Monday, 6 October 2014

Music Is Dead (But April Is Not)

Jon Bon Jovi says he hates Steve Jobs because he's killed the music industry. Artists work hard to produce albums, and now people just buy hit songs online, forgetting about the other music the artist makes. 



Gene Simmons says that the music industry is dead for similar reasons, including piracy being rife.

And while it's seems impressive that I'm on iTunes, it surprises people when I tell them that it's not actually a sign of any musical achievement. All you need to be on iTunes is for your music to be in the correct format, have an album cover as a pdf, and to pay a distributor $50 to upload it for you. Anyone can do it. They don't actually judge your music before they put it on your server. You could hum 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' into your  phone, convert it into a .wav file, make a pdf and it could be on iTunes the next day. And guess how much iTunes charge…?

50%

"WHAT????' I thought to myself when I found that out. Of course, it's in very fine print, and most people only find out when they're getting paid half of what they think they should be. 

When people hear that I'm on iTunes, some of them think I'm some kind of big shot, but in the back of my mind, I'm thinking "Those reprobates are screwing me over…!"


Anyway, I'm not quite sure music can ever truly die. It's a love. And people will always be passionate about it.

However, it is very badly injured. And weird.

Very weird.

Earlier in the year, I sent you the story and song about Johanna (Gonna Be There). I actually wrote that on Christmas Day at my parents place in London. Like I always do, I hummed the melody into my phone, plucked out a baseline, matched some chords, wrote some words (i.e.: the story of her and I), and when I got back to Sydney, did a basic recording on my laptop. There was something about it, even in its rudimentary form. I sent it to my record producer, and now good friend, Sean Carey, who listened to it on YouTube. He called me back "Victor, this is your best song. Let's record it" I'm normally very guarded about my songs when I write them because I still don't really see myself as a musician, as I've never studied music, but there was something about that one. Maybe because the emotions behind the story were still so raw. The only other time I'd felt like that was when I wrote Beautiful Thing. Even the basic version on my laptop; I listened to it and thought "This is awesome. I don't care." Several of you commented saying that you loved it also. That was very pleasing. 

That, and Gonna Be There were two of four songs I'd sent to Sean, and he was very eager to put all four on a new EP. I told him I had two other songs I hadn't quite finished, and to be honest, wasn't too sure about. He told me to get them recorded and send them to him, which I quickly did.

Sean suggested some improvements for each song, and I agreed with virtually all of them.  Leading upto that, I did three hours singing a day, as I knew I'd be working with amazing musicians, and I wanted to sound like I belonged on the same CD as them. 




We spent a week in the recording studio. It's quite a surreal experience. To start with silence and build a song layer by layer, and finish with something (I genuinely believe) is as good as anything you'll hear anywhere. A complete musical experience. It feels truly awesome. One big factor in why I everything has worked so well with making music so far has because not only do I get on so well with Sean and Michael (drums) and Beau (keys and piano), but we all feel music in a similar way. We're all about telling the story, and it comes out in the sound that we make. There's a great synergy between us all, and I'm amazed by how good they are at what they do. 

However, one highlight during the whole recording process was when we were finishing the vocals to Gonna be There. There are four high notes at the end that I forgot to add, so I got back in front of the microphone, and Sean hit play. I closed my eyes and hit the notes as best I could. The song finished. I opened my eyes to find that Sean and his apprentice Ellie just staring at me in disbelief. I didn't know what to say. So I didn't say anything. I can only assume they were impressed- any they must have heard a lot of very good singers in their time.  "I think I might be onto something" I thought to myself. It's very validating to amaze people who amaze you.


As with the previous EP, I had the I had the tracks mastered, got some photos done, a cover designed, and CDs printed.

This is awesome. It's all awesome. Nobody's going to buy it. 

