Excited? You can be – in each question you will learn even more about these two kindhearted people
This interview has been my heart’s desire since I had the idea for my blog. All the more I’m happy to finally share it with you today.
Birds of a Feather! This is the duo Amy & Ryan, two thoroughbred musicians who are based in Switzerland. Music is their life. It’s accompanied both since childhood.
They got to know each other 10 years ago and decided to dare a new start in 2014.
Since then they’ve released many singles, EP’s, cover songs and in 2019 their debut album You Are Music.
Their music impresses with their incredibly harmonious singing,
hopeful, positive lyrics, romantic, and always again cheerful, stirring melodies.
Their music belongs to the genres Folk/Pop/Country.
So far, I’ve only met a few people who are so incredibly positive, their joy of life is absolutely contagious and you just have to love Amy & Ryan.
Their love of animals and the joy of nature are a very helpful balance to their sometimes stressful everyday life. It gives both of them new energy for their greatest passion: performing their songs on small and big stages.
There and in weekly live streams on YouTube they inspire their audience and make them happy.
1. We’re looking forward to your second studio album. What will be special about it and when are you planning the release?
We’re currently collaborating with a young songwriter, actor, writer and film producer from Los Angeles. So some of the songs will be inspired and influenced by this amazingly creative and talented artist.
And of course, we will work with our beloved producer Ger McDonnell and the three outstanding Irish musicians Esa Taponen, Daragh O‘ Toole, and John Colbert again.
We’re planning to release the new album in late 2021.
2. You’ve just released some fantastic cover songs. What inspired you to choose these songs? Is it your musical idols or certain memories that are connected to the songs?
We’re huge music fans ourselves. There are so many songs and artists that accompanied us through good and challenging times.
We first heard Calm after the Storm while driving home from Stuttgart late at night after our first radio interview at SWR 1. That song is connected to this „flying high“ or „everything’s possible“ feeling after something extraordinary happened.
O (Fly on) is our spring lockdown song. Chris Martin ended his very first „Together at home“ live stream concert with that gem of a song. We immediately fell in love with the track and wanted to cover it. Finding out that the key didn’t fit our voices, we decided to record our own piano-banjo version of it.
We’ve been playing some of these songs live at our concerts for many years now and felt it was high time to record them in our own „Birds of a Feather“ style.
3. How did the contact to your producer Ger McDonnell come about? In which studio was your debut album recorded and why did you choose this place?
We took our time searching for a producer we’d feel comfortable and nevertheless challenged to work with.
We contacted several studios and producers in Ireland, England, and even Canada via Skype. We then went on a three-day exploring trip to London and Dublin to meet up with three of these producers.
We clicked immediately with Ger McDonnell. We are so grateful to have been able to work with him. He’s the kind of producer every band is longing to find. He’s got an incredible feeling for music, knows exactly how to get the very best out of you, has a heart of gold and his many tremendous talents are astonishing!
Ger came up with the idea of recording the debut EP in „The Mill“ studios in Swords (Dublin). It turned out to be the best couple of weeks of our lives.
4. When did you discover your love for music and start learning instruments, singing and finally writing songs (key experiences)
My father used to play the guitar in the evening when I was a little kid. I was lying in bed, trying to fall asleep, listening to him picking House of the Rising Sun and Greensleeves.
He wasn’t the greatest guitar player, but he sounded as good as Mark Knopfler to my ears. He certainly didn’t know back then, that these after-work sofa picking sessions would change a little boy’s life completely.
I was told, that I didn’t stop crying at my first day of kindergarten until the very moment the kindergarten teacher took her guitar and started to play a few chords. She said that I stared at the instrument in awe and that all of a sudden the sadness in my eyes just disappeared.
Years later, when I saw Sheryl Crow on tv for the first time, I wanted to be like her… a woman who could play so many instruments and sing as beautifully. I was so inspired. It took me many more years though to find the courage to not only sing but also play the piano and guitar on stage. Ryan was the one who encouraged me to do so.
5. From the content of many of your songs you can see that there has been an important break in your life that has moved you to a new start. Your impressive song Birds of a Feather has the same name as the name of your band. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
We’ve been performing on both big and small stages in various places and countries before meeting one another at a band rehearsal for our former band, which was signed to Warner Music Central Europe.
Both of this band’s studio albums were awarded with gold status. We joined soul singer Seal for a duet, opened up in sold-out stadiums for the rock legends Status Quo and went on tour with The Overtones in Germany.
