yourself down about it.  I love playing with other musicians though, there is so much other people can add to your music and put their own little piece of personality into the song, especialy when its a cover you all like or something you wrote together that you have real faith in.  At the moment though I really couldn't see myself playing with a band, I have supporting musicians and were I to play bigger venue's you'd definitely see a few more instruments but I'm happy playing solo for the time being and I enjoy the intimacy.   

: What music are you listening to at the moment?

If I was to tell you all the music currently on my ipod I think you might be shocked at some of them.  I try to listen to as much contrasting stuff as possible because I don't like to be influenced too much by other things.  I love listening to local artists too.  I am currently listening to Khuda, Jon Gomm and Matt Bentley who's album launch I'm 
performing at. but I also have Crystal Castles, Immortal, Imogen Heap, Jose Gonzalez, Newton Faulkner and William Shatner.  So a bit of a mix there!!

YMC: Have you recorded any material?

I have been in the studio for a few months now with Ade Castronovo who is really talented at what he does, I'm really lucky to have him working with me on this project and am hoping to get my album out really soon, it should feature around twelve tracks so I'm really excited about it.  I am using three different producers who are all really amazing at different things while staying true to the real stripped to the bone meaning of what makes people like me play.  They are all great friends too so they will be using some of their own ideas.  There are three tracks on my myspace to listen to though which will be featured on the new album, so a bit of a pre-mastered taster for you there.

YMC: You've done a lot of gigs in Leeds, are you considering playing further away too?

I love playing in Leeds and will take up pretty much everything I'm offered because I love to gig.  I have actually played further away, I was in London last month and have been to Barnsley and Harrogate.  I am doing a student live radio session in Manchester, other up and coming gigs are in York, Sheffield and Surrey so there's lots going on at the moment and I'm branching out a bit, but I think I'll always come home to Leeds and do as much as I can for the moment because there is always somebody new to meet and new venue's to play.

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