Hello everyone and I hope you are all keeping well and staying safe during these uncertain times! Apologies that this is my first blog of 2020 but I thought now was a good time to reach out and share some of my updates from this year that I’m very grateful for, as well as some personal advice for musicians and clients for the weeks ahead.
But first, here’s a nostalgic flashback to how the year started! 2020 began with a with a glittery NYE party at Blakes Hotel London performing with Kit Mlynar on saxophone and myself on LED electric violin. We were part of a whole host of entertainment for the evening which included an illusionist and a fab burlesque artist.
January also included a quick trip to Delhi to perform at an Indian wedding with André Saxman Brown as part of Entourage. It was a massive party with around 1,200 guests and some of the most impressive levels of set production I’ve ever seen. Most of all though, I was bowled over by the designated potato area aka the SPUD BAR:
Having caught a few hours’ sleep after the gig, we headed to the airport and landed back in London to go straight to another Entourage party at Sunbeam Studios for a bat mitzvah. Other recent bar mitzvah events include performances at venues such as Artsdepot, Finchley United Synagogue: Kinloss, Sunbeam Studios and finally Hotel Café Royal again with Entourage:
This year also saw some of the first performances of my brand new LED electric violin act ‘VIO-GLO’. I’m really excited that VIO-GLO has been booked to perform for a couple of corporate events so far this year – one at Old Billingsgate and a showcase for Sternberg Clarke at the Boulevard Theatre Soho. It was really exhilarating to perform for some big crowds after all the time and hard work we’ve put into the act. Check out these live photos by Dom Martin and please do give the VIO-GLO Instagram a follow to keep updated!
Other corporate events have included performing (as myself!) for Volkswagen with Entourage at the Royal Lancaster Hotel as well as being invited back to perform at the IET Annual Dinner at Grosvenor House with André Saxman Brown as part of Bubble and Squeak Entertainment:
I also had a great time performing as part of an LED trio in Jersey for the HSBC Awards and a solo electric violin show at the Intercontinental Park Lane for the Institute of the Motor Industry.
Although we’re not into wedding season yet, it’s a been a joy to be involved in some beautiful winter weddings this year at venues such as Braxted Park Estate in Essex, The Bedford, Balham and Shottle Hall in Derbyshire - where we even had snow! There were also some adorable younger guests intrigued by the electric violin. I really love it when children show an interest in the violin:
Photo credit: Christopher Bunce
Most recently I had the joy of playing at the 40th birthday party of magician extraordinaire Lee Smith and his mate Jay at Redcoats Farmhouse in Hitchin. What a super night improvising over DJ along to Disco Nyts and sax player Chris! It had all the ingredients of a great party; great music, great food, Chewbacca and some Stormtroopers:
Photo credits: Tom Cubis - www.cubis.photo
As it happens, I had planned to be on holiday in Australia for the next two weeks, but we had to cancel our plans the day of our flight due to the two-week quarantine period the Australian government introduced for all tourists. Hey ho - staycation it is! It’s now just a case of waiting to hear back from the travel companies to see if we can get a refund, but we consider ourselves very lucky that we didn’t get all the way there to be quarantined the whole time.
If you’re reading this as someone who has booked a wedding/event over the next coming weeks/months, I realise this must be a very stressful time for you. Please get in touch if you have any concerns and are thinking of postponing any existing booking with me within the next month. I am keen to be as flexible as possible during this difficult time. If you are considering postponing, I realise it may be hard to find another date that will work with all of your suppliers and the venue, so you may end up finding that a weekday could be the most viable option, but obviously I understand it depends on so many factors!
If you’re reading this as a fellow musician/self-employed person, the effects of this pandemic will no doubt be affecting you financially. Here are some links I've been sent which may help, depending on your situation:
Personally, I’ll be opening up my bookings to online violin teaching, remote recording work, and hopefully filming some live violin performances from home over the next coming weeks, so stay tuned! It’s difficult to know what will happen and many musicians will find themselves with a lot of time on their hands. From my own experience of spending time at home over the last few days and going a bit stir-crazy, here’s some of my own advice to avoid cabin fever:
Have a routine! I’ve started doing a home work-out every morning. I’ve found that this really helps to clear my head and get me to focus on what I want to achieve that day. I find Joe Wicks’ YouTube videos very motivational!
Reach out to your family/friends/neighbours and check how they’re doing. I’ve actually found I’m talking to my family a lot more over Skype/WhatsApp/Facebook Messenger etc. It’s also a great excuse to use the Facebook Messenger games and filters on Messenger chat which are a HOOT (see picture ->)
Play and create music! Music is proven to benefit overall well-being, help regulate emotions, and create happiness and relaxation in everyday life. If ever there was a time to get really great at an instrument, it’s now. You may even want to book some online lessons :) I’m personally going to be addressing some gross scales & arpeggios that I haven’t looked at since music college…
Start that creative project/admin task/thing you’ve been putting off because you didn’t have ‘time’. I’ve got MANY tasks which I’ve told myself I must use this time for. One boring example being the dreaded T-word. Yes, I said it, why not get that tax return ready IN ADVANCE?!… Ok, sorry, don’t kill me.
Try to limit your time scrolling on social media. The general inundation of news at the moment can feel a little overwhelming and I find myself feeling more positive when I’ve spent time away from my phone.
Keep washing those hands ;)
Sending love and support to everyone right now during these difficult times! Stay safe and let’s have a big old knees-up when this is all over <3