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Charlie Savigar

photo by: in2thelight

photo by: in2thelight

Music Unbuttoned were given the responsibility of arranging music for a well established 3 day Country Fayre called The Berwick St John Country Fayre. With the exception of few pre-booked acts we were more or less free to book any artists we thought would be suitable. We were like children in a sweetshop, excitedly booking some of our favourite performers and some new ones. We asked Charlie Savigar (a county/pop/rock singer from London) if she and her band would travel to Dorset to perform for this fayre. We were delighted when Charlie agreed, so we made the most of this opportunity and made Charlie Savigar this months featured artist.

 

We have dealt with many musicians who are trying to make an impact on London’s music scene. Charlie not only performs in London but also lives there. So it was a no brainer to ask Charlie about her experience of being a working musician in our capital city.

 

Many people will come to London thinking they will ‘make it’ but I’ve learnt that this is not the case. Ironically, although London is a city buzzing with musicians and live music venues, it offers little opportunity for an artist or band to shine. My experience is generally that a promoter books you, expects you to do most of the promotion and bring along at least 40 people before you even see a penny. The other issue I find is that you’ll often be on the same bill as a band in a completely different genre to you. Now without painting too much of a negative picture, there are times when it can be awesome to perform in the big city, it is ultimately about finding the right venue and the right promoter to work with. We’ve found the Spice of Life in Soho is the right venue for us. We tend to play there every few months and always have an amazing time.

 

Although some of the promoters and venues in London may not offer artists a fair opportunity, it can still be a good place to network. This was highlighted when I asked Charlie how she became an endorser of Rotosound guitar strings.

 

I used to work in the Harrods Music department selling pianos and guitars. We also stocked accessories including Rotosound guitar strings. I met Jason How, the CEO of the company and after learning about my band he offered me some Rotosound strings to try. I loved them and from that he offered me an endorsement. This means I get artist rate prices on the strings and also the company advertise me on their website and will promote anything significant that I am working on.

 

Working in a music shop must be a great way to try many guitars. But with so much choice it must be difficult to decided which one to buy.

 

When Harrods started stocking Taylor guitars I was blown away by how amazing they sounded and how easy they were to play. I used to get to work an hour early just so I could sit down and try them out. At that time, I was looking for an electric guitar and when I discovered that Taylor were bringing one out in purple sparkle I knew that I had to own one. Before I left Harrods I also realized that I needed a good quality acoustic guitar so I ended up purchasing a 614ce and luckily for me I got a healthy reduction on it. I use this guitar for the majority of my gigs now-it especially works well with the band as the maple body gives it a full sound and it therefore cuts through really well on stage.

 

I had seen on Charlie’s website a few photos of her with a Martin XT. Unfortunately this guitar had not accompanied her to this gig, but I still had to ask what this unique guitar is like  to play?

 

It’s a beauty. I used to perform with it all the time when I first started gigging with Daren in 2010. The DiMarzio pickup gives it quite a grungy sound. Many people are baffled by it. It looks like a semi-acoustic but is in fact an electric guitar with a bigsby system. In the end I wasn’t able to find the right sound so stopped using it, although it does make an appearance in my music video, ‘Superbad!’ Martin discontinued the XT model a few years back so I guess I now own a rare guitar which is cool. It currently sits in its case under my bed but no doubt at some point I’ll use it again.

 

Charlie was taught to play guitar by Francis Rossi lead singer and guitarist from the legendary rock band Status Quo. He also plays on her song titled ‘Save Your Love’. I had to ask how they met and if they still work together.

I met Francis way back in 1999. It’s a long story, but in a nutshell, I met him through my piano teacher. His children went to my school and he had a close friendship with my piano teacher who worked there. Because I was always writing piano pieces, my teacher suggested sending them to Francis. However, little did I know he didn’t read a note of music. Anyway, he agreed to meet me and listened to me play the piano. He enjoyed my piece but immediately asked if I could sing. I said “not really” but he was determined to hear me. I conjured out a few notes and before I knew it, he was arranging to see me the following week. On my next visit, we went to his studio and he told me to choose a guitar. From then, he encouraged me to write songs and taught me how to play the guitar. He enjoyed my company and we got on really well. As the years passed, with every visit I was improving and writing some good material. He had no problems telling me if a song was crap though. For this I am truly grateful, there’s nothing like honest feedback. Anyway, in 2006 he invited me into his studio to record a few tracks and it was during these first few sessions that he wrote and played the lead guitar line in ‘Save Your Love’. We are still friends today and I’m hoping to have some writing sessions with him soon.

 

Charlie seems to of had a rather fruitful career, I asked if she has had to overcome any obstacles to get to where she is today.

 

Oh definitely. For many years I have struggled to accept myself as a singer. I only started singing properly at University and although I had always been in school choirs, I’m afraid to say that people used to laugh at my voice and call me the honey monster due to my tendency to sing the low notes and avoid anything above middle C. Without sounding like a victim, I decided to take singing lessons at the age of 22 with a wonderful opera singer who taught me the correct techniques for singing and provided me with an extensive collection of vocal exercises which I work on every day. I have put hours and hours into developing my vocal style and continue to do so today. The thing about being a musician is that you never stop learning. You reach one level and realize there is another level beyond that and those levels keep on surfacing but I love the challenge of pushing myself and when I listen to recordings of me singing from 10 years ago, I can really appreciate how far I’ve come. I’ve also had to work hard with my mental attitude making sure I stay positive and not waste time comparing myself to other artists which I was very guilty of doing for many years. Daren has helped me improve my attitude and these days although I do have the occasional negative thought, I’m much stronger mentally and believe in myself more than ever. I still get nervous before every gig, whether we are playing in a small room in the back of a pub or a festival stage. Nerves get the adrenaline going though, so they are important to experience. They soon wear off though as you start performing which is good.

 

photo by: in2thelight

photo by: in2thelight

Please visit Charlie Savigar's website