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As much as I plan my music sessions (and I must admit, I love to plan) I am always bought back to the realities that music making will lead you down paths, avenues and alternative routes EVERY time. Sometimes good, sometimes unexpected and sometimes just flipping’ brilliant! That is where the magic happens! And that is what has happened during the Arts Award project I have been involved with with DAISI and  the YMCA, Exeter.

One of the participants, Maddie – a very talented singer-songwriter, had been attending the singing workshops struggling with her own confidence in her talents. Her vocals have a very soothing effect with a great tone and she delivers her lyrics with such emotive control you can easily get swept up into the moment she is singing about.

Yet despite being a good guitar player, drummer and vocalist, she doesn’t know her own talents and potential…until a few sessions in when we started to see glimmers of confidence appear. I led a little vocal mash up with an exercise in increasing confidence where we sung in the group facing each other. At first we sung as quietly as we could and on each step backwards we took we had sing a bit louder until the participants really found their voice and belted out at the end.

The next magic moment came when we had a songwriting session with Maddie. She has been planning an EP ready to record so we spent time on songwriting arrangements. She taught myself and Tim (YMCA staff) the music parts and directed us on what she wanted. She drew a graphic score as she could hear so vividly in her head what sounds she wanted to create.

And then on the HOTTEST day of the year so far, she spent the day at The Hive, Exmouth with The Collective and recorded her debut EP ‘Stars’.  I was lucky enough to be involved playing some keys on a track. The day went really well with Maddie recording 5 tracks. From not wanting to hear her lyrics sung back at the beginning of the day (yikes, don’t we all cringe at hearing ourselves back for the first time) it was a real difference to at the end of the day when she was really chuffed, smiling and happy listening to what she had achieved.

So this new path was one well worth wandering down. Well Done Maddie!

Her debut EP will be out September 2016. More details to follow soon.