Despite all the excitement, we both ended up feeling mostly unhappy. We learned a lot about the bright and dark side of the music industry. Unfortunately a huge part of it wasn’t about music but about the versions of ourselves that others wanted us to become. It’s hard to break it all down to a few sentences, but it was very hard to look in the mirror during those years. We ended up playing a role for the sake of success trying to please everyone around us.
But to find out that the two of us were the only ones longing for musical improvement and development was the straw that broke the camels back. Music was and is our life!
The song Birds of a Feather is about the moment we made the hard decision to leave a successful band behind so that we could stay true to ourselves and start from scratch as independent artists.
6. How does your songwriting process work?
We are the “music first“ kind of writers.
Sometimes Amy plays a little something on the piano, and then we find a vocal melody together, or the same thing happens when Ryan plays a lick on the guitar or banjo.
It also happens every now and then that Amy wakes up Ryan in the middle of the night with a song idea that she dreamt of. Writing the lyrics to the songs takes the most time.
We always try to write genuine lyrics about personal issues, things that hurt, move, inspire, or bother us.
Ever since we wrote our first song together, it felt like magic.
We couldn’t even imagine writing songs without each other anymore.
We can’t wait to show you guys the songs of our upcoming album!
7. What kind of music do you listen to when you’re on the tour bus?
Here’s a list of some of our favorite artists :
Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, Mark Knopfler, U2, Passenger, Keb’ Mo’, Sheryl Crowe, The Eagles, Ed Patrick, Jack Johnson, Mumford & Sons, Damien Rice, Hans Zimmer and all kinds of score songs, Kruger Brothers, Lady Antebellum, Travis Meadows, Sting, Brandi Carlile, hawaiian slack key guitar songs and MANY more.
8. How do you manage to keep yourself fit for your tours?
We both go for runs in the woods regularly – sometimes even in the very early morning before heading off to a new concert. When we’re on tour, we try to keep these runs up. They help us to maintain a clear head and stay fit.
9. Do you prefer to play in front of a large or small audience? What do you think about house concerts?
It’s very different to play at a big venue for a large audience or in an intimate surrounding.
We love it when we have an audience we can „work“ with. The larger an audience is, the more people dare to sing along, clap and dance. The atmosphere on a big stage can be overwhelming and highly supportive for a band. You get into a kind of adrenalin kick that helps you to go beyond your limits. That’s an incredible feeling.
But we also love the personal exchange and intimacy when playing at a small venue. You get feedback right after the concert, right after you played. You get to know the people, hear their stories, and sometimes even make friends. We’ve met so many lovely people along the way!
10. Ryan, you’re a gifted and passionate banjo player. How did your interest and love for the instrument come about? What are the names of the metal rings on the fingers you need to pluck?
I was 16 years old when I first found a banjo in the music store nearby. It warmed my heart the second my fingers caressed the strings for the very first time. I instantly fell in love with the sound.
I walked out and started to work real hard to earn enough money to go back and buy it. I never took lessons but learned all my skills by ear. I’ve been playing for hours and hours every day for many years.
And the both of us only met because of my banjo.
The metal rings are called «finger picks».
11. We also learned a bit about Zoe, your manager. How did the contact to her come about?
We’ve been close friends with Zoe for many years. The moment we decided to go independent, to start something we could really be proud of, even if it meant to leave everything behind, she was one of the very few who immediately supported our decision. She’s helped us in any way possible… she’s been a constant light.
She’s always there for us and has worked so hard to give our songs wings to fly. She has a heart of gold and is the keeper of our dreams. We will never be able to express how grateful we are that she’s a part of our lives.
12. What are your ideas for the future regarding your musical development? Do you have any projects planned with other artists?
We’re currently running a crowdfunding campaign to fund our 2nd studio album: https://www.birdsofafeathermusic.com
In April 2021 we will fly over to beautiful Ireland to record our new songs.
We’re also currently collaborating with a young songwriter, actor, writer and film producer from Los Angeles. So some of the songs will be inspired and influenced by this amazingly creative and talented artist.
And of course, we will work with our beloved producer Ger McDonnell and the three outstanding Irish musicians Esa Taponen, Daragh O‘ Toole, and John Colbert again.