Why so pessimistic…? Because I've learned from last time, and I've looked in to music marketing a lot since then. The business world is littered with the corpses of great products unsuccessfully marketed. And music is no different. The quality of the product is by far the least important factor in how well it does. The marketing is the most important factor. The average independent artist sells less than 50 CDs per year, which makes the 200 that I've sold look reasonably creditable. I had someone suggest that there was something wrong with the sound production of the first EP, but Sean and I concurred that they had no idea what they were talking about. Sean has won ARIA awards for his music production, and records with artists like Seal. People love the songs. I just don't have the marketing skills or budget to get them to buy the music . 

Most people can't hear a good song, and decide to buy it simply because it's a good song, and that they like it. People don't buy music because it's good- they buy music because they want to be associated with the brand that's associated with it. They buy it because it's popular. In order to take a song from obscurity to a level of public awareness and familiarity in order to change purchasing behaviour requires $180,000 worth of marketing. Most independent artists simply cannot do this. Songs that you hear on the radio aren't there because they are the best songs available. They are there because a record company is paying the radio station to play it. And there is only a finite amount of airplay time available. Most people need to hear a song multiple times before they decide to buy it- that's why record companies pay radio stations so much to get their artists played on the air. If you come along with no (or a very limited) budget, most commercial radio stations will simply laugh at you. 

[In return for that, guess how much of your record sales the record company will charge you….
On average 94%.
When you consider that iTunes charge 50%, what you are left with is 3% of your record sales. 

Unlikely to set your world alight.

And of course, if you don't make them back their $180,000, they'll not not only drop you, they can sue you] 

If, however, any of you decide that you ARE the kind of person who can buy music simply because it's good, and that you like it, and that you're not sheepish enough to to just go with the herd, you can get my EPs from my website: www.v-factor.com 

Please at least take the time to listen. If you like it, feel free to order it. If you don't, then that's perfectly fine. I'd never expect anyone to buy music that they didn't like. I wouldn't do it myself. But if you do like it, and you order a CD or mp3, then you won't die.

(I promise)

One such person that I was very pleased and surprised to meet is my new friend and fan Leonie. She's the mother of one of my patients in the intensive care unit. Her daughter was in a coma after being hit by a car and left at the roadside. Were it not for a helpful passerby, she would have died. One of the nurses really liked my song Beautiful Thing. Leonie overheard and told us that April was really into music and suggested I play it for April while she was comatose. We held my phone over April as she lay there, and everyone listened. I mean actually listened. Leonie repeated some of the lyrics as it played.

"Feel that I could
Touch the sky.
Beautiful Thing
You belong by my side."

It was very touching for me to see that. "Wow, you're listening. You get it. You really get it." I thought to myself.



Her family was there, and really liked it, and Leonie bought a copy of the CD as soon as it became available.
April needed brain surgery, but she's perfectly fine now. I went to visit her during her rehabilitation, and it was really nice to see her awake and speaking. We all got on really well, and I played her another song on my guitar. We had a photo taken, which they were happy for me to put online. 

We're all in regular contact, and Leonie even came upto Sydney for my latest CD launch.  They're both very warm people, and I'm really glad to have met them. It was great for her to see me play with the whole band, and she really enjoyed it.  She has both of my CDs, and April tells me that she plays them all the time. I love all my songs, and although they're not taking over the world, meeting people like Leonie gives me huge satisfaction, validating my belief that my music is actually worth owning. 

I set up that launch party with the purchase of the CD included in the cover charge. The previous 2 launch parties in March this year and June last year had how many CD sales…? Zero. About 50 people came to my launch party in March, which was great to see, but when I offered them a CD, they all looked at me like I was strange. None of them really listened to any of my songs. I just felt like asking them all "If you're not interested in my music, why are you here..?" Fewer people came to the most recent launch party, but I was much happier. I'd rather play in front of 12 people who are actually interested in the music than 50 people who are just out to get drunk with me singing in the background.

An american  radio distribution company heard my new CD online, and contacted me, asking me to sign with them. They've submitted it to 150 radio stations in america. 147 of them said that they'd play it. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with that. If this goes anywhere, I'll remember people like Leonie, who like me because I'm genuinely good, and not because I'm popular. I think every celebrity has a cohort of people who had no time for them before they became celebrities, and then suddenly became a lot more appreciative of them once their status changed.

