The secret worries of a performer? Insecurities and taking the plunge

Perusing London Jazz News the other day, I was brought up short by an interview with Simon Purcell, Head of Jazz at Trinity and astonishingly only just releasing his first album under his own name.

I’ve been recording and preparing an album of my own with a band and have just reached the point where, with all the playing, mixing and mastering done and the CD presses rolling, it’ll be time to send it around, try and hustle gigs and get to play the music live in more places.  So when people ask me (as some do, who know what I’ve been up to) ‘How do you feel about it?’, usually I mumble something like ‘Yeah, great, really pleased.’ The real truth is a bit nervous and yes,  vulnerable. ‘Well suck it up boy, no-one made you do it’ my inner coach tells me.

Simon has been recording too and with a fantastic band of world class musicians. But everyone knows he’s great, has taught half the players on the UK scene it seems, so he’ll be confident and cool about his work right?  Well Simon, in his thoughtful and elegantly expressed way reminds us that our gods have, if not feet of clay, then fragile hearts and bundles of insecurities like the rest of us.  “Perhaps non-musicians are unaware of just how vulnerable one feels (applying for funding)  the vote of confidence was worth even more (than the financial support)” says Simon.  “Recording was intense … I felt paralysed at first” .  Ah, thanks Simon there’s a neat summary of how I feel and felt about recording.  And like all wise guides,  there’s a bit of a pointer to the way ahead as well as the little jolt of realising that no matter how good someone is, they can be feeling the same way about their music making. That pointer? Hold firm to a simple desire to create the best, most ‘in the moment’ music you can – and keep working at it!  So maybe I can coach my inner coach a bit with some new lines.  

The previous form of this band and the tasters on-line might make one wonder what Simon was worrying about! I’m not able to get to Simon’s CD launch at Pizza Express but I’ll be tracking down a copy of the album ( Red Circle is out now on Whirlwind I understand!)


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