Tag Archives: Interview

Everybody *Had* a Good Time–Interview with The Darkness!!

Happy Friday! I can’t believe where this week’s gone. Doesn’t time fly when you have a good time?

So Tuesday saw my interview with ultimate UK glam rock band, THE DARKNESS. Dan Hawkins, Ed Graham and Frankie Poullain took time out of their busy schedules to sit down with myself, Ed Wellman and Tom Stevens to be interviewed for Siren 107.3 FM. It was amazing and humbling to chat with these guys. They were relaxed and very friendly, funny, thoughtful, and just a little tongue-in-cheek at times. Exactly how you’d imagine an iconic rock band to be between lunch and sound check. If you happen to be reading this, guys, I just want to say “thank you” again. You rocked!


At The Engine Shed: Frankie, Dan, myself and Ed, scrutinising my interview crib sheet (or not, LOL). 🙂

This interview was on air on Wednesday and Thursday night ~ but if you missed it, you can tune in now, right now, right here:


As if this wasn’t exciting enough, I also had the gig to go to later that day!  And it was brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Justin’s vocals as strong and unique as ever. Dan’s guitar playing extraordinary and breathtaking. Ed’s drumming powerful and mind-boggling. And Frankie’s bass playing bone-shaking and still-buzzing-in-my-head. The show had everything: Shrill riffs, stand-up comedy, handstands (you’ve got to see Justin’s leg-clapping to understand what I mean), crowd walking, awkward silences (Justin likes awkward silences, it appears), more comedy, audience participation, jump suits, a shiny bolero, and bobble hats. AWE-SOME.


Unfortunately, due to a technical hitch, my camera refused to take any photos, and my very ancient mobile wasn’t quite up to the task. To cap it all, I no longer have the lead to get photos off the mobile, so this… with apologies… is the best I can do. It’s my token, “I Was There” photo. And TBH, I was way too busy singing and rocking along to worry about taking photos.
So. Everybody Had a Good Time. I’m still reeling. What a week!

The Darkness very definitely rocks!

Everybody Have A Good Time!

It’s Music Monday!


There really is only one song I could possibly post today. Here it is:

And here’s the reason why this is the only song I could possibly post today:



And there’s more! Because: *squeeeeeeeeeeeee* All things being well and no hiccups, disasters or other unscheduled mishaps getting in the way, I’ll be interviewing The Darkness briefly tomorrow before the show, for and on behalf of The Midweek Drive on Siren 107.3 FM.  Excuse me a moment while I go cheer quietly in a corner of my study…  Okay, back again. The interview is scheduled to be aired on Wednesday, 27 November 2013, on Siren 107.3 FM between 5pm and 7pm. Tune in or miss out! More news plus photos –assuming I get Permission to Land Post! — soon…. 😀

FRIDAY SPECIAL! Introducing Cameron Tilbury, CEO of MapleStar Music & Media!

It’s another Friday Special edition here on Romance That Rocks Your World ~ with a highly interesting, versatile and glamorous guest!

In the not so distant past, I’ve brought you a writer and rock star’s wife as well as an outstanding rock photographer. Today, it is my tremendous pleasure to introduce you another industry insider: Please give it up for Cameron Tilbury, CEO of MapleStar Music & Media!

Cameron and I connected in November of last year during my debut on the Siren FM Midweek Drive Edition and we’ve been chatting online and offline ever since. Normally, it’s Cameron’s job to promote his artist and new talent and I thought it would be fun to turn the table on him and place him in the limelight for the day.

Welcome, Cameron!

MapleStar_Blue copy

Cameron, hi! It’s so lovely to welcome you to my humble blog. I’m a little bit star-struck, actually. I haven’t had a CEO visit me before! 🙂

Don’t be!  You’re the author and artist.  All I do is tell people what you guys do.  I’m not really a CEO, more like the guy that runs the joint.  That’s the beauty of having your own business—you can put whatever you want on the business card!

We’ve been chatting online and offline for months now, but for those of my readers who maybe don’t know you, would you like to give us the three-line pitch: Who is Cameron Tilbury?

Wow…three lines.  Okay.  Here goes:

Cameron Tilbury was born in Canada and is a former musician/former radio announcer/former advertising copywriter/creative director/branding strategist who lived in England and started his own publicity company and now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, has a cowboy heart and loves his wife.

…there.  How was that?

That was beautiful. A man with a cowboy heart who loves his wife and does great things for musicians and artists ~ I salute you! Now I hang out on your Facebook page, MapleStar Music & Media, quite a lot.

You say that your roots are in International Radio Promotion and Publicity…but you’re also so much more! Tell us a little bit about how you started out and how your business has developed?

That’s sort of a long story, to I’ll try to make it as brief as possible.  As I said earlier, I’m a frustrated musician.  I started playing Pedal Steel Guitar when I was 7 years old, and played until I was about 18.  I was good enough that I could have gone pro and started touring, recording etc., but opted instead for education and the “security” of a “real” job.

My background was country music and, after university and college, I landed a job at Canada’s top country station…where I worked for about a year until they fired me for basically being immature—which I was.  I tried acting—had a couple of TV commercials and did a lot of work as an extra.  I missed radio though, and ended up being an announcer at a radio station near Toronto.

By the time I was approaching 30, I decided that I wanted more “regular” hours, so moved over to the creative department of the station and started writing and producing commercials.  It wasn’t long before I was made Creative Director.  I moved around to a few different radio stations in Toronto before deciding that in order to get to the ad agency level, I would have to change scenery.  So…I moved to England.

*Nicky interrupts, excitedly* Yes, I can relate to that! Good things happen when you move to England! Where did your travels take you?

My travels took me to Kent first of all! I worked as Creative Director at an ad agency in Sittingbourne…then moved up to Nottingham, then down to Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, where I spent a couple of years.  I was then approached to be the copywriter for the new inhouse ad agency for Betfair in Hammersmith, London.

While I was at Betfair, I was asked to help out a Canadian artist in getting his song played on radio in the UK…that became worldwide radio promotion.  At the same time, Betfair was undergoing some changes and I decided that I had enough going on that I could start my own business helping other artists get worldwide radio airplay.  I added publicity to the mix and the rest is history.

I moved to Nashville a couple of years ago, and it wasn’t long before I met my wife Jo-Leah, who is a songwriter/singer here. Now MapleStar Music & Media has an office in Canada as well as here in Nashville.  We have clients from the UK, Canada and USA.

What a journey! I am a little in awe here. 🙂 But tell me, what attracts you to an artist? How do you know they’ve got the… *Nicky scratches head, desperately trying to avoid the use of the words, X-factor!*…the certain something that’ll make them a success?

What attracts me to an artist?  Good question—and “X-Factor” is right.  They need to have talent first of all.  But there’s also a certain amount of those indefinable qualities—and they’re not always the same in each artist.  Some of them though are focus, drive, looks, movement, desire…hard to describe what it is, but you know it when you see it.  We’re working with a young guy now, Seth Alley.  He has all of that—and on top of it, he’s a great kid.  Jo-Leah has written a lot with him and as writers, they really click.  Big things coming soon from him!

MapleStar Music & Media Client, Seth Alley; country legend Lee Greenwood; and Cameron Tilbury. Photo courtesy of Cameron Tilbury, with thanks.

MapleStar Music & Media Client, Seth Alley; country legend Lee Greenwood; and Cameron Tilbury. Photo courtesy of Cameron Tilbury, with thanks.

Do you find artists, or do artists find you? 

A bit of both.  We’re always on the look-out for clients, but sometimes they hear about us.  Rock photographer Nick Elliott is a prime example.  He did some work for Lesley Curtis, another of our clients.  She’s based in England and so is Nick.  He saw how we’re handling her and now he’s a client.

What advice would you give to an aspiring singer, songwriter or band? What are the top three ‘must do’s’ to grow success in the industry?

That’s a tough one.  There’s no formula for success—and anyone who tries to tell you there is has no idea what they’re talking about.  There are qualities that can help success but not create it.

I guess…first and foremost is concentrate on your craft—whether that’s being a photographer, singer, actor—and success will follow.  Stardom is fleeting—and if you want to be a “star” first, then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons.  Perfect example from the sports world:  David Beckham.  All he ever wanted to do was play football and be the best at it.  He loves it.  It drives him—and success and stardom has followed him.  By contrast, the sports world is littered with players who set out to be a star.  Musically, look at the longevity all of the bands from the classic rock era are enjoying—careers that span 40 years, and they’re still selling out stadiums. Why?  Because when they started, stardom was only a “by-product” of being the best at what they do.  Too many artists of today want to be stars first—and they have brief success and then gone.

Secondly…surround yourself with people like you who have the drive to help you get where you want to be.  Success breeds success.

Finally…love what you do.  It’s an old saying that still rings true today:  find something you love to do and you’ll never work a day in your life.

Cameron with Kix Brooks (formerly of the multi award winning duo Brooks & Dunn). Photo courtesy of Cameron Tilbury, with thanks.

Cameron with Kix Brooks (formerly of the multi award-winning duo Brooks & Dunn). Photo courtesy of Cameron Tilbury, with thanks.

Oooh, I love that saying! I guess you’re not really working at all then by the sound of it, LOL! Cameron, have you got any success stories or interesting anecdotes you can share with us today? 

I think that one of the coolest things that happened was when I was in my first radio job.  Country legend Loretta Lynn was scheduled to visit the radio station for an interview.  As one of the junior employees, I was sent to walk with Loretta from her hotel to the station (they were connected by a shopping mall).  So here I was, meeting a true legend.  Singing star, author—and the movie Coal Miner’s Daughter had taken her from country star to just “star.”  I had grown up listening to her music.  Anyway, I went to meet her in the lobby of the hotel and we headed over towards the radio station.  She asked me if we had to get there right away and I said that we had a bit of extra time.  She asked, “do y’all mind if we go shopping?”.  So off we went.  I was shopping for boots with Loretta Lynn.  She bought a pair, and I took her to the interview.  A week later she was on TV on a talk show…wearing the boots she had bought.  Very cool.

How exciting is that? And go you, for going that extra mile. There’s a lesson there, too, right? Let’s turn this around a minute and ask you about the worst thing that’s ever happened ‘on the job’? Can you share a situation where you though, Gosh, I really wish I/they hadn’t done that? People love train-wreck stories simply because they can learn from them but you don’t have to answer this one…. LOL!

Another famous country star, George Jones (who recently died) left me in his wake!  George was nicknamed “No Show Jones” because, for years he had a drinking problem and didn’t show up for concerts and interviews.  I had waited for several hours in the lobby of his hotel to meet for a pre-arranged interview.  All of a sudden, I look out the front window of the hotel and watch his tour bus pull away.  I had fallen victim to No Show!

Ouch. Perhaps it was a rite of passage? I bet you took it in your stride. Speaking of stride, let’s change gear! So far, we’ve talked about artists and the kind of work you do. But what’s a typical day in the life of Cameron Tilbury?

I’m an early riser, so I’m up at 5a.m.

*Nicky quietly squeals in horror: 5 am??*

I check my emails and social media from overnight, then hit the gym for an hour.  I get home and feed our dog, Dixie, then have a shower and start the day.

My office is at home, so no ridiculous commutes (I had enough of that when I took the train and tube from Peterborough to Hammersmith!).  First thing is to check playlists from radio stations around the world to make sure our artists are getting played.  I do that every day, 7 days a week.  I could be sending out press releases and following up on them, scanning social media for opportunities for our business and our artists, talking to clients on the phone, calling radio stations…every day is a little different.

This week, as you interview me, it’s CMA Music Festival here in Nashville—probably the busiest week of the year.

I remember now, although I didn’t realize when we started this conversation! Thank you so much for taking time out of your hectic schedule to stop by here today… So how’s the CMA Music Festival shaping your days?

For example,  I worked all day yesterday [Monday] and then went to the Global Showcase downtown.  It was the chance for artists from all over the world to perform here in Nashville.  Today [Tuesday], I have a meeting at a recording studio on Music Row—with Seth Alley’s producer—and then another international showcase tonight.  Tomorrow afternoon, I’ll be at another international showcase—and one of our clients, Abi Bridgeman from Southport, England will be performing.  Thursday morning I’ll be at the new Music City Center ribbon cutting ceremony with Lady Antebellum, then another showcase.  Friday I’ll be with Abi again at Bridgestone Arena for another performance.

In between…lots of passing out business cards, meeting with artists and other music business people, and just being seen.  I also have all of my regular work to do in between, so it’s a brutal week.

Jo-Leah and Cameron backstage at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, at the recent Honor Thy Song benefit. Photo courtesy of Cameron Tilbury, with thanks.

Jo-Leah and Cameron backstage at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, at the recent Honor Thy Song benefit. Photo courtesy of Cameron Tilbury, with thanks.

Jo-Leah handles mostly songwriting, and we’re going into music publishing so she’ll be handling a lot of that.  Lori Thompson heads our Canadian office so she keeps busy up there.  She has a strong background in film, literary and fashion so she brings a lot to the table.  We chat virtually every day.

Talk about multi-tasking ~ I’m breathless just reading your schedule! Apart from the many demands on your time (and the very early starts to your day!), what’s the hardest thing about your job? 

Idon’t think there are any things that are particularly hard.  Some things are just a little harder than others.

Spoken like a true show man. Well, I’m in awe at your energy levels, zest and enthusiasm. Thank you for a great chat! Cameron, you’ve been very gracious with your time but do we have another few seconds for the quick-fire fun questions? We do? Excellent!

I’ve loved it!  Okay…let’s do rapid fire.

Rapid Fun with Cameron Tilbury

Rock, pop or jazz?
Ha!  You forgot country!  I’ll have to say rock AND country!  My two favorite acts are Iron Maiden and George Strait.

Morning or evening person?
Totally morning.  It drives my wife crazy because she’s a night owl.
*Nicky laughs*: I’m with Jo-Leah on that one!

Diet coke or cream soda?
Neither.  I don’t drink many fizzy drinks—if I do, Dr Pepper.  But I drink sweet tea (that’s what we call it here in the south—others may call it ice tea) and lots of coffee!

Wine or beer? 

Steak dinner or fish’n’chips? 

Maple syrup or golden syrup? 
I guess Maple…I’m trying to lose weight so not much of either I’m afraid.

Musically speaking, would you love to go back to the 1960s, 1980s or stay in the present?
Hmm.  I think here is just fine.

Big night out, or quiet night in? 
Quiet night in.  No question.

Three desert island disks?
Iron Maiden:  A Matter of Life and Death, anything by George Strait, and a compilation of all of the songs my wife has written.

And all good things must come to an end…

Cool! I think that’s it… Oh, two more questions. Just to paraphrase our mutual friend, the one and only Alex Lewczuk:

Cameron, have you had a reasonably interesting blogospheric interaction with us today?  Absolutely! 

And may I welcome you back to my blog sometime in the near future?  Totally!  Just say when!


You can find out more about Cameron, his company and his artists here:


Dear readers, as always,
the floor is yours!!

You’ve met the man, you know what kind of fascinating work he does day in and day out…do you have any questions for Cameron? Oh, and could you rise every morning at 5 a.m.?

FRIDAY SPECIAL! Meet Nick Elliott, Rock Photographer Extraordinaire

Today, I’m rocking your world from a different angle!

It’s my great pleasure and privilege to bring you a glimpse into the world and the art of Nick Elliott, Rock Photographer.

Nick Elliott. Photo courtesy of Nick Elliott, with thanks.

Nick Elliott. Photo courtesy of Nick Elliott, with thanks.

Nick and I first ‘met’ during the live on-air launch party for Sophie’s Run, and we’ve been in touch via social media ever since. Nick has a terrific sense of humour and a huge wealth of experience of working in and with the rock industry. Evidently, I was going to be intrigued by his work and his career, and eventually I asked him whether he might like to visit me for an interview.  He said yes! So without further ado, I give you:

Logo courtesy of Nick Elliott PR Office, with thanks.

Logo courtesy of Nick Elliott PR Office, with thanks.

Hi Nick, thank you so much for taking time out of your hectic schedule to chat with me today ~ I am honoured! So, let’s introduce you to my readers. Who is Nick Elliott? Give me the potted history of Nick Elliott, rock photographer.

Nick Elliott is, essentially, a deep and passionate and a romantic person who shares a bed with a partner that goes under the name of creativity and has an unbelievable drive and push to create work that will live on well beyond him.

I like your style, Nick! Tell us, how did you get into rock photography?

I’ve always been around and worked in the music industry in various different guises.

If I have a second passion to photography, it’s music and it is really the foundation of my image creation – sitting in a dark room listening to legendary rock bands and some fantastic artists. These guys then went onto become my heroes, part of the foundation of the person I am.

Prior to specialising in the music business,I was a creative advertising photographer shooting a lot of above-the-line campaigns working on accounts such as cigarette manufacturers, pharmaceuticals, cars and fashion for some of the biggest advertising agencies and clients on the planet.

The digi revolution was just starting to hit, things were changing in a big way, I was creatively very frustrated and decided that, at that point, it was the right time to specialise in what I really wanted to do.

Follow that dream ~ that’s simply inspiring! You mentioned the digi revolution… how has technology and equipment changed since you first started out? Does this make your job easier or harder?

Technology has changed the photographic business but it has also, effectively, killed the business.

A I Lay Daying copyright by Nick Elliott via www.redalbelpublishing.com.

“As I Lay Dying” copyright by Nick Elliott via http://www.redalbelpublishing.com.

Whoa, I didn’t expect that answer! How come?

Technology has now opened up photography, which is an art form and should always remain that, to be violated by a load of nobody people thinking that they are somebody and, in this case photographers.

Creativity cannot be taught but they now claim that photography can, be so I don’t welcome the move from traditional to digital photography, as a whole.

It’s a lot easier now to just take pictures but a lot harder to define a style and create art.

Do you know, I think I know what you mean. Digitization has sent similar ‘shock waves’ through the publishing industry!

But let’s leave technology for a moment and look at your subjects… your models, I mean. How have rock bands changes since you first started out?

They’ve become a lot ‘cleaner’, you don’t have as much excess as you did – drink, drugs, sex – it’s made for TV now and is not as ‘raw’. It’s not as ‘working class’, which drove particular parts of the genre, like heavy metal, and the inspiration for some of the great songs to be written.

It’s really interesting to hear you say that ~ this is fabulous input from one who knows to one who writes about it! 🙂 Speaking of, I am incredibly structured in my writing process, I like my routine. Do you have a typical ‘shooting day’ schedule?

 There isn’t one. There is no ‘typical’ in this business at all.

Lol, I’ll file that comment for future reference! So in the absence of typical-ness, how do you know when/that you’ve taken that killer shot, the amazing photo that will make your (and the artist’s) day?

Well, for me it is a very spiritual thing, it’s a sense of knowing that when you look at this particular composition, certainly with the live stuff, it’s there. It’s a feeling, you know, like a chemistry that I have got exactly what I went there to get.

I like that! It definitely has to be some kind of chemistry, it shows in your photos! Now thenWhat’s the best thing about being a rock photographer?

I don’t think there is a ‘best thing’ about being a rock photographer. For me, it’s about living the dream, fulfilling childhood ambitions but most of all, it is about the creation of the images, the art, leaving a mark, taking people to another place when they look at my work.

I’d say that’s definitely mission accomplished! Do you have any tips for aspiring rock photographers?

It’s all about style.

"Black Stone Cherry" copyright by Nick Elliott represented by www.redlabelpublishing.com.

“Black Stone Cherry” copyright by Nick Elliott represented by http://www.redlabelpublishing.com.

Short, sweet, and to the point. Budding rock photographers of the world, take note: find your style. Thank you, Nick. 🙂

I see time is whizzing by all too quickly, but can we manage some quick-fire pick’n’mix questions just for fun? We can? Excellent, here goes:

Digital photography or traditional rolls of film?
There are pros and cons on both sides but if I had to choose I’d go for digital.

Colour or black and white?
Black and white.

Bon Jovi or Queen?

Steak dinner or fish’n’chips?
Steak dinner.

Beer or wine? (or cocktails??)
Neither – scotch and coke.

 Vinyl, or mp3/downloads?

If you could go back in time, would you rather go back to the 1960s or the 1980s?

If you were to swap roles with a rock star, who would you be: singer, guitarist, drummer, bassist or keyboarder?

Wow, that’s so cool! There are the ingredients for a great rock’n’roll party here, methinks. Thank you for taking part! And thank you indeed again for visiting and chatting today. I guess I better let you go, but I hope that maybe you’ll come back one day so I can find out more about defining a style and quiz you about a sample day at work (if not a typical one, LOL). It’s been a blast!

Want to know more?
Find Nick Elliott here:


Lovely readers ~ your turn! Have you any thoughts or questions for Nick?

Hanging By A Thread

It’s Music Monday!


And it’s a very special Music Monday today. I have an exclusive! Oh yes, I do! Remember THE HUSH? They’ve visited this blog many times now: for Nicky Reviews Rock, to celebrate a video release and to take part in book launches!

Well, today, it is my great pleasure and privilege to bring you a clip from their brand new single, Hanging By A Thread, released on 10 April!

Read on for the clip and an exclusive interview with Jazmine and Lee… but first of all, the PRESS RELEASE. Oh yes, you get the full-on rock star treatment here!

THE HUSH Hanging by a Thread cover

For Immediate Release


Femme Fatale Fronted Indie Powerhouse Band Making Great Progress on Sophomore Album

April 9, 2013 – Los Angeles — Alternately haunting and powerful, THE HUSH’s new track, Hanging by a Thread, is a love-sick sucker punch with slippery tones wrapped around silver soaked vocals that make the venom go down easy. Singer/lyricist Jazmine Giovanni’s pitch-perfect delivery is an alluring ride from sweet temptation to calculated chaos.The well articulated rock sound pouring out of the band sets the emotional stage from the first drum beat and intro of seemingly innocent gun-slinging guitars.

The much-anticipated April 10 release of THE HUSH’s third single on iTunes, cdbaby and other popular digital sites marks much progress toward their upcoming album. The new track joins recently released singles Touch and Go along with Hold You Down, the latter accompanied by their first video that debuted on YouTube April 1, 2012.

After receiving wide praise for their first EP, “Scene of the Crime” (2010), THE HUSH has spent the last two years writing their sophomore effort while continuing to play live in popular Hollywood (CA) venues.With nine more new tunes in the works and their next video in development, THE HUSH is definitely getting louder.For more information, including links to twitter, facebook, Reverbnation and more, go to THEHUSHrockband.com

# # #

Cover photo  by Evi T’Bolt. All rights reserved THE HUSH. From left: Jazmine Giovanni, vocals; Blake Paulson, drums; Andrew James, bass; Greg Pajer, guitar; Lee Landrum, lead guitar.

Hanging by a Thread  2012 copyright: Pacesetter.MP3 provided for media/promotional use only and is not intended for sale or distribution by the recipient. All rights reserved THE HUSH.


THE HUSH have very kindly made available to me a short clip from this latest release to give you all a flavour for what it sounds like!

Isn’t it FANTASTIC??? Go get it, now! 🙂

Mini-Interview with Jazmine and Lee

You know how much I love rock, of course you do. So you cannot be surprised that I’ve connected with this amazing band, and that I had some questions about this single! 🙂 Lead singer Jazmine Giovanni and guitarist Lee Landrum have kindly indulged my curiosity and here are there answers. YOU ROCK, guys!

Hanging By A Thread… I know that feeling well! What was the inspiration for the song?

Jazmine:   The inspiration for “hanging” was really just where I was at personally at that point in time.  There was a lot of change looming but the song is really a portrait of a frozen moment; a sort of suspended animation before the hammer falls, so to speak.

How long did it take to put together?

Jazmine: I recall having the melody right away but not knowing what to say. I knew how I felt listening to the progression, but my emotions were in a nebulous state and it took me quite some time to simplify them adequately.  They eventually came, four or five months after the music.  This one I kept in my writing rotation because I just felt it had something.

Lee:  The music came together rather quickly.  We (the guys) had a lot of ideas for this one.  After Jazmine wrote the lyrics and melody we went back in and fine tuned a few parts, like the gunslinger guitar sounds and some of the drum rolls.

What’s next for THE HUSH~ can we look forward to another album?

Lee:  Yes, our first full-length album is in the works.  Three of the songs have already been released as singles, Hanging By A Thread being one of them.  We might release a couple more as singles along the way, hasn’t been decided yet.  The new material is great, I’m looking forward to getting back in the studio to record.  We’ve grown a lot the past couple years and it will show in this next album.

*Squeeee! Nicky is very excited about this….*

You know I love little insights into the wild and wonderful world of rock. You won’t be surprised if I’ m asking whether anything out of the ordinary take place during writing/recording… but you can, of course, take the fifth! 🙂

Lee:  While we are mainly a down to business band, something almost always happens that stops us all in our tracks for a laugh or two — usually some stupid “guy” joke from one of us, Jazmine included.  Out of the ordinary usually happens at shows where the environment isn’t so controlled.  Not too long ago I plugged in on stage and nothing…not a sound from my amp.  We were ticking down to showtime so the sound person and I had to quickly trace the problem.  I found a dead plug on stage, easily remedied but somewhat of a momentary heart-stopper.

Gosh, I can imagine! Thank you both for taking the time to stop by and chat, I really enjoyed having you here today. Rock on!

Was that awesome, or was that awesome?

How about you? Do you ever feel like you’re Hanging By  a Thread?

And here’s a reminder ~ you can get the single in now on iTunes and cdbaby!!


CentreStage with Miriam Wakerly: Writing with a difference since she was eight…

Welcome to CentreStage!

CentreStage showcases amazing authors from around the world who may share with you stories about themselves, their writing or their lives. We have seen all manner of features on CentreStage so far but one thing is certain: there never is a dull moment here.

Today, it is my great pleasure to introduce fellow loveahappyending.com author Miriam Wakerly!

Miriam tells us something about her years as ‘wordsmith’ … Over to you, Miriam! First of all, do you think writers are born or made?

From listening to other writers and reflecting on my own experience I sit firmly quivering on the fence with this question. Surely it has to be a combination of both? The urge to write, or make things up, seems to come at an early age and the stronger this is the more effort that person may put into developing any inborn talent. But it doesn’t seem like an effort. It’s as if you can’t not write!

On the other hand neither parent nor teacher can force a child to like books, but rather encourage and provide opportunity, I guess. I think all children have a pretty lively imagination.

I get the ‘can’t not write’ thing, 100 per cent.  And the lively imagination!!! So how do you fit into that?

My parents told me that as a small child I was always happy with my own company. I was good at occupying myself. Now there may be many reasons for this – lack of other children to play with, a mother who was suffering from depression, just one sibling – my sister ten years older than me. Perhaps I sought out the other worlds that books could offer, but certainly I loved to read and write as soon as I could. Once I discovered it, the tiny local library was a haven of pleasure; I gobbled up books and was always good as essays, compositions and stories. When asked what I wanted to do when I was grown-up, I would say, when around 8 years old, that I wanted to be ‘an authoress’ – or a bus conductress. Perhaps my inspirational role models were limited!

I doubt they were limited! I love the way you describe your love for books and your library haven. It sounds like a magical escape world.  So, how did you move from the pleasure of reading to the pleasure of writing? Tell us a bit about your writing life.

My first published article was in the School Magazine. I was 13 and this was the first issue; it was a new venture and I was the youngest contributor. It opened like this:

‘I am in love. Yes – he is dark, handsome, has good looking features and dreamy, brown eyes – and a wet nose!’

Cringingly embarrassing, but yes, it was about our black Cocker Spaniel, an account of his funny antics and achievements. From this you might think I was born to write really bad romantic comedy.

No, no, no! I adore this opening line, nothing cringeworthy about it. But do tell… did you write rom-coms?

I reckon almost any fiction, including mine, needs to make the reader smile now and then, but not necessarily laugh out loud. I admire any writer who can keep the comedy bubbling along from cover to cover! Certainly I did write what may be described as romantic fiction. I had a go at Mills & Boons years ago, but I think it was with the idea of making a fortune, not because it was really my kind of book. I never quite managed that working-to-a-formula-but-giving-them-something-different-thing.

But I did get many stories, with titles like ‘The Eye of the Storm’ and ‘Love Turned Sour’, published in magazines such as My Story, Romance and True Story. I don’t think they exist now, but I became a ‘regular’ and was paid around £80 per story in the 1980s. Looking back, not a bad rate, really! I did this when my three children were growing up and I was working odd days as a supply teacher, doing the Mumsy juggling thing, spinning plates and so on. My first ever published story was in Christian Herald!

The magazine editors never notified me – it was always exciting to call at the newsagents and flick through the pages to see if a story was in that month. Then a while later I would get my cheque in the post.

That is amazing! What a revelation. I’ve tried to read the feature above but my eyes aren’t good enough… You’ll have to send me a hardcopy! But I hear you wrote more serious articles, too?

Writing articles was part of my training ground. I always knew I loved writing and tried my hand as a freelance, building up a portfolio to help get PR work for companies. So at first the articles were about things I knew a little bit about: Does your Garden have Acid Soil?  in Popular Gardening; Wasn’t My Face Red? About embarrassing moments with toddlers, in Under-5 magazine (Playgroups organisation). A humorous account of a sailing holiday that went into Woman’s Realm; that kind of thing.

Ooooh, I feel an anthology coming on. Can you have an anthology of your own articles? Anyway, some kind of collection: Miriam’s views on life, the universe and everything?

Later, topics became increasingly bizarre, including bees; designer radiators; puppy training pads; systems integration; pan-European bulk storage and transportation; and retail security in changing rooms!

How come?

Well, after various proper jobs in the real working world, I set up my own PR and Marketing company – just working solo, writing press releases, feature articles, product and company brochures, and later, words for company websites. One company marketed boilers and radiators; as well as the more technical stuff, I wrote some ‘fascinating’ case studies about the buildings where their products were installed, like The Royal Courts of Justice and the Grand Hotel in Brighton. Here’s some other titles: ‘Varroa Disaster Won’t Go Away’ – an article on bees in Farmers’ Weekly; Cat Allergy and Cat Owners in Pet Business World; Odour Busters – on pet smells in the house;   There were many others. See what I mean? But the subject matter got even more unlikely!

Later I just focused on projects for IT companies dealing in software, connectivity and other technological advances – with over 30 clients in total. This was the commercial sector most in need and the most lucrative. So, after much deliberation and digestion of boring technical matter, I put together articles like: Hidden Structure – article on cabling in Premises and Facilities Management; and Why Doesn’t the Lift Work? This was an article on the perils of Y2K! Remember that old ‘millennium bug’? No, it would be too, too terribly boring to tell more of this. There were more! You don’t want to know.

I do! This kind of stuff fascinates me. Really! And… it’ll go right in your collection of articles about just about anything! 🙂 But I interrupt again, I’m sorry. You were saying…?

Suffice to say that after a few years, not surprisingly, I had a really desperate urge to do something completely different, which I did. And, of course when would I get that novel written?

Aha! Had you written a novel by then?

Not sure when I started but for sure I wrote two or three – the usual rejection story. Skip a few years, then I launched my first novel, Gypsies Stop tHere the day after I retired in 2008; the sequel/prequel No Gypsies Served in 2010 and this year Shades of Appley Green – a modern village novel. How that all happened is another story …

So it took a few years, overall?

You could say that. But all those years I was writing, writing … maybe I was born that way, I don’t know! But certainly I’ve had a lot of practice at putting words together – sometimes even in the right order.

Wow, Miriam–you make me laugh. And I stand in awe! What a wealth of writing and being-published experience you have… This is a truly amazing feature, thank you so much for sharing!  (And I await your anthology with bated breath!) Now let’s find out more about your novels. First of all,  Gypsies Stop tHere and No Gypsies Served:

Gypsies Stop tHere

“A fantastic, insightful first novel… Challenges prejudices and entertains thoroughly… perfect holiday read” Waterstone’s

Will uprooting herself from London to live in the country help Kay escape guilt-ridden memories of her husband’s death? Far from finding a quiet life, she is caught up in an age-old village conflict where passionate opinions on Romany Gypsy Travellers divide the local people.

A young woman, Lena, enters her life, unwittingly putting Kay’s plans on hold. Kay struggles to not only come to terms with her emotional past but also to resolve Lena’s problems, those of the village and the Gypsies. And another relationship blossoms that she would never have dreamed of…

No Gypsies Served, published 2010, sequel/prequel to Gypsies Stop tHere

Two years have passed since Kay successfully campaigned for the Appley Green Gypsy Site, and four years since her husband was murdered. Life in the village was going so well, until the phone call and letter. Then comes the disastrous site opening. Worst of all, Dunstan, whom she realises is her best friend and ally, is giving her the cold shoulder for some unknown reason.

Dunstan is taking an emotional trip down memory lane, into childhood as a Gypsy on the road, and his eventual break from his people. Why is he so angry with Kay that he keeps away from her? Chances of a longed for reconciliation look slim …

And then, changing gears slightly… Shades of Appley Green, a modern village novel, set in the same village but the first of a new series:

Shades of Appley Green – a modern village novel

Steph is a special, but troubled young woman. Chosen by the most venerated man in Appley Green to fulfil his mission, she feels publicly admired rather than privately loved. She certainly does not trust men!

In helping a once famous, elderly architect with Parkinson’s regain a social life, she finds herself taking personal risks, fending off objections, blind to danger. We wait for the moment when it dawns on Steph what is driving her deep-seated obsession, for only then can she find the happiness she deserves.

Appley Green is a charming English village. Everyone says so. But people are still people. With the emotional turmoil that comes with love, birth and death, a close-knit community can harbour betrayal and guilt, as well as joy and laughter.

You can find all of Miriam’s book on Amazon in paperback in Kindle editions.  You can also visit Miriam on her blog, or find her on Facebook and Twitter. Go on, don’t be shy! Miriam loves a good natter, and, as you saw, she can talk about almost anything……

So, my friends: here’s an author in Miriam who’s not afraid to tackle unusual, potentially controversial topics. What have you up your sleeve that is different and waiting to be written? Have you got a stack of wild-and-wacky articles to your name that are languishing on the shelf, or in a publication somewhere? (Tell us in strictest blogosphere confidence, of course!)

Nicky Wells, Gracing BBC Airwaves (Again)

Holy Microphone! as Sophie would say.
It’s official! I’m a radio addict.  I love being “live on air” on the radio.  So: I thought I’d do it all over again….

Nicky and Elise after the interview in December ’11

As many of you probably recall (given the noise I made about it!), on 21 December last year, I had the great fortune of visiting Elise Rayner on the Afternoon Show on BBC Radio Bristol to talk about my romantic comedy debut, Sophie’s Turn.  Elise gave me an amazing amount of airspace during my first “Beeb” interview and I remember ‘threatening’ that I might have to return when the sequel is written.Well, not only is the sequel, Sophie’s Run, written but it has also been signed by Sapphire Star Publishing–alongside, of course, my first novel.  So I thought it was time to make good on my promise (threat?) and return to BBC Radio Bristol for an update.

Today, I had the pleasure of having a 15 minute chat live on air with the wonderful Alex Lewis.  And did I have the best of times again?  Absolutely!

Nicky and Alex after the interview in May ’12
(Thanks for letting me snap-and-share again!)

Alex asked me about me, and my writing, Sophie’s Turn, the sequel, signing a publishing contract and also about loveahappyending.com.  Once again, I forgot all about being in a studio and talking live on air.  It was such fun!  I think I am addicted.

So here’s the audio…

The definite introduction to Me, Nicky Wells, and to Romance that Rocks Your World, with a big mention for loveahappyending.com.

Due to the length of the interview and the size of the resulting sound file… you guessed it, I had to split it into two parts. Actually, the soundcapture software did it for me without telling me but hey ho, I figured it out when two truncated files showed up. Apologoies! Anyhooo….  In Part 1, Alex asks me about my writing history and background right up to the point of signing with Sapphire Star **inelegant interruption of soundfile here**

**resumption of soundfile here** and in Part 2, Alex asks me about connections with Bristol, inspiration and loveahappyending. Rock on!

And here’s the question for the real pros out there:  How do you stop yourself from “uhm-ing” and “err-ing” and mentioning a lot of “stuff” when live on air?

CentreStage with Stephanie Keyes: Finding Magic in Everywhere

Welcome to CentreStageCentreStage showcases fantastic authors from around the world, introducing in particular fellow featured authors at loveahappyending.com as well as fellow authors in the Sapphire Star Publishing family.  In this new, exciting feature, these authors might write for you about their lives, or their writing journey, or anything else that matters to them.  Every feature will be different in format and flavour, so watch out for a variety of stories and tales.

Today, it is my tremendous pleasure to welcome loveahappyending.com featured author Stephanie Keyes to this fifth edition of CentreStage!

CentreStage:  Please give it up for…. STEPHANIE KEYES!

Hi, Stephanie!  Thanks for visiting CentreStage today, it is really exciting to have you here.  Tell us about yourself… Who are you, and what makes you tick?

I am a gadget freak, a GLEEK, a Harry Potter addict, a full-time working mom of two, a wife, a lover of banana and Nutella crepes, and thunderstorms. When I’m working, I talk to so many people all the time, every day, that when I’m home I prefer to stay in and order a pizza over going out and celebrating. I travel regularly, about twenty-five per cent of the time for work, and spend a great deal of my time coaching people on how to communicate more effectively. I self-published my first novel, The Star Child, on December 15, 2011.”

Stephanie Keyes is my pen name. So most of the time I feel like I have this alter ego that I’m maintaining. However, our personalities are identical so maybe we’re twins? Who knows!

Stephanie Keyes’ photo courtesy of
Kristina Serafini Photo

Tell us about your debut novel, The Star Child

The Star Child is a Young Adult fantasy novel about Kellen St. James, who isn’t just your average seventeen-year-old prodigy. This kid has a Yale degree, a photographic memory, and is addicted to everything 80s. Plus there’s the girl who’s been haunting his dreams for the last eleven years. When the sudden death of his grandmother, takes him from the East Coast to the Irish Coast, Kellen suddenly finds himself face to face with his own personal ghost. Plus, she’s come spinning a tale about a prophecy in which Kellen will save the world from darkness. Together they will travel through an underworld of faeries and ghosts, angels and demons, not to mention a pack of really ticked off wild dogs, all to save the world from darkness. But will they make it in time? That’s the question.

What inspired you to write The Star Child?

Kids have to grow up so early today, much earlier than I had to. So when I got the idea for The Star Child, I didn’t hesitate, but immediately started writing it with the YA Genre in mind. Why not encourage imagination a little longer? Plus, I just love the idea of magic and reality co-existing. I always look for magic in everywhere, I believe that we all start out with magic inside of us – we just make a personal decision about whether or not to keep it alive. The Star Child is Stephanie Keyes doing just that.

It sounds like Stephanie Keyes, author, is full of surprises.  Would you like to tell us some of the wild and wacky things you have done in your life?

Wild and wacky…

Well, like my character, Kellen St. James, I too lied to my parents about my college major. I didn’t go as far as to photoshop my grade reports, however, I did keep them from them. When I graduated from high school, I wanted to study Music Education and they wanted me to study Accounting. Now, I have never had a gift for numbers. They don’t interest me. So you can imagine how well that would have gone down as a profession for me. I tried it for one term, before I changed my major to music without telling anyone. It’s a good thing that I did, too, because that was where I met my husband, who was a trumpet performance major.

Anyhow, my parents refused to provide any type of financial support for this little “escapade” of mine. So I subsidized my college expenses by playing in a bar on the weekend in a small jazz band. I played saxophone and sang. In order to make our stage show a little more interesting to the ten or so blatantly intoxicated individuals that showed up, I would walk the bar playing the saxophone while people added tips to the jar. While I am certain that Ella Fitzgerald was cringing at this blatantly disrespectful forum that I’d chosen in which to render covers of her classics, the patrons, while conscious, seemed to enjoy it.

Ooooh, I bet there’s more! What’s the most fantastical experience of your life so far?

For the past fifteen years or so, I’ve been a total workaholic. I’d be glued to my blackberry or whatever smartphone happened to be available. Whenever a work e-mail came, I’d respond, even if it was 2 a.m. My life was structured, organized, and boring. Needless to say that was pre-kids, but that’s another post. Anyway, one day in 2006 a co-worker came and told me that she was planning a vacation to Ireland and I was jealous. I’d always wanted to go to Europe.

My husband and I had planned a trip to London and Paris for our honeymoon in 2001, but tragically, September 11th occurred one month before, and we cancelled our European trip for a honeymoon in New England. So this enticing carrot, dangled directly in front of me by my co-worker, was almost too much to take. When I told my husband about it, he said, “Why, why don’t we just go? What are we waiting for?”

So we planned the trip for the weekend of our fifth wedding anniversary, not knowing that I would be five months pregnant when we actually go to go! What was so fantastic about the trip was certainly the people and the culture, but also the fact that I completely disconnected from everything during that experience and I just lived in the present. There were times when I didn’t remember the last day I worked, breathed air so clean that my lungs burned from taking a shallow breath, and moments when I knew that there must be a better version of me, a better life for me out there.

Though I’m absolutely certain that my fantastical experience might seem boring to some, to me, it was the start of a new life. One that’s been changing every day ever since. Oh and that workaholic? The one who checked her phone in the middle of night? She just turned in her notice.

Whoop whooop and congratulations, that is so exciting for you!  And not at all a boring experience, I think it takes a lot of courage to step out of your life so completely and take a long trip abroad.  Speaking of exciting: I hear you have some very exciting news about The Star Child!

What’s really exciting about The Star Child is that I just signed a contract with Inkspell Publishing for The Star Child.  While I self-published it in December 2011, after signing with Inkspell, the publisher and I agreed that The Star child would benefit from some extra TLC. So it’s gone off of the market for the time being while it gets edited and a new cover. I am thrilled to see how Kellen will turn out! So, although the book isn’t available right now, it will be on September 21st! Look for more information to come on my website or on Inkspell’s website.

Thanks so much for sharing your background, inspiration and fantastic news:  congratulations! That is so exciting, I can’t wait to see how it all develops.  And of course, having read The Star Child, I am anxiously awaiting the sequel!  Rock on, Stephanie Keyes!! X

More about Stephanie Keyes

Stephanie Keyes was born in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania and has worked for the past twelve years as a corporate educator and curriculum designer in the Telecommunications industry. A seasoned, facilitator, Stephanie Keyes is no stranger to presenting. She’s worked in Training and Development for an international telecommunications corporation for the past twelve years; spending the first eight years of her career as a Software Trainer and Technical Writer and the last four working in Human Resources and Employee Development.

Stephanie holds an undergraduate degree in Management Information Systems and a Master’s in Education. She’s also created and delivered several courses on winning and retaining customer business, including Powerful Presentations: Conversations That Drive Results©. In addition, Stephanie has worked extensively as a personal coach and mentor. In her spare time, Keyes also operates a freelance graphic and instructional design business, Sycamore Road Design. She holds a Master’s degree in Education with a specialization in Instructional Technology from Duquesne University and a B.S. in Management Information Systems from Robert Morris University. She is a classically trained clarinetist, but also plays the saxophone and sings. When she’s not writing, she is a wife to a wonderfully supportive husband and mother to two little boys whom she cites as her inspiration for all things writing. The Star Child is Mrs. Keyes’ debut novel.

Visit Stephanie’s website or blog to find out more about her work in progress.  You can follow Stephanie on Twitter or Facebook as well as Goodreads and LinkedIn.  Stephanie has a presence on YouTube and is a featured author with the innovative and interactive author/reader project, loveahappyending.com.

Nicky Reviews Rock Proudly Presents: THE HUSH

Welcome to the fifth edition of Nicky Reviews Rock, bringing you interviews and album reviews from rock bands around the world… with an extra special place for new and emerging talent.  Rock On!

Today, it is my great pleasure to welcome THE HUSH. If you’re looking for rock with a difference, something unique and amazing, look no further. In this feature, find an introduction to THE HUSH, kindly provided by the band itself; an album review written by yours truly (me!); and an interview. Grab a cuppa or something stronger, sit back, and enjoy. And for the really authentic experience, check out those links and have a listen while you read!


Original, fresh, infectious and in-charge, THE HUSH is a five piece rock band delivering pop sensibility combined with musical artistry and thought provoking lyrics filled with plenty of attitude.  Lead singer Jazmine Giovanni embodies rock & roll by commanding the stage with seductive allure while slicing the air with her astounding range and powerhouse voice.  Their music is bonafide hard rock yet doesn’t neglect dynamics.  “Our style has landed us in a unique spot,” explains Lee Landrum, lead guitarist and founder of the band. “Full of surprises, some of our songs start out with melodic innocence then, suddenly, full-blown energy takes over.”

THE HUSH was born in 2009 and immediately were off and running, throwing themselves into writing/ recording/debuting their EP, Scene of the Crime, while playing acclaimed Los Angeles venues such as The Viper Room, Troubadour, House of Blues and more.  With each show came more and more followers and buzz.

Individually the members of THE HUSH have been performing/writing/recording for years with notable artists including Gwen Stefani, KISS and Miley Cyrus.  Playing with various artists throughout the Country, they have also performed on The Tonight Show, The View, Good Morning America and at Coachella and SXSW.  While each member of THE HUSH stands on their own, together they are a force of nature.

Give it a minute. With more to come, THE HUSH tells Nicky Reviews Rock that the band is about to get louder:

***’Tip of the Tongue’, new single, now on iTunes. Link available at www.THEHUSHrockband.com

***’Hold You Down’, new single, to be released early March.

***’Hold You Down’ video release event scheduled for March 30 at Key Club in Hollywood. Details about the show available soon at www.THEHUSHrockband.com


When I downloaded this album, the first thing that struck me was the unusual cover.  No black background here, no ‘traditional’ rock images.  Instead, a soft-edged, white-and-grey picture of a woman’s face and hand, making the classic ‘hush’ gesture:  finger on lips.  It’s a very impactful image, universally recognised, and aptly captures the name of the band.  But what about the album title:  ‘Scene of the Crime’?  That would suggest violence, something bad that happened.  Why must we be quiet (Hush!) about it?  What kind of crime was being committed?

I rarely find myself quite so intrigued by an album cover, and with all the seeming contradictions going on, I wasn’t sure quite what to expect.  Well, what I got was strong, engaging rock with haunting melodies and tantalising beats.  Success!

The opening track, ‘So Hollywood’, instantly had me grooving.  After a powerful intro come clear, carrying vocals.  The instruments pull back a little to give me the full impact of that voice, but by the chorus, the band is rocking with strong riffs and a good beat.  The overall effect is… unexpected, distinctive and unique.  I like the way in which the vocals and guitar work together, echoing each other, continuing each other’s themes.  The next track, ‘Touch and Go’ has a gritty feel to it, and I mean that in a good way.  There are strong guitars and a powerful rhythm, and always that juxtaposition between an all-out chorus and the slightly gentler verses, where the emphasis is on the melody and the voice.  And so it continues; I am hooked!  ‘Queen of Sheba’ starts off hard and fast with instant sing-along value:  Kiss!  Kiss!  Kiss!  Half-way through, we are treated to another slower, seductive, lyrical moment with a beautiful melody.  This is my kind of music!  If you’re looking for a fantastic guitar intro, check out ‘Fire Lights the Way.’  My favourite track is possibly ‘See God Tonight’.  It has a lovely, rolling drum rhythm and a slightly bluesy undertone, but it’s particularly the lyrics that capture my attention here.

So let’s talk about lyrics.  Lyrics matter to me, greatly.  If I can’t connect to the lyrics, I can’t connect to the music.  In this regard, THE HUSH has two fabulous things going for it.  First of all, the vocals are clear and the lyrics can mostly be easily understood.  This is an instant winner for me.  And secondly, there are the lyrics themselves.  In my humble opinion, THE HUSH is tackling some slightly unusual subjects and each song tells a story.  There’s the lady of the night who has started to care about one particular man; but does he give a damn (Touch and Go)?  And there’s the unsure believer who’d like some certainty (See God Tonight).  These are lyrics that draw you in and get you thinking, and they’re married extremely well with the music that delivers and supports them.

THE HUSH, ‘Scene of the Crime’:  A distinctive, unique and engaging rock album featuring powerful vocals, great instrumentals and beautiful lyrics.  I thoroughly recommend listening!

But why not listen for yourself?  Follow these links to listen to SEE GOD TONIGHT or TOUCH AND GO.  Enjoy!


It is with tremendous delight that I introduce today my very special guest, THE HUSH!  Welcome to Nicky Reviews Rock!  I stumbled across you on Twitter and am delighted to meet you ‘in depth’ today.  As always, I’d love to find out about the people behind the music as well as the music itself.  You guys have very kindly offered to answer a few questions this here new fan has for you, so here goes… 

NRR:  First of all, I love the band history you sent me; that’s an impressive story!  I am wondering whether you might tell me a little bit more about how you met and how THE HUSH band was born? 

LL: I worked with Andrew, Blake and Greg on another project a few years back.  We always had a good vibe so when that project concluded (Dec. 08) we decided to continue together.   We played around with some new ideas and, after a couple months, started looking for a singer.  Blake brought in Jazmine one day and that was it.  We knew she was the perfect match.  The five of us have been running fast ever since.

