‘Sunday 6 o’ clock’ is the story of my early forties. It’s been an insecure time and life has seemed more out of control than usual. As my son becomes an adult, my daughter leaves home, and I come to terms with my father’s illness, the big changes in my life have seemed like a metaphor for what the world has been going through with the pandemic. There is a grieving of the old way of life, a struggle for air and eventually an acceptance of a new identity. Whilst, as a parent, this has been a time of privilege and grace, my album comes at a time when we take a collective breath and try to answer the questions ‘who am I now?’ and ‘who will I be afterwards?’.
The concept behind the album relates to a moment in time. Sunday, 6 o’ clock was a time mentioned to me by a friend. She had an idea of a 6pm Sunday meeting that could happen worldwide – a sort of meditation for world peace. I loved the idea and tried so hard to keep the appointment but, being pulled in different directions, life always got in the way. This was reflected in my musical life as creativity became more of a slow burn than the fire of my twenties and thirties, and song ideas were hurriedly put into my voice recorder to develop later. ‘Sunday 6 o’ clock’ is a beautiful thing to emerge from an intense time, and I hope listeners might feel a sense of unity with the themes of metamorphosis, regeneration, resilience and devotion.
It was all written, my album, but I needed help to get through the final push. I contacted producer/multi-instrumentalist Sam Hall in December 2020 to ask if he would make my songs more ‘expansive’. I knew what sound I wanted but didn’t have the skills to do it. I hadn’t worked with Sam before but as a songwriter himself, he instinctively seemed to know what the songs needed, and his fresh perspective breathed life and energy into the project. It was an exciting experience to send my songs to him and have them returned to me whole. Receiving these newly arranged songs one by one was a fix that gave me purpose throughout the winter lockdown. It was a lesson in trust, too.
Sam is not only a master of production but also plays many instruments. On the album you will hear guitar, clarinet, cello, bass, saxophone and synthesiser. I will soon be releasing an interview with Sam discussing his approach and the story behind our collaboration. With each song, Sam asked me to describe the meaning so his arrangements would tell the same story as the lyrics. The mix of electric and acoustic sounds is integral to the sound of the album and is expertly woven through each song.
Many musicians have struggled to find motivation and joy in the last year and if it wasn’t for Sam I am not sure the album would have been finished this early, if at all. Deep down though, I knew I would always regret it if I didn’t see the project completed. After all, my albums and songs have always told the story of my life and I didn’t want to miss out this important time of change.
My grandfather artist said it always made him happy when someone liked his paintings enough to hang it on their wall. I feel the same with my music and hope the album resonates, not least because of the beautiful soundscapes. As ever, it is the quality of connection with others that matters more to me than the quantity, and I hope you will like it enough to ‘hang it on your wall’…
Sunday 6 o’clock will be released Sunday 13th June 2021 (at 6pm, of course)