Introducing Billy Brown singer songwriter from Hertfordshire

Introducing Billy Brown – singer songwriter

XRP radio favourite from London and Hertfordshire

Here is another artist who I discovered while listening to XRP radio. He is a regular in the chat box there and has been featuring pretty heavily in the XRP chart, and a feature they run called Chatboxing, where they get people in the chat box to vote for their favourites as they play them.

I kept hearing his songs, and just finding them very enjoyable, but it took me a while to say so. Not sure why. Sometimes I feel like maybe I hear too much new music and I want to be certain I like a thing before saying so, in case I go off it later.

Anyway, I asked for a link to check out the sounds later and got the Soundcloud page from Billy.

There are a bewildering number of songs there, alright twenty; not so many really, but a lot to delve into at first introduction, so I will focus on one.
Let Me Lie Next To You” is a heartfelt plea to someone who, seen for the first time, is clearly THE ONE. The melodies are subtly beautiful; the lyrics thoughtful and intelligent. Accompanied by folksy acoustic guitar Billy pours his heart and soul out, as he does in fact on all his songs.

It wasn’t obvious where he is from, which may be deliberate, so I contacted him via Facebook to ask, and ended up with a lengthy interview. Billy likes to talk (or text) a lot and was most forthcoming. So with his permission I record the interview here.

Billy Brown (from his Facebook profile)

Interview

(edited from Facebook chat)

How long have been doing music?

That’s a loaded question.

Yeah.

On and off….27 years or more possibly
I  used to be in a band back in the 80’s supporting the likes of REM and touring Holland France and all over the UK.

Then I got married and got a proper job and left music.

I then started writing again, but not playing live, in the late 80’s and then, in the early 90’s teamed up with a guy and co. wrote a few dance hits.
I got married again and stopped music, and then got divorced two and a half years ago, started writing and doing a few open mics…
Met someone last year and fell madly in love and we had a very intense 5 month relationship and I wrote her loads of songs including the first one I wrote her the day I met her and recorded it and sent to her via Youtube…
She then committed suicide 13 months ago and I wrote her a few after…
What Gives You The Right” is about suicide.

That must have been a bit of a shitty time for you

Do you want me to leave that part out?
Its’ part of life…
I think possibly; the reason I met her, and went through all that pain, was to make me write again…
I then went into the studio a few months back; and now its been constant daily airplay, somewhere, for 3 months, and a lot of new likes on various pages, and some fantastic reviews out of nowhere and gig offers etc.

There are a lot of tracks on Soundcloud, are most of those from recent work?

All of them are no more than 18 months old in terms of writing…
All recorded in the last 3 months

You mentioned earlier about supporting the likes of REM and I noticed some of that on your Facebook page, and I was wondering what your band was?

We changed our name a lot…
but “Friends of Gavin” was the most used.

I know you are being played on XRP radio, and Dr. John’s Rock surgery, are there many others?

Yes loads more..
Wolfman Radio, Wigan FM, Spitfire Radio, Bless Internet Radio, Artist Support Krew, and about 7 new US Stations and 2 Canadian ones and 5 more about to come up in the US too and a few more in the UK who I cant remember now.

Nice one. And all that is down to your own efforts to communicate with shows and promote your stuff right?

I network and also help others get airplay and gigs etc too…
its my ethos to help those on my journey.

I don’t look or act my age as a rule but it’s taken me a long time to get here musically and I’m finally ready for it; I think it will happen soon.
I’m far from an arrogant person as I shit myself playing live and suffer lack of confidence

The first time, a few months ago, with my first airplay; the feedback from the DJ made me cry.

What was the recording process like for you?

All the songs were recorded live and are single takes.

The quality is excellent. 
I have got “Lie Next To You” playing right now. Got some lovely melodies

Thank you.
That was the song I wrote for this girl the night I met her.

I hate wasting time…
The engineer couldn’t believe in 4 hours, I laid down 8 tracks;
and I smoke, so there were fag breaks; and hearing them back.

That’s how it should be of course.
Play the song, record it, then tweak the levels and boom!
Yep… and get the hell out.
Beatles did it and it worked for them
I’ll be picking your brains about radio stations that play Unsigned music.
Always interested in adding more to the Radio Stations page
I can introduce you to a lot of stations, presenters and bands and artists.
I’ll hold you to that
You can…
I mean it I will
I also set up “The Unsigned Movement” on Facebook
The motto is..we cant help everyone, but everyone can help someone.
Good motto.
Same sort of thing I am trying to do with my blog.
I was fed up with bands self promoting and all look at me to the same ilk…
so that was set up so bands can get airplay and gigs and web designers etc….
bands cannot self promote there;
but other industries can.
In conclusion, Billy Brown is exemplary of the kind of self starting musician that makes the world a better place to be. Not only writing and performing terrific songs, but also helping out other bands selflessly.
All of us underground and unsigned musicians are in the same boat. We are not in the same boat as Warner Music, or Simon Cowell.
We don’t need to be.
Taking the boat analogy further, they sail the oceans in sleek multi-million pound yachts, while many of us are in a leaky boat, or without a paddle. Only by working together, supporting each other, lending a paddle here and a bit of repair work there, can we possibly hope to stay afloat and avoid the sharks.
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