I remember in my final year of medical school, I was on placement in Ashford, Kent, and at the hospital party, I expressed an interest in one of the senior nurses. She told me that she wasn't interested. 4 months later, I graduated, was earning money and went to work at that same hospital. All of a sudden that same nurse became a lot more tactile and verbal with me. I just looked at her and thought "Wow- women like you actually exist." I wanted nothing to do with it. 

Remember the people who invested time, money or effort in you when you were 'nobody'. Because if you become 'somebody', people who appreciate you for you become very difficult to differentiate from leeches and smiling assassins.

Please listen.

Victor.


Monday, 30 June 2014

No More Meat

I was in the local paper recently, as they did a story about me and my music. Of course, quite a few people in the hospital were talking about it, and one of my bosses in emergency said to me "You know, Victor, you're quite refreshing"

"Oh, what do you mean?"

"Well, it's nice to see a doctor in the news for doing something legal. It doesn't happen that often, these days.".

I thanked him and explained that hookers and cocaine weren't quite my thing. There's a neurosurgeon currently coming to the end of his jail term after inadvertently killing a prostitute with a drug overdose by snorting cocaine out of her rectum. He was in the same year as my crazy supervisor in my old hospital. I hate to think what that years other graduates are upto right now….

Speaking of prostitutes (don't worry- this isn't' headed where you think…), I think back to my first year in secondary school, and studying medieval history. One ongoing theme in medieval England was the constant power struggle between catholics and protestants. I was eleven years old, and we would write essays on various aspects of this period every week. However only being eleven, my lack of life experience showed through. For an entire year, I wrote essays pin the constant power struggle between the catholics and the prostitutes.

For and entire year.

My history teacher let me do this for an entire year.

Not once did he think of correcting me. 

I was eleven. I had no idea what a prostitute was.

I can only assume that 
a) I was so good at history that he kept me in the top group despite this monumental mistake

or

b) I was terrible at history, but he kept me in the top group in spite of this for sheer entertainment value.

Dr Sandys-Wood, you are a terrible, terrible man. 


How is everyone?


I'm sleep-deprived. 

Such is the timing of the world cup in Brazil that if I were in London, I could watch every match between 5pm and midnight. In Sydney, they're on between 2am and 10am, so I have had one uninterrupted nights sleep in the last 2 weeks. As much as I'm loving it, I love the day(s) when there are no matches. Just 2 more weeks. Although it's a bit sad with England gone. Australia- gone. Nigeria are my last hope. It's once every 4 years. It's worth the suffering.

I generally go back to London twice a year, but decided not to, as I've got tonnes of study to do this year. Or at least I wasn't, until Kye rudely decided to get married this August. At least I get to see my family again, which is always awesome. You may know that I have a brother and 2 sisters, and that we all get on like a house on fire. Literally, when all 4 of us get together, it's only a matter of time before we're all rolling around the floor laughing. 


(Dilys and I on the ferry in Sydney Harbour. victor-thediary.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/c…wait.html)


One of my sisters quit her job as a lower to set up a music and dance school for toddlers, the other one quit her job in finance to be a professional singer, and my bother, when he's not being a computer engineer, does standup comedy. Our parents pushed us all to be high achievers at school (essays about prostitutes ruling England notwithstanding), which I'm grateful for, but as you can see, we all have creative passions. My brother and I are both on Tinder (the dating app), and we both noticed that a lot of women on it will make quite stringent prerequisites, particularly to do with height, such as "No shorties", "No short guys" and "If you're under 5'10, then please don't bother". Paul (my brother) noticed a distinct double standard regarding this, and updated his Facebook status accordingly:

"If women can specify a minimum height, does that mean men can specify a maximum weight…?"

Love it. 

