Updated: Dec 10, 2020
I am the product of 2 people who love music and have done since they were young. Growing up in my house where my Mum would sing to my brother and I because music explained her feelings better than she could. Michael Bolton’s 1993 song ‘Soul of My Soul’ was a regular in house. My Dad’s record collection was (and still is) absolutely enormous. He would often play his records and has always been incredibly protective of his collection. I didn’t write a blog for Mothering Sunday and I probably should’ve. I cannot pay homage to my dad without also paying homage to my Mum and vice-versa. Both of my parents have had incredible influence on my journey throughout my life & career and I cannot be more grateful if I tried.
I’m starting this bit by saying “Sorry, Mum”, because although I’m a mummy's boy, my mum has made incredible sacrifices and supported above and beyond even what is expected of a Mum, my Dad has arguably been the main influencer in my career to date. I cannot remember how many times I was wanting to quit college and my Dad would be the one who’d push me to do better and not quit. It was the connection we had through music that helped music become my career of choice.
Connecting Via Music
My Dad and I have had few common interests growing up. We were both avid football fans but in very different ways. I am blue, my dad’s a red (I’m Manchester City and my Dad’s Manchester United if you don’t already know). Music was something my Dad and I were able to bond on quite easily without it turning into a debate or one of us going in a mood because one of our teams would lose (naming no names… Dad… Ok me!). At a young age I was able to go to some concerts and gigs with my Dad and share that experience with him.
In his late teens/early 20s my dad regularly went to gigs averaging between 1 and 2 gigs a week. He was frequent at The Hacienda, Students Union, Academy, Apollo and various other venues across the city, even travelling cross country to see gigs seeing acts from Bryan Adams and Bruce Springsteen (the less spoken about the latter the better apparently), to James, The Stone Roses, Inspiral Carpets and so many more. (When I met Martyn Walsh - Bass Player for Inspiral Carpets - not so long ago and chatted with him about business and other things, my Dad had a fangirl moment which was hilarious). When he met my Mum, though he still went to gigs (often with my mum) he went a lot less. His only regret throughout that time is that he missed out on the chance to see The Specials.
The more I started to want a career in music, the more my dad and I would speak about gigs. The more he told me stories of his gigging days and the experiences he had as a fan. Every time I’ve got behind a desk at a gig, one of my main thoughts is to do everything I can to give the crowd the experiences my dad had, and make it a gig that my Dad would absolutely love.
In my early teens I really got into Hip-Hop. Pop Music growing up featured rappers a lot, but no real Hip-Hop. When a friend of mine 'blue-toothed' (may have even been infrared) Eminem’s ‘Crack A Bottle’ ft. Dr. Dre & 50 Cent from the album ‘Relapse’ I fell in love with Eminem, which started a love of Hip-Hop. I always thought my Dad’s mountain of records were all Rock with a couple of random ones snuck in - but upon learning about my new found enthusiasm for Hip-Hop, I found myself having records put in front of me. The most memorable one will always be De La Soul ‘3 Feet High & Rising’ with the comment “THIS is real Hip-Hop.” Although, I am very confident that if given a choice between just sitting and listening to an album or going to a gig, my dad would pretty much always choose gigs, despite the size of his record collection. No matter what I want to listen to or do, there is always a record for it.
At the point of moving on from DJing, I was starting to produce music. When I started producing, I was predominantly producing Dubstep and Electronic Dance Music. This was not my Dad's forte, but every song I made I asked for my Dad’s opinion. At first, I expected some snarky, proper Dad reply like ‘that’s not real music’ and for him to whip out a record to show me what ‘real music’ is. But, he didn’t. He was often very honest that he didn’t know Dubstep, didn’t listen to it but always tried to hold an objective view and answer what he liked and didn’t like honestly, without trying to change the music. Now, as an engineer (as I have been for a few years now), my Dad is always my first go-to when I need an opinion. I am part of MULTIPLE Facebook Groups for Sound Engineers that share, talk about and offer opinions on songs and mixes and though I use them they always come AFTER Dad. It’s my Dad’s opinion that has often mattered most when I need it.
As I mentioned earlier, my Dad would take me to gigs when I was younger. I will always remember getting the bus, tram or even train (when we lived for a few years in Urmston) and making our way to some gigs in town. Getting on my Dad’s shoulders, arriving at the venue and joining the queue of excited people ready for a good concert. Dancing around and singing. I may add that these events were mostly religious concerts so all of these events were family friendly and I was very welcome in going. My Dad took me to my first football game(s) and for a few years they were Man United games at Old Trafford which was annoying (but they were experiences with my Dad - I also learned how to keep my mouth shut and just simply enjoy football VERY quickly) and my first gig(s). Thankfully he also took me to my first City game at the Etihad when I was 9 too.
Those are experiences unlike any other. Live sports is not the same as watching it on the TV as live music isn’t the same as listening to an album and though I love both experiences, there’s just something extra special about experiencing these events live, in person. The fact I was able to experience them with my Dad, the one person I could love football and music live with is something nobody can take away. My favourite experience that we have shared though will be taking my Dad to see The Specials. After nearly 20 years of wishing he could see them, I took my Dad to Manchester Academy for our first gig together in 10 or so years, ticking an item off of both of our Bucket Lists.
Becoming a Dad myself
In April 2017, I became a Dad. That is a totally different type of inspiration and influence. Becoming a father changed everything for me. Though I spent the first 2 years of my daughters life in a ‘normal job’, being a father was the last piece of inspiration I needed to pull my finger out of my arse and chase my dreams. My daughter is my biggest inspiration, my motivation, my drive and determination. I want to prove to my daughter that you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it and work hard enough. Although I may not be in the exact place I want to be, I'm in a FAR better place than before. I also want to give my daughter the experiences my Dad gave me. I want to give my daughter the support my Dad gave me.
I cannot underestimate the power that little girl holds in making me a better person and more successful. I cannot underestimate how much of what I do is down to her and what she doesn’t have a clue she’s given me. Owning a Recording Studio and being a professional engineer is everything I’ve wanted for a long time but being a Daddy is on another level.
I owe so much of what I have and do to my dad. Without my Dad this would never have been possible and I would probably be some boring lad in a random job and just plodding through life. I believe I am a product of the best qualities in both my parents (mostly, some bad ones too - this nose didn’t appear by accident). My Mum is a confident, strong, determined and fierce woman who won’t take no for an answer if she believes there’s even a 0.1% chance of a yes. She can take shit and throw it straight back when she needs to. My Dad is a pretty laid back, caring character who has always wanted just simply what’s best for his children. He has always worked hard to provide, done what needs to be done and made it back to be right there whenever he’s needed or wanted. As a father myself I can only hope and try that I will follow suit. But, this Father’s Day, I want to say a huge thank you to my Dad. Who’s played one of the biggest roles in getting my shit together and pursuing my career. I may not say it as much as I should or show you the right ways at times, but I love you and I owe you for this. Thank you for everything.
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