YouTube, life and Chester Bennington

RIP Chester Bennington

Since the beginning of the year, I have been putting a fair amount of effort into posting content onto my YouTube channel. I have been teaching myself how to edit video and get the best out of a camera since following a number of interesting content creators on the platform. Obviously, my channel centres around music, which is what I do but I’m genuinely enjoying experimenting and even I can see an improvement since I started.

My videos consist primarily of acoustic and loop covers, along with some tutorials and gear reviews. The channel has kind of had to take a bit of a back seat with the summer season over here in Spain being in full swing but this week, I had a bit of spare time so I recorded covers of “Say You Won’t Let Go” by James Arthur, which I had to learn for a wedding last week and “I Miss You” by Blink 182. When I released the latter of these two, I heard the tragic news that Chester Bennington of Linkin Park had passed away at the young age of 41. I’m not sure why but this really hit me and so I wanted to do something on the channel in memory of him. I haven’t paid Linkin Park much attention in recent years, probably due to the fact that I tend to listen to more acoustic based music these days but as a teenager, I was a big fan. Anyway, I decided to post a cover of “Numb”, a song that I occasionally play an excerpt from in my live shows. It was an unrehearsed performance which, in hindsight, I probably should have put a bit more care into but I just wanted to get it out there.

That was yesterday and I woke up today to some truly beautiful comments and a view count of more than 10,000. The support that I have received on my channel so far has been overwhelming to say the least but nothing compared to the love for Chester and for my cover. The most amazing thing about it, ignoring the numbers, is how much reading these comments has made me feel much better about myself. I’ve always struggled to be happy with my abilities as a musician and a singer and find it hard to take support and criticism, whether positive or negative but this has truly given me a boost of positivity that I needed.

Anyway, as a direct result of all that has happened in the last couple of days, I intend to put much more effort into making my videos more regularly. It’s true that I have been extremely busy with gigs over the last 6 months but I do get days off in between so please stay tuned for more content from me. I have some cool ideas for new stuff so if you’d like to stay notified, go to http://tv.tweednelson.com and hit that subscribe button.

Until next time, take care!

Lee x 🙂

 

The Road to Rjukan

The Road to Rjukan

I am told on a regular basis that I should be concentrating my efforts on music. I don’t always take the statement seriously, I have to admit. I think part of the reason I still haven’t written and recorded my debut album is a lack of self belief. I have written some pieces which I think are ok but they still lack that thing which makes them a “great” song. The other part of why there is no “Lee Townsend Album” is a certain amount of laziness. I am sure that if I set my mind to it, I could write a decent bunch of songs and release them.

Anyway, last week, I went over to Norway to play three shows in a small town called Rjukan. I was asked if I would like to play there a few months back when my friend, Derrin played there. He passed on my details and I got the call so, of course, I accepted. Armed with my guitar, a loop pedal and my Canon G7X II digital camera, I set off with the intention of making a short, 15 minute VLOG about the trip. I filmed throughout the whole journey and during my time in Rjukan and ended up creating something much longer.

So let me present to you, my full on, 45 minute tour diary film, “The Road to Rjukan”…

Day 1 – Wednesday 22nd February 2017

Arriving at Málaga’s María Zambrano train station, I caught the high-speed “Ave” train to Madrid. From Madrid, I boarded another train to Madrid’s international airport, followed by a shuttle bus to terminal 2, which was where my flight would depart from. I arrived at terminal 2 just before midnight and had nearly a 7 hour wait before I could catch my plane. I had no hotel room. Just my guitar and 2 bags surrounding me on the terminal floor.

Day 2 – Thursday 23rd February 2017

I could finally leave Madrid! I checked in my guitar and boarded the flight before sleeping through virtually the entire journey. I am sure I must have been snoring loudly as when I awoke, I received some deathly stares from the other passengers. Once we had landed, I caught a bus from Oslo’s Gardermoen airport to the main bus station in Oslo itself. I then transferred to a bus heading for Notodden before changing again to a new bus going to Rjukan. When I arrived in Rjukan, I headed to “Huset Pub”, my venue for the weekend and was greeted by Stian, the owner of the pub. He was very accommodating and served me my first Norwegian pint and we talked about life and music whilst listening to Jaimi Faulkner. I ate a pizza which was delicious and went off to bed.

I slept 13 hours straight…

Day 3 – Friday 24th February 2017

I woke up and went straight to the main square in Rjukan. I had heard that the town doesn’t get any sunlight in the winter months so the only natural heat the residents get is the sunlight which is bounced off the series of mirrors installed on the mountain top. These mirrors were installed for this very reason and I have to say, it is a weird sensation walking into the light there. Shortly after, I received a message from Stian offering to show me around. We went up to the ski slopes and checked out the ice climbers on the way back down. We also went up to the power station which creates something called “Hard Water” as a byproduct of it’s primary function. Hard Water is an essential ingredient when building certain types of bomb and for that reason, the plant was controlled by the Nazis during World War II. The Norwegian’s regained control of the power plant thanks to 7 soldiers, who took it back without killing a single person.