This naturally sparked a heated debate, but he came out on top: if women can say "no short guys" why can't men say "no fat chicks"?

He rests his case.

In reading this, you know how much I love to tell a story, and I could tell you an infinite number of funny stories about them, but I think the funniest one, like some others I have, cannot be satisfactorily written- it has to be acted. So, I got my film director to film me telling it. It's called 'The second Greatest Song of All Time'- and for a reason. Some of you have heard me tell the story about the song I regard as the greatest song of all time, and I have filmed that one, but I can't release it. Not yet. Not until I've done my exam at least. The medical profession will almost certainly take a dim view of it.

Until then, enjoy. 




Victor.


Thursday, 6 February 2014

Better Than This

This one's pretty simple.

Rachel and I were long distance for a year while I was in Invercargill for my first year in New Zealand. I'd fly to Wellington twice a month to see her, or sometimes we'd meet in Christchurch, as she has family there.

I moved to Wellington the following year to be with her. I remember one winter, in her living room, the fireplace was going, she was sitting on the couch, and I was lying on it, with my head rested on her lap. We were watching the All Blacks playing South Africa.

"This is perfect." I thought to myself. In a warm house on a cold night. Watching my favourite sport with the woman I love.

It simply doesn't get any better than this.


Better Than This Lyrics


You make it easy for you to see me
The way I really am

I never wonder to give you other 
Than everything I can

Through all the bad times, there's always the sign 
You love me all the same.

To you I travel, the world unravels
You're always glad I came.

With your hand in my hand and a special kiss
Tell me, how can it get any better than this?


The way we dance is just pure romance 
And it's there for all to see.

And if they offer, I'll have no other
'Cause you're the one for me.

This blissful feeling when I'm with you
Makes me feel like it's a dream.

In all the world I could never think 
There could be such harmony 

With your hand in my hand and a special kiss
Tell me, how can it get any better than this?

I just wanna hold you….
I just wanna hold you….


With your hand in my hand and a special kiss
Tell me, how can it get any better than this?

I just wanna hold you….

With your hand in my hand and a special kiss
Tell me, how can it get any better than this?

I just wanna hold you….

I just wanna hold you….

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Pretence Lyrics

You said I had what it takes. 
You told me that I could make it.
I wonder how many others 
That you deceive when you fake it. 

I want the whole world to see
Just how you prey on their dreams.
And still you act like you're perfect
Well, then I hope it was worth it.

I'll never trust you 
I know too much of you
Your schemes and lies
And the way you disguise and you
Pretend to know me
And pretend to show me that
We were a team and 
We shared the same dream all along

Well now you see that I'm stronger
I don't need you any longer
I warned you you should be wary
Of something so Ordinary

I'll never trust you 
I know too much of you
Your schemes and lies
And the way you disguise and you
Pretend to know me
And pretend to show me that
We were a team and 
We shared the same dream all along

I'll never trust you 
I know too much of you
Your schemes and lies
And the way you disguise and you
Pretend to know me
And pretend to show me that
We were a team and 
We shared the same dream all along

I hate both you and myself
Keep thinking somebody else
Could see the dagger you hide
Behind your glamorous side

I'll never trust you 
Know too much of you
Your schemes and lies
And the way you disguise and you
Pretend to know me
And pretend to show me that
We were a team and 
We shared the same dream all along

I'll never trust you 
I know too much of you
Your schemes and lies
And the way you disguise and you
Pretend to know me
And pretend to show me that
We were a team and 
We shared the same dream all along

I'll never trust you 
I know too much of you
Your schemes and lies
And the way you disguise and you
Pretend to know me
And pretend to show me that
We were a team and 
We shared the same dream all along
shared the same dream all along
shared the same dream all along
shared the same dream all along

all along
all along
all along

All I Want To Say

This song tells the same story as 'Gonna Be There'. It's about J****** and I. I wrote it soon after we broke up, as a way of saying "everything's cool- I'm fine with this. If anything changes, then just give me a call".

