Meet The Producer

As the time for me to finally get in the studio and make my album draws near I thought it might be nice for you to meet my partner in crime. