Hey, I'm Roo.
Music has always been around me, though not in the sense of vast record collections or archives of music. From a young age I used to sing carols in church, I learned the recorder, the trumpet and the piano and started to pick guitar up down the line. I was never good at reading music, but it seemed even then that I loved to create it. My recorder teacher described it as having “music in my soul.” However this creativity first found its expression in the word ‘improvisation’. One trumpet lesson my teacher noticed how difficult I was finding it to follow music; I kept making up notes, and he said I might be an improviser. It just so happened that he was a fan of Jazz solos, and excitedly took me next door to play an improvisation to the Piano teacher. Improvisation was pure melodic creativity – this was a key moment where I was suddenly sure that musicality was not confined to a page, there were notes all around you that could be grabbed out the air whenever you wanted.
After that I didn’t take classical lessons, I instead opted for self-discovery, teaching myself guitar by working out what notes fitted alongside each other. I love classical music, but recital never grabbed me as much as creativity. I remember wondering whether Mozart would say to me ‘go and play my music’ or ‘go and write your own!’ There is such a joy in bringing something of beauty or value into existence, or perhaps its better to see creativity as shining a light on a secret. But this was an inner dialogue, and above the surface my pursuit of music was very casual, just a hobby, something I enjoyed. I think I wrote my first songs around 13 years old.
Before this, however, I already l had a love for words. I remember at 11 years old, standing before the school reading a poem I’d written called ‘the 7th wave’. I loved books and stories; in particular I liked character studies or literature that explored humanity on a deep emotional level. Being from Dorset I grew to like Thomas Hardy, who for me was incredibly emotionally acute with his writing, and had a way of seeing life unfold. Essentially song writing took the two things I enjoyed most, melodic freedom, and words, and gave me a chance to put them together. After that stage you begin to see how naturally poetry and melody nurture each other. These two elements underpin my approach to writing, coupled with the most important aspect, purpose.
Anyway, I could natter on forever, but I don’t want to bore you! I hope my music says most of it. After releasing “Little Giant” last October I’m very excited to get this new album “Paperweights” out. There are similarities and differences between the two. Both titles broadly describe their philosophies. Little Giant was about encouragement, about small revelations of great significance, and was a deliberately peaceful album. I wanted to communicate that you don’t need to shout to be heard, and I wanted to bring some hush into a world that so often overlooks the significance of reflection. I guess “Paperweights” is about freedom, risk, vulnerability, moving on and letting go, lifting the paperweight so to speak. The title track is essentially a face off against these challenges. What I’ve really enjoyed about this album was the colours. That may sound strange, but I tend to see songs and even arrangements in different colours and shades. Paperweights was an opportunity for me to enjoy some musical freedom. Songs like “Summer thunder”, “Lullaby love” and “Where I want to go” were touching on sounds and flavours I’d never used before, and songs like “Vanished into everything” leaned more boldly towards classical arrangements than I had previously gone. There are no major departures, but some interesting introductions. For me it’s an album of different flavours, and its always fun to see how variety can hang together. That was a risk, but I was happy with the outcome. I hope you will be too.