AND there are lots of concerts coming up in 2021. We can’t wait! :0)
I’m very impressed and fascinated by your honest and open answers. Thank you very much for your very interesting and touching interview! I wish you continued success with your crowdfunding project, which has got off to a very good start so far and promises the best chances of success.
I’m looking forward to your new fantastic songs, have fun with the studio recordings of your second album in spring.
For your future, I wish you further on healthy success, lots of positive feedback and staying power to pursue your ideas and goals.
Joel Gardner and his passion for music and how he writes the heartwarming melodies
Since last week the song Warmth by Joel Gardner is out on YouTube and on 18th December Warmth will be released on Spotify as part of the Clouds Lined With Silver EP.
The video fascinates by the great and sympathetic actors, who transport the content of the song excellently.
The first line of the chorus is:
It’s just warmth here that I’ve been saving up and I was hoping that would be enough for you
Joel explains what the song is about!
Quote: “To me Warmth is a metaphor for being nice. It’s a tune centred around insecurity, self consciousness and vulnerability. It’s all romanticised and made into a ballad of course.
But to me that’s where the heart of the song is and why it holds such a special place for me.“
Joel Gardner knows perfectly how to envelope his message with catchy chords, skilful fingerpicking and a heartwarming melody.
Gardner is an independent English singer-songwriter who finds his inspiration for his music in various fields. Musicians like Paul Simon, Ben Howard and Andy Mckee have fascinated him since his earliest youth. He started playing guitar 15 years ago and has perfected it until today.
Skilful picking, rhythm and hammer-on technique he combines to a rousing groove that simply puts you in a good mood.
In his spare time Joel loves to travel around Scotland and to the British West Coast.
There in the nature he finds inspiration and fills up energy for his excessive songwriting.
He’s an absolute thoroughbred musician, the writing of songs means everything to him, because for him music is as much a part of life as the air to breathe.
This year he has written countless great songs waiting to be released.But now enjoy this brilliant and first-class song Warmth.
The song is available as always on all your favorite streaming services.
Bradley The Busker – Introduction & Single Release 💙
Today the single Nice To Be Home by Bradley The Busker, which I’ve been waiting for such a long time, has finally been released. Bradley The Busker is an English singer-songwriter from the south west of England. I would like to tell you how I got to know Bradley.
Shortly before the first lockdown started, I was made aware of Bradley by Instagram. His cover songs fascinated me immediately.
I was and still am absolutely thrilled to see my beloved singer-songwriters playing live.
So I was there right away when Bradley announced his livestream on Facebook. Since this first live stream I’ve been a big Bradley fan.
I love his beautifully performed cover versions, of which he knows so many that you think you’ll never get to know them all. He gives the songs his personal touch and makes them his own in a unique way.
A short time later on March 1st Bradley released his debut single Sisters and Brothers. After he performed for me in the livestream Sisters And Brothers, this convinced me completely and I added the song to my KAFFEEHAUSMUSIK playlist.
One day Bradley wrote to me because he was thinking about sending me a copy of his single as a thank you for my loyalty in his live streams and for my support. I was very impressed with this gesture. After what felt like an eternity, the CD arrived.
Another song on this single is the song Nice To Be Home. I loved the song from the very first moment and have been waiting for the release ever since.
This marvellous song is about friendship, about finding each other again after a long time and reminiscing. It’s nice to come home and be there. It‘s Nice To Be Home.
Since that time I’ve been taking part in his weekly live streams almost regularly. Tirelessly he plays his and his audience’s favorite songs over and over again. He always has new ideas and loves to surprise his audience.
A livestream was compiled only from the desired songs of his loyal listeners.
I’ve edited an IGTV of it.
He broadcasts his live streams from different places each time during the summer months. You can find all of his saved recordings on his Facebook page.
Bradley’s playing on the guitar is stunning. His fingers just float over the strings, almost acrobatic, despite frequent chord changes and sometimes two-handed playing on the guitar neck.
It’s a harmony of perceived lightness of tone color, yet played technically perfect, a very individual and special sound experience.
In a very special livestream he was supported by the drummer Barclay Wood. The sound experience reached an even higher dimension.
After the lockdown was loosened, Bradley planned a small tour through Germany. Of course we arranged to meet for the house concert. It was all organised for September 18th. My guests, who had even booked from Hamburg, couldn’t wait to see him live.
Unfortunately the concert had to be cancelled at short notice due to increasing corona numbers and postponed to next year. We were all very disappointed, but are full of confidence that the house concert will take place next year. You can look forward to a detailed report here in my blog.
