I’m a British based solo singer/songwriter with songs based around the piano and building layers of sound using a variety of instruments, both real and synthesised. Lyrics are hugely important to me and I love the poetry of Tom Waits, Patti Smith and British Band Elbow.
I’ve been on the road for 6 years, touring the far corners of the globe, and released two albums (“Hidden Song” and “Vanessa Knight Live at the Edinburgh Festival”) and two singles (“Love You More”, and “One More Year”), with another album on the way. My music has appeared in films, played around football stadiums and I was recently featured on NBCs “Jimmy Lloyd’s Songwriter Showcase”. My drummer has described my music as “Kate Bush meets 30 seconds to Mars” – which I will happily take!
- You can find me at www.vanessaknight.co.uk and all the usual music/social media sites – just search “Vanessa Knight” or go to:
1. Top three (or more) tips for new and emerging talent to stay afloat and last long term.
Do as much as you can yourself. You’re a singer? Learn to play an instrument enough to accompany yourself. A guitarist? Learn to sing enough to do your own material. You can always work with other people but the more you can do for yourself, the more opportunities you can create. Don’t be afraid to travel – there are gigs out there if you can perform but they might be more than a drive away and don’t apologise for being new to the game – one of the biggest revelations to me was that even established artists often feel like frauds, like a “real” musician will turn up one day and expose them. We all have insecurities as musicians but get over it, go out there and make as much music as you can.
2. What has been one of the toughest music related experiences you’ve faced?
Wow there have been a few – stuff sure happens on the road… There was the time when I finished a gig in the Caribbean and came outside to find two men fighting with machetes on the roof of my car. For real. But in more musical terms, I once arrived at a gig in Norway to discover the middle octave of the piano didn’t work – those 8 notes are pretty crucial in most songs. But hey, you work round it, and if you can overcome stuff like that it makes you even stronger (for when the notes actually do work).
3. How did you get through or deal with it?
With my kind of music – lots of loops recorded live and using different samples – little things are always going wrong, well I prefer the term “constantly evolving”, especially if I’ve had a stage whiskey or two but the trick is to recognise it, don’t show it on your face and think musically on your feet to make it work. This was hard at first, of course, but the more gigs you play the easier it is to deal with the unexpected. I love the spontaneity of live music and it can be great if a technical error means you play a song in a new way -often that’s where the best shows come from.
4. What did you learn?
If you don’t let anyone know that something is wrong, they’ll never know! I could explain to a crowd – “the voicings on my piano might sound strange because someone spilt a drink so middle C sticks…blah blah…” or I could just play the hell out of the notes I’ve got. Never apologise, just play better.
5. What music/entertainment related book, Blog, film or documentary would you recommend to inspire someone and why?
When I was 7 I was given “the Beatles live at the BBC” on a double cassette. I knew all the songs, but it was the first time I heard a band start and stop, doing different takes, making little changes and joking about. I listened to it constantly. I still love listening to demos of big artists, whatever the genre, to hear how they got to their final tracks.