Screen Shot 2018-01-25 at 2.00.53 pm As a songwriter, sometimes you write a song that is difficult to share. All artists experience this, no matter what their media of choice is, and it can be hard to know whether the art you’ve made is really meant for others to see or if it’s just too personal.

I’ve had a few of these moments myself, but this song I’m sharing today has been the hardest yet – I’ve sat on it for a year, too unsure to share it. As I’ll explain, this song is very personal and emotional for me, but I decided the issues it deals with are so universal that sharing it might actually do some good. If something that started out as an exercise in personal therapy helps someone else, then it will have been a worthwhile exercise.

So let’s back up a little bit…

I’ve always wanted to write a song called ‘Jericho’, I’m not quite sure why. I’m not at all religious, so why should a Biblical story resonate so much with me? Hmm.

For those who don’t know, the story is about Joshua leading the Israelites, on a mission from God, to destroy the Canaan city of Jericho. After being told by God to walk around the walls of the city each day for six days, on the seventh day God tells Joshua to walk around it seven times, then blow their trumpets and shout, and the walls of the city will tumble. Joshua follows God’s instructions, with extreme patience, and everything comes to pass as God predicted (surprise, surprise).

This story was most familiar to me through the African-American gospel song ‘Joshua Fit The Battle of Jericho’, which I knew as a child. Then, in my early teens, I heard a song sung by Hilary Duff called ‘Jericho’, which was an utterly rubbish song, but really got me thinking about Jericho as a metaphor.

The Biblical message of Joshua and Jericho is to have faith, and patience, in God’s work. And that, through this faith, your obstacles will be overcome. As I’m not a Christian, I don’t share that precise interpretation, but I do believe it can be a useful metaphor for our struggles in life.

We all have our own personal Jericho. Something we have to overcome that is stopping us from achieving our goals. For many of us, it’s just the voice in our own head telling us we’re not good enough.

A year ago, I had a very close family friend take his own life. It was a shock for all that knew him, even though he had struggled with depression for many years and had previously talked about ending his life. But we weren’t expecting it. He was such a wonderful person, who had been like an honorary uncle to me when I was growing up, and his absence was felt deeply by all his friends and family.

I was miserable for the first week after it happened. I couldn’t concentrate on anything properly. I’d walk to the supermarket and then completely forget what I was there to buy. I was upset and shocked and angry and numb all at the same time. Of course, we all had the thought along the lines of ‘Could I have done something?’ Could any of us have actually changed the course of events he had set out for himself?

The sad reality is that we probably couldn’t have. He made some bad choices which left him struggling financially, and he had too much pride to accept charity. Friends tried to help him, but he refused all offers of help. His sense of self-worth was so low that possibly he felt like he didn’t deserve it, but he also couldn’t see how much he was going to be missed. Everyone who knew him could see all the gifts he had to offer the world and he enriched the lives of all of us. It is such a shame that he couldn’t see this himself.

He was always particularly generous and kind to me, as I was growing up. As I became an adult, he always wanted to know what I was up to and my mum kept him well informed. A thought that upset me a lot after he passed away, was that he was no longer going to witness important moments in my life. We all have people that we expect will be there to see good things happen in our lives. After he was gone, I realised he wasn’t going to see a lot of things I’d hoped he would see. Like the rest of my extended family and close friends, I’d expected him to be around to see me finish my degree, settle into a proper job, get married and have kids…and realising I wasn’t going to be able to share any of that with him still makes me very sad.

About a week after he died, I started writing songs about him. I needed to process my emotions somehow, and songwriting is the best way I know how to do that. I wasn’t intending the songs to be for anyone else to hear, but when I wrote ‘Jericho’ I felt that maybe I’d made something worth sharing. It was one of those songs that just wrote itself, requiring very little effort on my part. All the years I’d been thinking about Jericho as a song led up to this, and I think it was worth the wait.

Today marks a year since I lost a bright star from my life, so it seemed like an appropriate time to share this song. I’ve been hesitant to share it at all, simply because my emotional connection to it is so intense, but in the end I decided that those are the songs you should share.