During the livestream break Bradley toured England with his self-built camper and enjoyed finally playing in front of an audience again.
Tonight he will start his weekly livestream for the third time since the second lockdown started. I’m very happy that he has resumed this old habit. Friday nights were only half as nice without him and his music.
Looking very much forward to his performance of Nice To Be Home TONIGHT ❤️
All releases by Bradley you can find on his Spotify profile and on my KAFFEEHAUSMUSIK playlist.
Duncan Covey – Single Release
A young and very talented artist I would like to introduce to you today is Duncan Covey.
His single The Flame was released on Friday and is now available on all music services.
Duncan (22) is a modern Singer Songwriter who writes beautiful melancholic indie/folk songs. His music is inspired by songwriters like Toby Johnson, Dermot Kennedy, Wild Rivers and Passenger. His previous single Buckle In was released in March this year and has received over 30k streams on Spotify alone.
He was born and raised in England/Cornwall. In his free time he dedicates himself as often as possible to his greatest hobby, songwriting.
To escape from his desk in between, he’s driven into nature where he indulges his second passion: outdoor sports! Walking, running, cycling, surfing, etc.. He loves to take part in extreme sports competitions from time to time. During his sport and exercise science studies at the University of Bath he was fortunate to meet like-minded musicians and to be able to play with them as a band.
Following people play in Duncan’s band (guitar/vocals), Ellie (electric guitar), Ash (keys), Kai (bass), Zoe (cello) and Pete (trumpet). Duncan meets with some of them at irregular intervals and they work on Duncan’s new song ideas. Recently Duncan and Ellie started songwriting together – look out for future releases!
Due to Corona the whole band was only allowed to rehearse together for a short period of time which is a nightmare for everyone. They’re looking forward to finally being able to perform together again.
This track was written by Duncan, who planned the structure of the piece, but each musician adapted to add their own taste and musical knowledge to create a finished song.
It was recorded in many separate sessions, with each musician recording separately with Duncan to add their parts! Within one week everything was recorded, then quickly mixed and mastered by Duncan. All this was recorded and produced in a simple bedroom studio!
The Flame is a very soulful and beautiful song that captures the listener with its harmonious sounds.It’s about discovering and capturing great love. His lovely lyrics merge with the timbres of his soothing voice. A sensation that at the beginning only feels quite undefined, develops after 1 minute 45 seconds into a great unimagined sound experience.
This time he very successfully integrates piano and brass instruments into the piece.
It gives the single a special quality and depth.
All the best for you 💙.
Today the 2nd album by James Walker with the title Great Deceiver has released.
With this album, which he has been writing since 2017, he hopes to present his listeners with a more mature version of himself and his sound. His poignant debut album English Bones, released in winter 2017 and streamed more than 10,000,000 times worldwide, received outstanding reviews in the Huffington Post and Overblown Magazine, among others.
He was inspired to Great Deceiver by songs from Copeland, Sufjan Stevens and Poches, among others. He was lucky to work on the album together with other artists like Richard Walters and Judy Blank. Richard Walters is a successful English songwriter who started his solo project in 2007. Since then he has released four albums. His music is featured in television series such as Grey’s Anatomy and CSI.
Judy Blank, a close friend of Walker, is an aspiring artist from the Netherlands who has worked with other artists such as Mandolin Orange and The Wood Brothers. As on her debut album, James sings a song with her.
Wild World is a beautiful indie/folk song, which was released as a single in January this year.
James reflects in his songs the circumstances of his life, from the longing he feels in a relationship to sad topics like the loss of close family members and the great sadness that results from it. During this time he has reached his physical and psychological limits but he doesn’t want to miss this experience and is grateful to have developed himself further. He has fully recovered from open heart surgery, where he had to deal with the question of his mortality.
For next year, in the great hope that it will be possible again, he’s planning an extended tour. The closeness to his fans, the magical moments when the audience applauds and the many exciting and personal experiences he made during his performances are essential for his Well-being and Mental Health and cannot replace the live streams.
Merch Store: https://jwalkermusic.bandcamp.com 😍
Apple Music 🎶🎵🎧🎼🎸
10 questions for Neil O’Shea
On Friday I was introduced to the debut single of The Nation Mourns.
After a few seconds of listening I was absolutely impressed and thrilled by the melody and the pleasant voice of the singer. Spontaneously I wrote to The Nation Mourns and asked him to have an interview with me. He immediately showed interest.