NRR:  Congratulations on a fantastic album, ‘Scene of the Crime’.  Tell me a little about the dynamics behind making this album… is there a chief songwriter? 

JG: I write all the melodies and lyrics.  How I come to both of those varies from song to song.  Sometimes Lee will bring in a riff or a chord progression and the boys will mold it and arrange it into a byte that I can take home and write around.  Other times I have my ideas pretty well set and they write around them.  But the songs as a whole are really a group effort, each member contributing quite of bit creatively.

NRR:  Unusally, there is no title track as such… Yet ‘Scene of the Crime’ is picked up in ‘Fire Lights the Way’.  Would you like to tell us more about your album title, and the connection between the song and the album title (if there is one)? 

JG: You are right.  Scene of the Crime is a lyric in ‘Fire Lights the Way’, which was the first song we wrote as a band.  It was very fitting, this LP being the origin of our path together as a band, that it be named for a lyric in our first song.  Sort of “it started here.”

NRR:  Who did you all listen to (still listen to, perhaps) when you’re not making your own music?  Any particular influences or idols? 

LL:  If you asked every member is the band this question there would be a list of influences a mile long.  Music is our life, when not creating our own we listen to others, go to concerts and clubs – basically soak it in.  For me personally, any great guitar player in the zone is an inspiration.  I’ll leave it at that and let Jazmine share her specific favourites.

JG:  I grew up in a varied musical scene.  My dad was a jazz drummer and I spent 10 years in the Opera as a child so my taste and influences cover the spectrum; Bill Evans, Miles Davis, Puccini, George Michael, Freddie Mercury, Prince, Whitney, NIN, Def Leppard, Dream Theater, Chaka Khan, Marvin Gaye all had a significant impact.  Right now I’m listening to Mutemath, Jane’s Addiction, Bon Iver, Scissor Sisters.

NRR:  As you might know from previous editions of NRR, lyrics matter to me.  Greatly!  Your lyrics are thoughtful and thought-provoking, and deal with quite different subject matters than one might perhaps expect of hard rock.  I’m thinking “Touch and Go”, I’m thinking “Queen of Sheba”.  Who’s in charge of lyrics?  And:  what comes first, the lyrics, or the music? 

JG:  I’m glad you are enjoying them.  It’s interesting—when I write alone, the music and lyrics seem to present themselves together, as though already married.  With the boys, they give me something musically to work with and I write to the vibe; what the chords are suggesting and what it seems to want to say.

NRR:  Why ‘The HUSH’?  Your music is anything but… is it that juxtaposition that intrigued you?  What’s the story here? 

JG:  I love the story of our name and I find that because it’s a total juxtaposition, I love it even more.  I come from a theatrical background.  Every show has a life of its own and a different personality.  But there is always a commonality to each performance.  As the house lights dim and the audience begins to settle in right before the start of the show, there is a moment of hush.  It’s a quiet shared by the audience and the players on stage that only lasts a second, but that is THE HUSH.  We thought it was apropos.

NRR: I daresay that ‘HUSH’ of anticipation is present even in a rock concert when the house lights go down… blink and you’ll miss it, but it is there, before the cheers erupt. Thanks for sharing, this is fascinating!

NRR:  What’s the most musically complex song you’ve ever made?  Do you all have a favourite song—and if so, which one and why?

LL:  ‘When the Night Comes’ is probably most complex.  The chords in the verse are a combination of both guitars and the bass—meaning, the three of us playing different lines to make up one chord progression.  My personal favourite is ‘See God’ because it reminds me of the experience of night surfing alone.  Right before paddling out, everything in the water and the air has a mysterious feel, just like the verse.  When catching the wave there is a powerful burst of energy, like the chorus.  The haunting drum beat is much like the adrenaline pumping through my heart.  That song is in my head almost every time I paddle out in the dark.

NRR:  Where do you see yourself going next?  Do you have plans for more albums?  Any plans for going global?

LL:  We really want to get out on the road.  Global, absolutely.  Since coming together we’ve been writing, recording and, with Hollywood in our backyard, playing local shows at the same time.  We are so lucky that ‘local’ includes great clubs like The Viper Room, House of Blues, The Troubadour, The Roxy—some of the greatest places to play on Earth.  We will always continue to write so, yes, more albums on the way.  We just released a single, ‘Tip of the Tongue;, and have two more coming in the next couple months—‘Hold You Down’ in March and ‘Hanging by a Thread’ in April.  We are putting the finishing touches on the video for ‘Hold You Down; and are going to debut that March 30 at Key Club in Hollywood.  This is our first video, big milestone to celebrate so we are really looking forward to this show.

NRR:  And finally!  In my rock star romance, Sophie’s Turn, rock singer Dan reassures Sophie that ‘what goes on tour, stays on tour.’  Would you mind sharing the weirdest, funniest, scariest or most bizarre thing that ever happened to THE HUSH on tour or during a show? 

JG:  I think Dan has it right.  Why break the code?

LL:  Agree, what happens on tour stays on tour.

NRR:  I guess I asked for that… 🙂 But now I really wonder what you guys get up to! XX

Thanks so much to Jazmine and Lee for your time and for sharing such fascinating insights.  I love the whole idea of ‘The Hush’ and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be listening out for it—and the band—and pointing it—and the band—out to anyone who cares to listen.  I wish you every success with your song launches, video launch party (how I wish I could be there) and future album.  And when you go global, I look forward to seeing you in the UK!! “Rock on…”

Visit THE HUSH on their website, follow THE HUSH on Twitter or on Facebook. Find sample tracks and more information about THE HUSH on Reverbnation.  And last but not least, you can get your copy of “Scene of the Crime” and all the new tracks on iTunes and CD baby.

A spot of housekeeping:  all information, photos and links used with artist’s permission.

Nicky Wells visits The Littlereader Library and Private Detective Ian MacGregger today!

I’m doing my infamous double act again, featuring in two places all at once today:  The Littlereader Library and Ian MacGregger’s blog!

First of all, it is my great pleasure to visit Lindsay Healy’s wonderful blog, The Littlereader Library.

Lindsay has very kindly reviewed Sophie’s Turn  and she feels that “The author has penned an enjoyable, light romantic novel with some entertaining comedy moments, and there is a palpable chemistry between Sophie and Dan!”  I am truly honoured and delighted that Lindsay enjoyed my debut novel and that she is keenly anticipating the sequel!  You can read the full review here.

Moreover, Lindsay is also hosting me for an interview and you can find out about my favourite music, the sequel to Sophie’s Turn, and my favourite reads right here.

Thank you so much to Lindsay for featuring me on her blog.  Please do join me there and say hello!  Lindsay is an Associate Reader at the innovative author/reader project, loveahappyending.com.

And secondly…  A while back, a certain Ian MacGregger put out a call on Twitter asking authors to share where and when inspiration strikes them.  Well, you know me, I always have a story to tell, so I fired off my instant response to him.  The outcome of the resulting Twitter exchange is a guest blog I wrote for his Private Detective blog… a totally new environment for this here romance writer, and very exciting.  Please do stop by and take a look!  Thank you, Ian, for inviting me on your blog.  It’s a real pleasure to be there! XX