After our trip out, I received a call from Glenn, an ex-colleague of mine from Spain. He’s Norwegian and came down to stay for the weekend so we met up and had a chat before the first of my gigs in Huset Pub. The show went well. I got some great feedback from the crowd and was assured that the venue would be busier for me the following day.

Day 4 – Saturday 25th February 2017

Having got to bed at nearly 4am, I woke up at about 11:30. The afternoon show of the day was due to start at 3:30pm so I had time to go for a coffee before playing. The first show was really enjoyable and people seemed to be very happy with my performance.

Before the evening show, Glenn and I went for a kebab which was great. I then tackled the last of my concerts in Rjukan. It was a success once again and everyone told me how much they had enjoyed the weekend’s music.

Day 5 – Sunday 26th February 2017

Glenn very kindly offered to drive me the 260kms to the airport, saving me most of the travelling I had to do on the way in. Also, I flew straight back to Málaga which made the day much easier.

All in all, I had a great time in Norway and would definitely return. I plan to work hard on my first album whilst the experience is fresh in my head.

My Successful Career

Lee Townsend Success

It’s been a while since my last article so I thought it would be only fitting if I broke that silence with a blog post explaining my absence. This post is going to be loosely themed around the subject of success. Every so often, somebody will ask me what my ultimate goal is. I get asked whether I have ever considered auditioning for The X Factor and it sort of reminds me of that question you hear when you’re a kid: What do you want to be when you grow up? Now, I’m still not sure at what point you get to where you consider yourself a grownup but I’m pretty sure I still haven’t reached that particular milestone, despite getting ever closer to the age of 30.

Lee Townsend YoungThere was a point for a long time when I would have answered simply “I want to be a successful musician”. I mean, don’t we all? I think everyone who discovers a musical instrument dreams of one day being able use it to make a living. The thing is though, when can your achievements warrant the use of the word successful? When I was a kid, I used to have these fantasies of walking out on stage in front of a sea of people but the older I get, the more I think that success isn’t necessarily measured by the size of the crowd. I have lived in Spain for 10 years and have paid my bills and lived comfortably having, for the vast majority of that time, done so solely as a performing musician. I have had a handful of day jobs over the years which have allowed me to have a few luxuries but none of those jobs have been the typical mind numbing things just to earn some extra cash. More to the point, I have always had peace of mind knowing that my life isn’t ruled by holding down an office job.

Over these last couple of weeks, my girlfriend, Emily and I have been in the process of buying our first apartment together. This is the reason that my YouTube content has slowed down and that I have posted some cryptic tweets. It’s all really exciting and I’m feeling very fortunate to even be in the position where I have the possibility of owning a property. The paperwork involved in purchasing a property in Spain is absolutely outrageous and has made it seriously stressful but the whole process has got me thinking about success.

Tweed Nelson & Derrin NauendorfAs I said before, I remember having visions of success when I was younger but the more I think about it, the more I have pride in what I have achieved already. I mean, I have a decent local following and I’ve played support slots for The Bootleg Beatles and Derrin Nauendorf, both of which are very highly acclaimed acts in their fields. I have a wonderful girlfriend and now we’re buying a house together. We’ve even got a dog! The fact that I have been able to achieve all of this happiness without ever having the worry of losing a job is amazing.

Anyway, I just want to finish this update by saying thank you to anyone who has seen me play live or commented on a social media post or shared a video or shown any kind of interest whatsoever in what I do. You have helped to enable me to have the best job in the world. Let’s face it, how far can an artist get without an audience?

Hope to see you at a show in the near future!

Lee x

Norwegian Shows and Upcoming Stuff!

Lee Townsend Norway

Hey guys! So, what’s happened since I last wrote an update for my site? I got a dog, his name is Bobby… It rained, which was wet… Oh, and I’M GOING TO PLAY IN NORWAY!

Yes indeed people, I have booked 2 dates at Huset Pub in Rjukan, Norway. The first show that I’ll be doing is on Friday 24th February starting at 11:00pm. I’ll then be playing twice on Saturday 25th February, once at around 4:00pm for an afternoon set and then a late show from 11:00pm. These shows will be my first outside of the UK or Spain and have come about thanks to my good friend Derrin Nauendorf, who put me in contact with the venue. Playing in new places is always an exciting thing to do so being booked to play in a country I’ve never even visited is amazing. Having looked at the weather from the same time last year, I’m expecting the temperature to be around -10°C… Brrrrr!