However, 'Gonna Be There' is a much truer representation of how I feel about the situation- I needed her like the deserts need the rain.

I still like the song, though. I hope you do, too.

http://youtu.be/sxq-uxWJS_M

www.soundcloud.com/victor-steele/all-i-want-to-say-sample (finished version)

The words : http://victor-thediary.blogspot.com/2014/02/all-i-want-to-say-lyrics.html

All I Want To Say Lyrics

I want you to come and live with me
I know that you share my destiny
Even now we still see eye to eye
I just want to let you know that I'm

Gonna be here to stay
That's all I want to say
That's all I want to say
All I want to say

When you felt that all was going wrong
I was there to help you stay strong
And then when he'd gone and left your side
I was there to let you know that I'll

Never be far away
That's all I want to say
That's all I want to say____

Never be far away
That's all I want to say
That's all I want to say____


Never be far away
That's all I want to say
That's all I want to say____

Never be far away
That's all I want to say
That's all I want to say____

Gonna be here to stay
That's all I want to say
That's all I want to say____

Gonna be here to stay
That's all I want to say
That's all I want to say____


Hmmm…..
Hmmm…..
Hmmm…..
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Sunday, 12 January 2014

Gonna Be There



March 2011. It was  Friday night. I was on my way to see my friend Sani DJ at the Ivy Pool Bar, which she does every weekend. However, I missed the ferry from Manly to the city, so I had 45mins to wait until the next one. I wondered what to do in the meantime, and decided to wait in the Manly Wharf Bar, as they normally have some sport playing on the TV.

I had broken up with Rachel about 6 weeks before, and was just starting to feel human again. I genuinely didn't mind being in a bar by myself watching the rugby. At the bar on my left, there was a group of 3 girls, one of whom clearly had a lot of energy, and was dancing in a very exuberant fashion. It was almost cheesy, but that's part of what made it fun to watch. We locked eyes several times. She could tell that I liked what she was doing. It takes a lot of guts to dance when nobody else is. I do so all the time, as I love it so much.

The three of them took their drinks and walked away from the bar. As they walked past me, I said to her "I like your energy." "Come join us." She replied. I happily did so.

Without completely ignoring her friends, I spoke to her, and we got on great, and after a few minutes she said to me" You're a very sexy man, but I have a boyfriend that I love very much. I'd love for you to meet my friend J******". I said hello to her, and we, too, got on really well. I took her back to the bar and we talked some more. I told her about myself, and found out that she's an accountant and loves to keep fit, having been a gymnast previously. I was impressed, as even a half-good gymnast is an athletic phenomenon.

We rejoined her friends and talked some more, and I suggested she come over and I make her some nigerian food. She said that would be nice, and we swapped numbers. It was getting to time for the next ferry to leave, so I politely excused myself, but before I did so, pulled her into me and kissed her. "Mmmmm.... I'll be waiting for that phone call...!" She said.

We met up the following week, and got on fantastically. I explained to her that I had a very recent breakup, and that I wasn't ready for a relationship yet. She really appreciated my honesty, and it turned out that she wasn't in the market for a relationship either, but we still enjoyed each others company, so we agreed to date on an infrequent basis, which worked well until her dad became unwell. I offered her any help I could give her, but she said she really needed to be by herself. I gave her all the space she wanted, but let her know that I was there if she needed to talk, or if she wanted to see me again.

About 6 weeks later, she got back in contact, and her dad wasn't as unwell as first feared. It was nice to see her again, and continued to do so for quite a while after.

To tell the rest of the story in detail would involve revealing some very personal information, and I really don't want to do anything to upset her. I have to stress at this point, that she's never been anything but nice to me, and we've never had an argument, or even a minor misunderstanding until now. However, put simply, but still accurately, she went through a very distressing time that I helped her through, and in doing so, I realised how strongly I felt about her, and that I really wanted her to be my girlfriend. I felt ready now. I thought it a good idea to give her some space to get over what she'd just been through, which fit well with me, as I had to go back to London for my nephews birthday. When I got back, I messaged her, and she didn't get back to me, which was highly unusual. Three days later, I got a message from her saying that she couldn't see me anymore, as she was in love with someone else.