Everyone goes through tough times, but when you’re going through them remember that there is always – ALWAYS – someone who cares about you and wants to help. And if you see someone else struggling, say something. Offer to help, offer to listen. We all need to look after each other.

Your Jericho might be all in your mind but, because of that, it is always in your power to send the walls tumbling down.

So don’t ever give up.

Because there will always be someone who’ll be sad if you do.


Sometimes (I think I’m over you)

I’m sure everyone single one of you can relate to the process of trying to get over someone.

Process is definitely the right word.

It doesn’t happen overnight and it’s not always permanent.

When you first lose someone you care about it hurts. No matter how it happens. But then, after a while you suddenly realise it’s 4 in the afternoon and you haven’t thought about them yet today. And soon you can go the whole day without them entering your thoughts at all. But, inevitably, they’ll be back before too long. You can be enjoying your day, going about your business, and then you see someone across the street that looks like them or their favourite song comes on the radio.

I know in my case, I find it takes a really really long time to fully get over somebody. And I’m talking months, if not years. That’s my personal experience and I know everyone is different. But it’s incredibly tough when the other person moves on before you, no matter how long it’s been since you were together.

I wrote this song quite a few months ago, about this very situation. About the moment when you’ve got enough distance from everything to realise that maybe the other person is not entirely to blame for what happened. About the feeling of loving and hating them at the same time. And about those times when you really miss them, but you know they’re never coming back.

Just to clarify, I am now completely over said person. And writing this song actually helped me work that out. This isn’t an unusual step in the songwriting process for me and it’s one of the reasons why I love it. The song is definitely more about me than about the other person.

We all get our hearts broken at some point or another. That’s just a fact of life. But it doesn’t make it any easier to live through.

But we do get through it.

We all come out the other side.

Eventually we stop thinking about them all the time, and only think about them sometimes. And then you reach the point where, when you do think of them, it doesn’t hurt anymore.


(One benefit of getting my heart broken over and over again is I get plenty of songwriting material! 😛 Listen to ‘Sometimes’ and my many other songs on similar topics any time you like on my Soundcloud page.)


It’s been a while since I heard from you
It’s been a while since you heard from me too
But lately you’ve been on my mind
I can’t explain it, so don’t ask why

Sometimes I think I’m over us
That all the memories have turned to dust
But then you enter my thoughts and I can’t make you leave
Just like I couldn’t make you stay with me

Sometimes your eyes
Make me fall or make me fly
Sometimes your voice
Makes me scream or just forget all the noise

I had a dream about you last night
I met your girlfriend and we had a fight
She thought I was trying to win you back
I said “Honey, don’t worry – I’ve never had the knack”

Coz guys come around but they never wanna stay
I don’t know why they all walk away
I think sometimes I hold on too tight
Or I let them walk away when I should put up a fight


Why did I let you treat me this way?
Why did I hold back everything I wanted to say?
Why did I let you walk away?
Why did I never once ask you to stay?

It’s been a while since I heard from you
It’s been a while since you heard from me too
But I had a dream about you last night
And I missed you so much that it made me cry

[chorus x2]

The Summer of ’44

Any songwriter knows good songs don’t always come easy. They also don’t always turn out right the first time.

There have been a few of my songs where the original idea has been good, but my execution was a bit below par. In some cases I’ve given up at this point, but in others I’ve come back to the song months or even years later and tried to make it the song it could be.

The song I’d like to share with you today is in exactly that category.

I first had the idea for “The Summer of ’44” when I was about sixteen. I had a bash at writing it but was never very happy with it. So it’s sat there for at least six years, just waiting for me to be ready to come back to it again. Tonight was that moment.

I’m not going to talk too much about what the song is about, because it’s pretty self explanatory and I don’t believe in spoilers. The audio quality of my recording is pretty terrible, so the lyrics are below if you can’t make them out at times.

Hope you like it! 🙂

The Summer of ’44

You sit down to write him a letter
Wishing life would get a little better
But maybe the war will end soon
And bring him home to you

The nights are long and the days are slow
And your rations always seem to be low
Five months is far too long
To be apart from someone you love

You don’t know how you’re gonna get
From one day to the next
But you do know that you’ll never forget
The summer of forty four

Always waiting for the letter telling you he’s coming home
Always hoping things will get better each day you turn on the radio
You listen for the words “the war is over”
Children hunt for four-leaf-clover
You hope that they’ll remember life before
The summer of forty four

Now the water supply is going down
And the fields on the farm are brown
Tom gets sick and you can’t afford the doctor
Money is running lower than the water

You don’t know how you’re gonna get
From one day to the next
You wonder if anyone will ever forget
The summer of forty four

Always waiting for the letter telling you he’s coming home
Always hoping things will get better each day you turn on the radio
You listen for the words “the war is over”
Children hunt for four-leaf-clover
You wish you could remember life before
The summer of forty four

You remember the death of your baby brother
You remember the day you became a mother
And you remember too well the day he left
There are some things you can never forget

One day there comes a letter
But this one won’t make anything better
You know what it says before you read it
But you just don’t want to hear it

Now you know you’ll never get
From one day to the next
And you pray to God to help you forget
The summer of forty four

Always re-reading the letter telling you of the final blow
Remembering when you were together, knowing he’s never coming home
Sometimes you think it must be a dream
The children ask you if it’s real
You wish they didn’t have to endure
The summer of forty four

Oh, the summer of forty four

Kodak Moments

This week I wrote a song called ‘Kodak Moments’.

It was one of those songs that just happened, as if it was writing itself. I didn’t even realise what I was trying to say until I’d completed it.

You can listen to it at the bottom of this post, but please read it through first.


Life is made up of moments.

Whether we want to forget or remember them, a moment is just that – a moment. Once it’s gone you can’t get it back. The world keeps spinning around the sun and, even when bad things happen, life goes on. People are born, people die. But, somewhere, life always goes on.

Lately it seems has been a lot of tragedy around the world. A few weeks ago 50 people were killed, and 50 more injured, in a mass shooting at an Orlando LGBT nightclub. Last Sunday saw the worst terrorist attack carried out by Islamic State, which left nearly 300 Iraqis dead on the streets of Baghdad. In the last few days we have seen 2 black American men unnecessarily killed by police, which sparked a surge of posts online sporting the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, and protests all over the USA. At one of these protests 4 gunmen tried to take justice in their own hands and shot at white police officers who were standing by in case they were needed. 12 officers were shot, 5 fatally.

Looking at these incidents of violence, you’d have to be a pretty callus person not to feel some sadness.


But please don’t feel hate. Hate is not a productive response. Feel upset, sad, sympathetic, empathetic, even angry. But don’t feel hate. Don’t fight hate with hate, don’t fight guns with guns.

Do you want to see a change in the way we, as humans, coexist with each other? Then work to achieve harmony. Harmony means working together to find a solution. Harmony means all sides pulling together for the greater good. It doesn’t mean shooting at each other or discriminating against a particular religion, race or gender. It means offering each other a helping hand when things go wrong.

Because things do go wrong.

We’re human. We all make mistakes. Some of us make bigger mistakes than others. But we can also all make amends.

You only get a certain number of moments alive. And you never know exactly when your quota is going to run out. So make them count. Don’t spend your moments hating each other. Let’s move forward together, not divided.

Do #BlackLivesMatter? Of course they do.

But #AllLivesMatter.


So make it full of great moments. Meaningful moments.

Your moments.

Kodak Moments

My life fit into a dozen boxes
I was only seventeen
Birthday cards and broken hearts
And everything in between

I tried to stop the earth from spinning
I tried to slow it down
But now I know that’s the way it goes
It keeps going around

This great big world keeps us moving
What great big dreams are you pursuing?
It’s time to start a brand new chapter
Of the Kodak moments we try to capture

We fit into a million moments
A million miles away
I’m so far from where you are
And I can’t seem to find a way to stay

I wonder if we’ll meet again
In another time and place
I wonder why I feel like I
Am always losing the race

This great big world keeps us moving
What great big dreams are you pursuing?
It’s time to start a brand new chapter
Of the Kodak moments we try to capture

The years roll on and the years roll fast
Nothing stays the same and nothing lasts
We make mistakes and we make amends
Things begin and then they end