After playing at so many weddings during the summer months, playing in Norway will be a breath of fresh air, especially considering that the gigs are open to the public. It’s not that I don’t enjoy playing weddings, it’s just that it can get monotonous playing in the same 4 venues every night, even though the audience is always different. Since being very young, it’s always been a goal of mine to play in as many different locations as possible and I hope that these dates will open up some more opportunities to follow that dream. Having booked these shows now, I fully expect to have a renewed urge to work on my own material to showcase at my upcoming gigs so stay tuned to my social network accounts for more news on that.

Aside from music, I have a few other projects going on too. The design and web development thing has always been a hobby of mine but I’m more recently growing quite fond of video production and film making, which is something I would like to develop as another skill to have. I intend to take a camera with me on my trip to Rjukan and to document my experience in a VLOG on my YouTube channel. If you haven’t subscribed to my channel yet, you can do so here to receive alerts when I post new uploads.

So all in all, I can’t wait to get away and meet some new people and play some music in a new place. It’s going to be an adventure and I hope you all stay tuned for the video diary when I publish it. Before I sign off, I’d just like to add that from this point on, I will start to build my mailing list in order to tell you guys about promotions and upcoming gigs. They will, of course, be posted also to my social network accounts and to my website but if you want to get exclusive stuff, please sign up now using the form on my homepage.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

Lee 🙂

Weddings in Nerja, Reminiscing and Shout Outs!

Wedding Band in Nerja

With the summer season finally over, I have a little more time to write a quick update. Some of you may have noticed that it’s been a while since I wrote anything on here and it wouldn’t surprise me if you’d concluded that I’d just lost interest in the blog section of my site. This isn’t the case by the way, I have been in the middle of a very busy schedule and have played more than 70 gigs since April. The season, once again, has been absolutely awesome but I have to admit, I’m definitely ready for a break. Despite the cliche of being a wedding singer, particularly since the release of the Adam Sandler film of the same name, the feedback I get year after year makes it the best job in the world.

Aside from playing live, I’ve been working at developing The Box Drum Band along with the other guys in the band, along with having a play around with some original ideas. Some of those are actually turning into half decent songs. I went through a bit of an Oasis phase a coulee of weeks ago and decided to listen to every one of their albums back to back. Back when I started to learn to play the guitar, I was the biggest Oasis fan ever. I tried to emulate Noel Gallagher in every way I could and even went to school dressed as the man himself on world book day. Anyway, when I got around to Oasis’ third album, “Be Here Now”, I realised that it was directly responsible for me picking up the guitar in the first place. I mean, I would definitely have tried to learn anyway but I vividly remember the day the album was released in 1997. I remember getting home with my parents from the record shop and playing the album start to finish. The sound of the aeroplane engines roaring into life before the opening track, “D’you know what I mean” still gives me goosebumps to this day. A few days later, my dad caught me miming along to the album and he remarked how my strumming hand was already spot on. Being a musician himself, he put a guitar in my hands, taught me how to play some basic chords and that was it, I was hooked.

Nerja Weddings By SonyaBack to the wedding season in Nerja… I want to thank everyone who booked me this year. It really means so much that you choose me over all the other wedding bands in Spain to play on your big day. I’d also like to thank the various wedding planners I’ve worked for as they do an amazing job making sure the day runs smoothly. In particular, I want to thank Sonya Casey as she gives me by far the most work throughout the year and she picks the most amazing team of people to work with. So anyway, I’ve rambled on about nothing which is what I do best. While I’m on the subject of weddings and before I finish this update post, let me just remind you of my Private Events page. If you’re interested in booking me for any private function, please visit leetownsendmusic.com. On that page, you’ll find various bits of information about what I can offer.

So that’s it for this post. Nothing really very exciting but I just felt that it was about time I posted another update. I’m hoping not to leave it another 6 months before the next one!

Until next time!

Lee x

Nerja Fundraiser Show

I was asked late last week if I could play for a special fundraiser show in memory of Davey Fraser, who sadly passed away in Nerja recently. Davey’s family need to get back to the UK so that they can continue with their lives surrounded by the people who mean the most to them.

This will be a one-off show on Friday 22nd April at El Varadero, Nerja and will consist of performances from Black Sheep, Maika Lavera and myself. I will start the event at around 7:30pm, followed by the other acts throughout the early evening.

I think this is an important cause so if you can make it, please do show your love and support for Davey’s family and help them to get on with their lives. Tickets cost €10 and can be purchased either on the door or by calling Aisling on (+34) 653 36 71 93.

13055817_10209115434980999_3938158372222218799_o