I had no real choice but to respect this, but I was crushed. With the vast majority of women that I meet, some things about them make me think 'yes', and some things make me think 'no'. But with her, there's only 'yes'. But she's gone, now.

I love you, J******.

I really do.


The song: http://youtu.be/Zway5olvw-0 (original draft)

https://soundcloud.com/victor-steele/gonna-be-there-sample (finished version)

The words: http://victor-thediary.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/gonna-be-there-lyrics.html

Gonna Be There Lyrics

Words and music by me :)

Gonna Be There


Met you that night it was pure chance
My ship had sailed, then I saw her dance
She said 'come on over, the night is young'
My friend here's a lady, then we'd begun


If there's a chance to see you again
I'm gonna be, gonna be, gonna be there
If there's a chance to hold you again
I'm gonna be, gonna be, gonna be there


We said we weren't ready, so take it slow
Simple and easy's the way to go
Times got too heavy, you stayed away
I'm here if you need me, so that's OK


If there's a chance to see you again
I'm gonna be, gonna be, gonna be there
If there's a chance to hold you again
I'm gonna be, gonna be, gonna be there
If there's a chance to see you again
I'm gonna be, gonna be, gonna be there
If there's a chance to hold you again
I'm gonna be, gonna be, gonna be there
Oo-ooh……..
Oo-ooh……..

It's always been clear you could be the one
I opened my heart just when you were gone


We came back together just like before
I started to feel we could be forevermore
I never counted on someone new
But I've always wanted what's best for you


If there's a chance to see you again
I'm gonna be, gonna be, gonna be there
If there's a chance to hold you again
I'm gonna be, gonna be, gonna be there

If there's a chance to see you again
I'm gonna be, gonna be, gonna be there
If there's a chance to hold you again
I'm gonna be, gonna be, gonna be there

If there's a chance to kiss you again
I'm gonna be, gonna be, gonna be there
If there's a chance to love you again
I'm gonna be, gonna be, gonna be there.




Copyright 2014

The song: http://youtu.be/Zway5olvw-0 (rough draft)

Can't Wait

This one's really simple.

It's about my sister, D'lys back in London. She's a full time singer, which is her dream, after having spent 3 years working in market analysis to our parents great pleasure, but to her misery. She hated it. When she told me she wanted to quit her job and make music full time, I offered to pay half her rent to help her make ends meet. She called me back a month later asking if I was serious about that. I said that I was. She quit her job and put a band together, and I sent her money every month.

She doesn't have the same disposable income as she did in her office job, but she's infinitely happier. 

However, last year, she severed her Achilles tendon while playing netball, which needed surgery, and for her to cancel her performances for several months. She put on a brave face, but I imagine it would have been very hard for her, so I wrote her this:

The song: http://youtu.be/25o0ywNqFCo (original draft).



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Can't Wait Lyrics

Now we've found just who we are
Who'd have thought we'd be so far.
Home with you I still belong.
Never feel like I've been gone.

Can't wait to see 
You here with me.

I want you to live your dream.
I want you to sing with me.
Thinking of you day and night.
I know there will be a time.

That you will be
Right here with me.
You're gonna be
Right here with me. 

Even though you're far away
In my heart, you're here to stay.

Can't wait to see
You here with me.
You're gonna be
Right here with me. 
You will succeed.
I still believe.

Can't wait to see
You here with me.
You're gonna be
Right here with me. 
You will succeed.
I still believe.
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Thursday, 9 January 2014

Paul Merson

In our final year of secondary school some of my friends were getting a taxi home after a night out. 
The taxi driver seemed like a nice guy. He was encouraging them to stay in school and get a good education, as he wasn't happy driving taxis. 
It turned out that he was at the Arsenal football academy with Paul Merson (who also played for England).
He was clearly quite agrieved, because he felt that he was better than Paul Merson.