The Nation Mourns! – this is the artist name of the musician Neil O’Shea. Neil is an Irish singer/songwriter who recently moved to Berlin. On November 13th his debut single Ogre was released on all music platforms.
Here comes my interview with 10 questions for Neil O’Shea.
1. Neil, how long have you lived in Berlin and what made you decide to move to Germany?
I’ve been in Berlin for almost 2 years now. It’s actually 2 years on Sunday! I came over in the summer of 2017 for a couple of months. But after going back home I realised I had to go back! So I officially moved here in November 2018. It was a pretty easy decision to come to Berlin. I had always wanted to live in a big city with a vibrant music scene. So after that first summer I was hooked on the place.
2. In which special genre would you classify your music?
That is a tough one. I guess it’s a bit folky and with alternative elements. I grew up listening to a wide range for music that seems to creep in here and there.
3. In which region of Ireland have you lived and what has influenced your music? Which artists inspire you?
I come from Cork, in the South of Ireland. A really lovely city with an extremely talented music scene. As I said in the earlier question it was a bit of an eclectic mix of music for me growing up. Everything from Thrash metal to Abba. But it was songwriters such as Paul Simon, Tom Waits, and Jackson C Frank pulled me towards songwriting in my late teens. Then I got more into the older folk stuff as well more modern alt rock and folk with artists such as The National, Fruit Bats, and Damien Jurado.
4. You write Just Another Folkin‘ Singer-Songwriter in your bio on Instagram and Facebook. How you differ from the many musicans who are also active in the folk scene?
I think we all differ from each other in many ways. But mostly by doing so we all come together to complement each other very well. Theres such a great mix of folk musicians in Berlin, all with their own influences. But usually we all have some common influence which really ties us all together in a full spectrum of folky goodness.
5. When did you start writing songs?
I’m not 100% sure what age I was but I think I was about 13 or 14, when a friend and I wrote a pretty bad “rock” song (I believe was called ‘Devil Eyes’ haha) in my parents living room. I was hooked on it from then on, trying to write chord progressions and riffs on the guitar.
6. Do you play other instruments besides the guitar?
Guitar is really the main one for me. I played the bass on the recording for Ogre and the rest of the album. I’ve owned a mandolin in the past and can play some piano. But I spend most of my time trying to get as good at the guitar as possible. But I’ll tinker around on other instruments when I’m writing.
7. The text of your song describes the thoughts of an ogre who seems to be very unhappy with his life. What connection do you see? Is there a connection to your personal experiences/moments in your life? What do you want to convey to the listener of the song? Is your lyric more in the melancholic realm or is it to be understood as a cry of a certain helplessness and the courage to start over?
Well I was going through a bit of a tough time in my life when I wrote Ogre. Theres definitely some personal elements coming in there. But the song is also about the world we live in. About how our lives are constantly coming under scrutiny (usually personal!) In this social media age that seems to just have taken over every single part of our society.
8. You’re an unsigned artist. Is that what you can imagine for a longer period of time?
Well for the time being anyway. It’d be great to have the push of a nice record label too!
9. Will we be able to expect further releases from you soon?
Yes definitely, I have another single finished and ready to go. So I’m hoping to have that out early in the New Year. Then I have to finish up a few things for the rest of the album but that will be coming mid next year.
10. What are your plans for next year, in terms of performances/tours, should Corona allow it? What do you think about house concerts?
That’s tough, I love performing live. If venues are able to deal with the situation safely then of course they should be allowed to have gigs.For next year I’m going to finish recording the album and release my second single. Hopefully I will be able to start to book shows again and then see about a tour. I really enjoy house concerts. Theres always such a great intimate atmosphere and you end always up meeting some very cool people.
Thank you Neil, for your open and detailed answers. I enjoyed talking to you very much. I wish you success and all the best for your future.
Now you got an insight into the songwriting of a very talented folk musician with Irish roots, who lives in Berlin and released his debut single last Friday. He told us about his desire for more acceptance in society and the fear of losing control of his own personality in a world that is increasingly taken over by social media.
The melody underlines this excellent song with an interplay of folky, very harmonious elements that combine with a catchy sound to form a beautiful whole. I‘m very excited about his next release.
You can find the video for ‚Ogre‘ below.
Of course you can listen to the song on my KAFFEEHAUSMUSIK playlist on Spotify.