My life fit into a dozen
And my hand fit into yours
A memory under lock and key
Where secrets are stored

And even though you were just a boy
And I was just a girl
I’ll never forget the time we spent
Spinning around with the world

This great big world that keeps us moving
And the great big dreams we were pursuing
It’s time to start a brand new chapter
Of the Kodak moments we try to capture

This great big world keeps us moving
What great big dreams are you pursuing?
It’s time to start a brand new chapter
Of the Kodak moments we try to capture

The Kodak moments we try to capture

10 Years On – Why I Still Write Songs

I’m only a month away from my 23rd birthday and it hasn’t escaped my attention that I’ve been writing songs for ten years. The first proper song I wrote was when my beloved cat died the day before my 13th birthday.

That might sound slightly strange or morbid to someone who’s never thought about songwriting before, but to me it made (and still makes) perfect sense.

Songwriting – real songwriting – is about emotion. It’s about expressing how you feel at any given moment in your life. I hear pop songs on the radio that are all about being out in the club and seeing a hot girl…and yes, I suppose in a strange alternative universe, that is some kind of emotion. But for me a song has to have soul. It has to be able to breathe on its own. And most of the pop ‘songs’ that have been released in the last five years lack that entirely. Some other time I’ll go into some contemporary artists that break this trend and write brilliant music.

As a child I was always singing and making up my own songs, but I didn’t start seriously writing songs until I was 13. My 13th birthday to be exact. The day before I turned 13 my cat passed away and I took it hard. She’d been a member of our family longer than I had and I struggled to imagine my life without her around. That evening I sat at the piano and starting expressing everything I was feeling. Over the next few days I wrote a couple of songs for Sylvi (all of which were terrible, by the way) and from there I started writing about different things. And I haven’t stopped since.

Ten years have passed and I know my songwriting skills have improved a lot in that time!! I don’t write songs about dead pets anymore for a start 😛 But I always say that the best thing you can do as a writer of any sort is to write about what you know. And what you feel.

Over the years I have written about everything that moved me – from love lost and love found, to the history of slavery (which I got very worked up about at 14!). I’ve written songs with titles like ‘On My Way’, ‘Lighthouse’, ‘We’re All The Same Inside’ (a very early one there!), ‘Look Me In The Eye’ and ‘Fooling Myself’ – just to name a few! I’ve lost track of how many songs I’ve written in total, but frankly that’s become rather unimportant. I don’t write music for fame or money or just to fill ring-binders with pages. I write because it gives me satisfaction.

Often I’ll be in a situation where I can’t say the things I want to say, so I write about them instead. I can write a song as if I was singing it to a particular person…I get to say everything I wish I could say to their face, without the words ever seeing the light of day.

Writing also helps me (to quote Don Henley) to get down to the heart of the matter. It’s not unusual for me to start writing about a certain situation I’m in, a break up for example, and suddenly words come out of my mouth that I wasn’t expecting. I’ll hear them and think “Okay, wow, I didn’t know I felt that way, but yes! That’s exactly how I feel!!”. The process of writing and singing helps to unlock things in my subconscious that I hadn’t been able to access up to that moment.

During my teens I used to think music was my calling in life. That my destiny was to become a famous singer-songwriter and play my songs to vast stadiums. I used to stand in my room and pretend the hillside out my window was an arena 😛 Things are different now I’m older. I don’t feel that need for fame that I thought I felt at 15. Lesson one: just because you love something more than anything else when you’re a teen doesn’t mean it’s your calling in life!! Songwriting became a part of my identity as I grew up, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. But I realised that success isn’t always measured by how many people know the words to your songs. Success is measured by how much YOU love what you do. And how much joy and satisfaction you get from it. Even if what you do never leaves your bedroom.

So why do I write songs?

Because I love it. Because it is part of who I am. Because it helps me through my life.

And that’s pretty cool 🙂

If you’d like to listen to some of my songs, I have a few uploaded to SoundCloud here: (the audio quality on most is not great, as I’ve never managed to invest in decent recording equipment). And if you have a particular favourite, please feel free to comment with it here! I write for myself but it’s always a nice bonus when others enjoy my music too 🙂