And I can believe that.

Because I'm better than Paul Merson. 

But, he had the backing of the correct people, and the rudiments of footballing ability that he had made him a star.

I'm starting to understand how that taxi driver feels. Geri Halliwell is in Sydney judging on Australia's Got Talent. She did a gig at the Beresford Hotel a couple of months ago. It was deemed by many to be a joke. But, she has the marketing behind her. She has the money. I don't think she cares.

Work has been very tricky this year. I actually ended up quitting. I've never quit a job before. It was incredibly liberating. It felt like the right thing to do. I wasn't happy, and couldn't see the situation improving. I think I've told you before, among other things, I just didn't belong there. Hospital social media policy means I can't go into more detail than that, but I'm happy to to talk about it in person if anyone is interested. I'm moving to a different hospital with several other medical musical people, and it should be awesome. My mentor told me that when things aren't' going well, I shouldn't be focussing on non-medical things. I think I can reasonably argue that that's the time when you most need the things that make you happy. And music does that. 

It's been turbulent, with some great highs, but no shortage of lows. You all know about the EP- I'm still helplessly in love with the music, even if it is my own. Making friends with Sean, the record producer, was awesome- we have a great harmony, and work brilliant together. I had an EP launch in one of the clubs near me, where I hired a full band to play my songs with me. We sounded awesome (even if I do say so myself). We got together again at a band showcase, and I arranged a salsa friend to come along, and we broke out into a surprise 2 minute salsa freestyle during Ordinary Girl as the finale, which was massively popular with the crowd.  There were four other bands on that night, but about 50 people came to see me specifically, which was really heartwarming. I hardly had time to speak to each of them after my performance. That was a strange situation to be in. 
I have my own website, designed for me by my friend Amanda, which is pretty slick, and is a great social tool, as it's linked to this diary, and a great way for people to get to know me, musically and otherwise. Making the video to 'Ordinary Girl' was something I only really enjoyed in retrospect, although it was fun to work with Ian, the film director, and his wife Paula. I was ecstatically happy with the result, but coordinating the process was was quite complicated and nerve-wracking, knowing that I only really had one shot at getting it right, and that it cost me a years savings. It turned out brilliantly, and was featured in the local paper. In order to break even on the video and music production, I needed to sell 2000 copies of my EP.

I sold 6.

I don't get it. 

I really don't.

Everyone tells me how awesome my music is, but virtually nobody wants to buy it. It's all quite confusing. I've had a couple of occasions when I've mentioned my EP to people and they've said "Oh cool- I'll buy one!" Without having even heard it. Which is great. However, usually I feel like the more people like the music, the less likely they are to buy it. Case in point: after I released the video, I got an email from a guy in Holland:

[him] MAN, YOU ARE AMAZING!!!! YOUR MUSIC IS JUST AWESOME!!!! YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY BE MORE FAMOUS!!!!

[me] Thanks! would you like a CD?

[him] Oh no, no, no, no- I'll just listen for free (online)

[me] So- how am I supposed to make a success of this?

[him] You can put adverts on your video.

So I did.

$0.

Thanks.

Goodwill and compliments are all very well and good, but they're not going to sustain you at the end of the day. I never got into this for the money, but if yo want something to be sustainable, then you will have to do it for some money.
It's hard to know what to do. Getting gigs in Sydney is really hard, so it's difficult to make a name for yourself. I'm thinking about coming back to London. I'll be closer to family and most of my closest friends. I just have one more medical exam to get through. If I meet a girl who isn't on drugs, then I could be persuaded to stay, as Sydney is otherwise an awesome place.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Until the next time.


Victor.

Ordinary Girl Video

Greetings.

