This week we are joined by a familiar face at The Old Courts, the award winning John Anderton has stopped by to tell us what he's been up to, his music making performance and his views on the music scene in Wigan.
Lets start with introducing yourself to our readers, tell us a little bit about you?
Hello, my name is John Anderton and I’m a singer/songwriter originally from London but now living in Wigan. I’ve lived here for the past 30 years so I guess you’d call me an adopted Northerner!
Before we talk about your recent work and upcoming projects, talk to us about your early work and where it all began.
I've had the privilege of being in a couple of bands over the years, most notably ‘The Seagulls and ‘The Lonestars’ both of which were primarily cover bands playing the pubs and clubs in and around the North West, they were fantastic bands (if I do say so myself) with some top musicians and were great fun to be involved with. But as my songwriting has progressed over the last few years I’ve found myself venturing out on my own more often. This definitely has its downsides of course not least being that you no longer have the camaraderie of your band mates, but on the upside it’s definitely more rewarding to hear the positive reactions to something which you have created. I still meet up with my old band mates so I’m sure there’ll be a reunion of sorts somewhere down the line.
You certainly keep yourself busy John, with no sign of stopping, what have you been up to?
Just recently I’ve had some Radio plays of my acoustic album ‘Songs From The Kitchen Table’ which seems to have gone down really well, and has lead to an invitation on the 15th December for me to do a live interview and to play a few tracks down at Time FM 107.5 in London, can’t wait!
Venturing on from being in cover bands to working on original material, what or who influences your work?
I've never been completely comfortable labelling my music, if only because I’m not totally sure what label I’d put on it! But I grew up listen to lots of Motown, especially Stevie Wonder who I’ve seen live on numerous occasions, so I guess you could say he sparked my first musical interests which have stayed with me to this day. More recently I love listening to the versatility of artists such as David Gray, Ben Rector & Augustana, but if I’m honest I’ll listen to anything that’s good!
As a singer/songwriter, you can tell you invest into the songs you write, do you find this quite exposing when performing?
I think it’s possibly true that any artist whatever form of art they use, can only truly produce a piece of art that they can be proud of if it’s come from personal experience and means something to them, and isn’t manufactured just for the sake of producing something. So I suppose at times that inevitably is going to make you feel more exposed than others but I’m fine with that. As a singer/songwriter you can only hope that people take the time to listen to new music, they can then decide for themselves whether they like it or not. There are lots of talented artists about who just need an audience to support and encourage them, so if I had one thing to ask it’d be for more people to support live music!
It’s clear you love to perform, would you say that it is your favourite part?
Without question. performing live is my true passion, there really is no better feeling than playing an original song to an appreciative audience, not only does it give you a buzz on the night, but it inspires you to write even more songs, it’s definitely not something that I’ll be giving up in a hurry.
Talk us through your music making process. What inspires the lyrics, do the lyrics come first or the melodies, how do you write, do you have to be in a certain frame of mind, do you allocate time specifically to do this? Do you think about how people will relate to the song?
That's a big question! for me the inspiration for a song can come at anytime, I suppose a great example of this is a song I wrote recently called ‘Nothing To Say’ which came about after the revelations about how social media shares our information. It really isn’t typical of the type of song I’d normally write but it just came to me so I had to run with it! Other songs have taken months to come together, with lyrics being added as and when they emerge. I tend to jot down words or lines which I think can be used at some point and refer back to them if I’m struggling with a song. I actually don’t plan the melody’s but I do spend a lot of time just playing random chords on the guitar waiting for something to happen. A song I’m particularly proud of is ‘Tonight’ which is on the ‘Songs From The Kitchen Table’ album. It came about while I was preparing to play at a wedding in Yorkshire, I asked the couple if they had a favourite song they would like me to perform on the day, they didn’t have one in mind so they asked me if I could maybe write something for them. (No pressure) they gave me some of their vows to work with and that became the main theme of the song, I think it worked really well and I know it’s been used at a number of weddings since, so yeah really proud of that one. I think someone once said “All songs are already written, but it’s the job of the artist to find them”
Whats your view on the music scene in Wigan?
I’ve been involved in running open mic sessions for a number of years now, most recently The Live Lounge sessions at The Old Courts, and I've seen lots of new and exciting talent emerging, so there really is plenty of reasons to be excited about the future music scene in Wigan.
What does your usual Sunday look like?
For the most part my Sundays are pretty chilled out, just like they should be. I gig every other week in the Bailiff Bar so that’s always something to look forward to.
We've had the pleasure of you being somewhat a resident artist here at The Old Courts, what's your fondest memory?
I've had the pleasure of playing at some fantastic events at The Old Courts, whether as a band or as a solo artist. But I guess my highlight has to be when I was ask to support ‘Roachford’ (Cuddly Toy, Family Man) during the North West leg of his UK tour, that was a top night!
You recently took home the Open Mic UK ‘Judges Showcase’ award at the finals in Manchester, tell us about that and what it means to you?
It really was an amazing night with lots of talented performers from all over the UK, so I was amazed and a little surprised when I was chosen to receive the ‘Showcase’ award during the regional finals at Media City in Manchester. Even more so as the award came directly from the judges on the night who were made up of record produces, artist agents and the singer/songwriter Shammy. The upshot of the award was to meet up with their production company in Sheffield to see where we could go from there. (Watch this space) It also got me an invite to ‘Time Radio 107.5 FM’ when I’ll be playing a few songs and talking about my music which I’m really excited about. That’ll be happening on the 15th December at 11am, and as the station covers London & Essex it’ll be just like going home for me. So all in all it was a good night.
What’s it like to hear songs you have written and produced on the radio?
To hear one of your songs being played on the radio is amazing, I’ve had quite a few plays of different songs now on various stations and I know it’s what every songwriter dreams of. For me it’s recognition and validation that you’re doing something right.
Thanks for joining us John, It's been an absolute pleasure to interview you for this weeks Sit Down Sunday.
You can find John's Facebook page by clicking here.
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