It is such a BEAUTIFUL day. The sun is shining, the coffee I’m drinking is amazing as I slowly wake up in this beautiful hotel garden. I’m feeling super positive after a series of live shows I’ve just played. One of which was LIVE on the radio with the BBC. I wanted to write a blog to remember my experience in years to come & to share it with you. I’ve written this blog in a ‘Once Upon a Time’ story style. Mainly to amuse myself… I usually don’t get past 500 words in my blogs, but today feels like it could be the day! Lets go.
Chapter One – The Car Park Debacle. Imagine a scorching hot UK day (we don’t get get days like this very often, so when we do; I’m super grateful). I made my way to Coventry, UK and arrived in what I believed to be an ordinary car park in which the BBC had instructed me was the best & closest car park local to their town centre studio. I went to pay at the pay station & realized I needed a student card. (Since when has this been a thing by the way? Student only car parks? What about those of use who used to be A* students ay?! hehe. I digress). I’m a big fan of problem solving, so decided to remedy the situation. Imagine if you will. I was in the boiling heat making friends with students in a random car park in the middle of a city ahead of performing live on the radio for the BBC. (I mean, this is my life. Often I stop & think, Wow, how do I get myself into these situations). Anyway, my new student friends were awesome & lent me their student card. They even helped me sort the meter, I gave them the dolla for the parking and they sorted everything for me & gave me the ticket. How kind. Genuine thank you to Cov Uni students for reminding me that not every 20+ year old is a love islander. (Seriously don’t get me started on love island! ha!) Finally, I parked, secured a ticket & headed off ‘map in hand’ to find BBC Coventry and Warwickshire.
Chapter Two – Did you bring all these people?! So after a short walk in the sunshine I arrived at my BBC destination. The location is at Priory Row which is a square surrounded by food shops (including Nando’s, love Nando’s). As I walked towards the BBC building I saw a guy dressed in a monk costume loudly educating a large group of youngsters about Coventry’s history. I was early for my performance so sat on a bench nearby & listened to the random educational monk. Did you know, quite a few famous people are from Coventry including: Martin Atkins, Gillian Barber etc. (Apparently I learnt some local history that day too). Anyway the monk & group were very close to the BBC studios. When the right time came, I headed into the BBC studio & as I did, I was greeted by a BBC lady exclaiming: “Did you bring all those people with you?” Thankfully I said no. I thought this was such a compliment though, she thought little old me would have a fan group outside the door. How amazing would that be! I am proud to know a LOT of people through my musical adventures including many primary & secondary schools but never would I ever consider that a school full of people would be outside a building to visit me. haha. I like that she thought I was that popular though, you never know… one day… maybe, but for now I’m quite happy in my little musical world. Working hard, owning my craft while making some solid pocket money & building some unforgettable memories.
Chapter Three – The performance. This is my favorite chapter, it’s the action part of the story & perhaps the part I would like to remember most when I look back on my musical history. As I sit down in the studio after catching up with the radio host Brody Swain, I was presented with several mics by Eddie the legendary BBC sound engineer while he put together a studio live rig for me. Eddie is a legend not just because he made me sound good on the radio but because he so very kindly sent me all the mixes of the records I sang that day. I have 3 new live records from the BBC to share with you guys (at some point) because of Eddie. So huge respect and thanks to him for putting in the extra effort which will hugely benefit me & my audience in the future. RIGHT! Enough sharing of the love… lets MOVE ON!
After sound check I proceeded to be on-air interviewed with Brody. Really nice guy. I actually remember being a youngster stood on a big stage in Warwick at Christmas. 1 of 2 gigs that night & briefly meeting Brody ahead of my live set. I remember him calling out my name to the crowd saying “Matt Bate will be live on stage with us shortly” after Brody said my name a big cheer came from the audience (Thank you so much for that by the way!) Anyway… he realised that my name got a massive cheer so he just kept saying it every time he could. Which made me chuckle… and also made a very humble musician, more humble! So that’s my first ever memory of Brody… The nice guy who got people to cheer my name loads. Then years later I’m sat with him following up after entertaining the masses for their ‘Biggest Weekend’ fringe festival event, thinking to myself… I know this man from somewhere. Needless to say, the above story clicked about 1 minute into the interview & suddenly I was filled with that positive memory & the simple thought: My gosh, the difference a few years make.
Brody’s questions were great. Some radio hosts batter their interviewees for ‘entertainment’ purposes (this has thankfully never happened to me, but you hear it all the time on some radio shows). I am a big believer in lifting people up and growing together, rather than tearing people down to look tall. Brody’s positive interview style is a testament to this quote. In fact he branded us ‘Cheeky Chappies Together’ on a recent twitter post after the show as it is apparent that we both have a fun, slightly mischievous sense of humor! haha!
The interview itself covered my time working with the BBC for their festival & what we got up to during that time. We discussed my next big live events, & also my recent release of a charity single ‘Be Who You Want To Be’ to raise money for Relate & Cancer Research. Between the interview questions I performed 3 live songs. One of which was the aforementioned original charity single & two were fun lively covers. After the show sound engineer Eddie said I did a good job & that he really enjoyed the set. This is a huge compliment coming from a sound engineer as they hear EVERYTHING, every single detail in perfect precise clarity. Brody kindly said I came over in a very warm & personable way to the listeners & he loved my interview & performance. So that was really positive feedback. A couple of people working for the BBC including a lady called Emma came into the studio after the show as well to say they enjoyed my music. These were all in my eyes really lovely compliments & I am so grateful for the feedback. Many people at home sent me emails & social media messages to say they enjoyed my story & performance, so this was really lovely too. Thank you. I felt very accepted & appreciated.
Chapter Four – It’s a wrap! After we finished chatting I packed up and said my goodbye’s. Brody Swain told me to send some records into his introducing show for him to play on-air so of course I made an effort to get a couple of records to him. Fast forward a couple of weeks post live interview / performance and Brody very kindly played my record on-air! I have recorded this for you all to experience my part in the BBC introducing show following on a week or so later from the on-air interview & performance.
Special thanks to all at the BBC for getting me in & singing my praises. It’s so lovely to be appreciated for something I’m so passionate about. It helps make my youth years of dedication & hard work feel worth while & helps to focus/drive me for the future.
Right! That’s it. Time for another coffee & to relax my fingers a thumbs after over 1000 words! (WE DID IT! New blog word count record. Booom!) Love a good blog I do! haha.
See you all in the next one, lots of love &… stay out of trouble! Matt Bate