I hope you’re well and the week has been kind to you. Here we are, at the start of yet another week and it’s another opportunity to make magic happen in your own special way. I know that we’re all going through our respective trials and tribulations, so be kind, be caring and whatever happens remain as positive as can be. Now let’s see how much of my own advice I can take!
Thanks so much to the many of you that reached out to compliment me on last week’s blog. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the read and that it resonated with you. I’ll keep them coming if you keep on reading. I was talking with a very close friend of mine this week. He was very complimentary about the blog and said that the part where I spoke about the seconds of our lives ticking away really connected with him. He is at a crossroads regarding his career and we were discussing life and the importance of finding a balance between what we have to do and what we want to do. He’s a very smart guy, very driven and has an amazing family network around him, so I’m confident he’ll figure it out. That’s all any of us really want to do, figure it out. I myself am trying to do just that everyday. He mentioned to me just how important it was for us to have conversations, as they are a form of therapy. This is so true, and it made me realise why I’m enjoying writing this blog, as this is a weekly conversation I have with myself and then share with you and that for me is very therapeutic.
This week got off to a pretty tough start with a crash back to reality! After spending such a lovely weekend in Perugia I was back to work and my first day back saw me placed on a training course in Harrow...now I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Harrow and if you’re from Harrow then no offence is intended here, but let’s just say it’s far from paradise...I went from this…
Now you tell me, how am I suppose to keep my spirits up? The chill is now in the air and the seasons are clearly changing. John Snow warned us and now we can clearly see “Winter is coming”
In preparation for the release of my next single (Upon a Lifetime, Available for pre-order now) I would be shooting a music video and so in order to get myself looking sharp I went to see my barber. The relationship between a man and his barber is a very important one. I always wanted to have the kind of relationship with my barber where I wouldn’t have to even tell him what I wanted. I’d just sit down and he’d know what to do and I’m happy to say, I have this now and my barber is a wizard with the clippers. I’ve been sporting this high top, which has continued to get higher and higher and so, to prevent myself becoming a bit of joke #KidnPlay I thought it wise to take a bit off the top. However, the way I communicated this to my barber left a lot to be desired. My words were “Can you take this down half a level” but what I think he heard was, “Can you take this down to half the level”. Can you see where the misunderstanding may have occurred? So now my hair is much lower than intended. I actually didn’t tell him any of this at the time, I just accepted that this would be my new hairstyle for the time being. After that first bit of hair came off, there was no turning back, so I thought it best to just relax and accept it. One thing I learnt a while ago is to take ownership for things, whether you think it’s your fault or not, don’t get into the habit of blaming others and one thing I’m definitely not going to do is blame my barber! The man is great at what he does and I truly value his trade and skill...And you know what? Everything happens for a reason, maybe it was time for a change and to be fair, I like it! Thank you bro for giving me what I didn’t even know I wanted.
(I think my barber actually reads my blog, so bro, if this is the first you’re hearing of this just know it’s all love and you’re still my Barber! See you soon for another cut)
Shooting a music video is a stressful process, even more so when you’ve had little time to prepare due to being so busy with travel and work, but once you’ve committed to doing it and the equipment is booked and the director is so great at what he does and has come all the way from Swindon to shoot the video for you, then you simply have to find a way to make it happen. Directing this video for me would be the talented Joe Constante. Joe trained as a dancer and growing up he tells me he always had a love for art. He sees the ability to direct, film and edit as another form of choreography. I imagine he was a great dancer because the man clearly has skill when it comes to directing and dreaming up concepts. However, two days before the shoot we still hadn’t secured one of the venues and were is desperate need of a smoke machine. I made some calls regarding a location but had no luck, plus it would be tough to find somewhere that would be happy for us to use a smoke machine...currently a smoke machine that we didn’t have. I decided to just order the smoke machine on Amazon rather than try to find somebody with one. It would be delivered the night before the shoot. Talk about walking a fine line. As for the venue, well, I had to bite the bullet and use the only location available. My flat! It was 9:30pm on Tuesday evening when the smoke machine arrived, thank god it got here and thank god for Amazon Prime, I knew that subscription would come in handy...but I’d only know whether the machine worked come Wednesday morning as the production team would be bringing the liquid needed to operate it. Things could so easily have fallen apart...but they didn’t. I managed to clear the living room, the smoke machine worked, everyone arrived on time and we were able to accomplish all that we set out to do, just in time for me to put my flat back together and head off to work a night shift. Day 1 of filming was complete.