I'm sure you're all pretty familiar with my X-Factor disaster by now, so I won't go into that again. I've been toying with the idea of making music video for some time, but recent stresses at work have prompted me to go for it. The sentinel feature of my music video has always been to make a parody of that X-Factor set-up (where I was pressured into singing a song, and then criticised for singing that song). Most of you will know that I have a diploma in TV and film, as well as theatre acting, so the parody would be heightened further by me playing all the judges myself. My brother and I would act out our favourite cartoons as kids, and so we are both good at doing lots of voices. Doing an irish accent (Ronan Keating), australian accent (Natalie Bassingthwaighte and Guy Sebastian) and a yorkshire accent (Mel B) wasn't a problem. I just needed to find a way to recreate the set.

I phoned round several film directors, and eventually found one who was available (Ian Nicholson- Hyperdriven Films), and could use green screening and other special effects to recreate the set. I played each of the four judges in sequence, with the help of his wife, who is a professional make-up artist. It was a full day of make-up, but it achieved the desired effect. Ian then shrunk each video image down and placed them side by side behind a table to give the effect of there being four versions of me sitting side by side. He also digitally reconstructed the stage and superimposed me playing myself on it. 

The choice of song was a simple one for me- I chose Ordinary Girl because it's as catchy as all my other songs, but you  can also salsa to it. This would give the video an added dimension that other rock songs don't have. However, for that, you need a partner. I sent Amy Mills a Facebook message earlier in the year, suggesting that I may need her for this, and she said she'd be interested, but then became very difficult to contact.  I met her at the salsa congress in New Zealand in June, and she said she'd use been very busy, but was still interested. Amy is a phenomenal dancer (we'd actually only danced together once before, but we go really smoothly together), a good actress, as well as being too sexy to describe, which never hurts. She's always been my number one choice for the part.

Ian and I got started filming the rest of the video, including my starting to learn guitar, writing the song, recording it at home on my Mac, and then recording it professionally in a recording studio. The studio that I actually used for the recording wasn't available, so I had to scout around for another one. I found one that was free, and looked reasonable, but when we got there, nothing worked, and they hardly had any equipment. Ian and I had to get creative to make it look half-decent, but I definitely wouldn't recommend the place, and I felt quite sheepish paying for their time. Later that afternoon, we met up with Daniel, who played guitar at my EP launch a couple of months ago, and his friend Mattheus, who is a bassist. I hired a venue with a stage, and we played the song live about 20 times, being filmed from different angles. Now, I love the song, but after that afternoon, I really needed a break from it. For about a day.

Amy was still proving very difficult to get hold of during all of this, and I told her that I had a timeline to run to, and was considering hiring someone else. Which I did. Until she burnt her back doing cupping 4 days to film date. I went to Amys Monday night samba class in person and said "Amy- we're filming on thursday. I need you to be there." "OK" she said. "Thank Christ for that!".

She came up to Manly, and we both had our make up done early in the morning, before meting Ian at Manly Wines cafe to be filmed doing the boyfriend-girlfriend thing. They were kind enough to let us film there for free.We then went onto the beach to do more couply stuff. Amy asked me if she should wear a samba-type G-string. I said 'Hell no!" I needed this to be family viewing. We did some jogging on the beach and general frolicking.

In the afternoon, we went to the dance studio in Brookvale. She brought some great outfits, but the recurring theme for the one we went with was that it kept riding up towards her waist- both amusing and frustrating. I had choreographed several dance sequences, which we filmed from different angles. as well as some freestyle dancing. In retrospect, the freestyle dancing was by far more impressive, but it was good to have more material available. 
We finished by filming me singing the song to Amy. before we all went out to dinner. 

I was incredibly relieved to have all the filming done without any major hiccups. I knew I'd only have one chance at this, and we were all pretty happy with the footage. In total, the filming was done over 4 days, but it took 12 solid days of editing to put it all together. And here it is :)


As I say, I'm incredibly happy with it all. It actually generated zero sales, which was disappointing, but if I can make a statement to X-Factor that you can't screw people around like that, while showcasing my singing, songwriting, acting and dancing ability to be vastly superior to any of the judges, then I think I've achieved something. No matter how small.