The following day we would be shooting more scenes for the music video. This meant that I had to make it to Kingston University for 11am, the only problem is that I finished work at 9:30am and that’s provided I didn’t get any overtime call outs so I was hoping and praying that the stars would align for me and I would get out of work on time if not early. Luckily they did align and someone came in early to relieve me. I had a shower, got dressed and raced over to Kingston Uni. Barbara Mendes who is a powerhouse of a woman and has also been working with me on this video organised a studio for us at the University, free of charge and it was amazing! The lights, the space, everything. Joe who I mentioned is the director for this video had been working wonders yesterday and so I had total confidence in his ability to deliver today. Once we finished recording we decided to do a little interview about the track, Barbara asked “how would you describe ‘Upon a Lifetime’ in one word” and before I could even gather my thoughts Joe said “It’s the most beautiful painful thing you will ever experience” I was blown away by his answer. What blew me away was not just how perfect an answer it was but the fact that this was someone else talking about a song I had written, not me talking about my own work, but someone else...do you know what that means? It means that the music has done it’s job! It has been created, shared and felt by the listener, Joe felt it so much so that he was able to find those words to describe it in one sentence and soon enough you’ll all be able to feel it too.
(It’s 3am on Friday morning and I’m on a night shift. When on night shifts we can rest between 12 - 6:45am. As I slept a dream had just started where I was on a bus and two women had come over to sit on my lap, I said to them…“Well, now I’ve got my hands full” and at that very moment the call bells went down, I was woken up and we were called out to an incident. I’ve just got back to the fire station, wish I could return to that dream right now)
It’s Friday today...Friday the 13th, you know what that means right. That’s right! ‘Upon a lifetime’ is now available to pre-order. Come on people! Get behind your boy! Have I ever dissapointed you??? Ok, depending on who’s reading this maybe I have once or twice but trust me, you won’t be disappointed by this song, so please do support. Friday also saw me get back into the world of comedy, as I performed at my first gig for a few weeks. It was for a night called Riffin at the Griffin in Vauxhall for ZAM comedy. I tried out a few new pieces of material just to see how they worked with the crowd. Apparently, in comedy the idea is to write a routine and then keep working that same routine before moving on to new material, but I keep getting so many new ideas that I want to try out so every now and then I give them a try. I think one of the major keys with comedy is confidence. Even if you bomb or fall flat on your face, just do it confidently and that will help a whole lot.
I have a question for you...When’s the last time you heard the bird’s sing? Can you remember the exact time and place? This is a question I ask myself from time to time. It’s a test I have with myself to see how present I was during the day. Some days I honestly cannot remember whether I heard a bird sing at all, however, on Saturday I awoke, lay in bed, realised for the first time in a while I had no reason to rush and there it was...the sound of bird song. I lay there for a while just enjoying the moment. Moments like these need to be savoured more often.
Later that day I went to play football for the first time in months. It was the first game to be played since Ian died. The game was played in good spirit and all of the guys seemed to be coping well. My team lost 10-6 but the score line flatters the opposition. I mean we went 3-0 down and then rallied back to 3-2 before conceding again to make it 4-2 before our water break, after the water break we managed to tie the game at 5-5 but we made silly mistakes at the back and just couldn’t put our chances away. I was directly at fault for at least 2 or 3 of the goals conceded and although I scored one, I missed a handful of chances too, to be fair, we all missed chances. It just didn’t come together for us this week but it was a great bit of exercise and competition.
That evening I went to the theatre to see a play called ‘Chiaroscuro’. It’s a play that focuses on the struggles of black women who are gay and is directed by Lynette Linton. Lynette is my cousin and over the last 10 years I have watched her growth as a writer and director. From putting on her own shows to now being the artistic director at Bush Theatre. I’m extremely proud of her and her achievements and I know that there are much bigger things in store for her. The play will be running until October 5, so do get down to see it!
I ended my week attending an event called ‘Connected by Humanity’. This event was dreamt up by Richard Faulkus, a friend of mine who I’ve known for a few years now. Connected by Humanity aims to bring people together of all backgrounds, races, sexualities, genders etc and provide them with a safe space to speak on various topics. This month’s topic was ‘forgiveness’. Richard asked me to come along so that we could together sing a song for his mother, as it was her birthday, but whilst there I decided to share with the group and so it’s only right that I share with you too.
5 years ago I ended a long term relationship with my then girlfriend. We had tried to make it work but we lived on opposite sides of the world and neither of us were prepared to make the move for the other person. A few weeks after we broke up she called to tell me that her brother had been diagnosed with leukaemia, sadly he did not beat the disease. I remember feeling so helpless, I remember thinking that this was the one time she needed me the most and yet I could not be there for her. I have lived with this guilt for the last 5 years and am still yet to forgive myself for not being there. The things about forgiveness is that no matter how many people try to console you or tell you that there is nothing you could have done, it doesn’t change how you feel inside. Ultimately, you have to learn how to forgive yourself and I have no idea how to do that. All any of us can do is embrace the life we have and try our best to do what we think is right and most importantly not beat ourselves up too much.
Well, this brings me to the end of another blog. I won’t be watching Match of the day 2 tonight after Arsenal squandered a 2 goal lead! Yes…I’m an Arsenal fan! What a ridiculous defence we have. Anyway, thanks again for reading. Have a fantastic week and be safe.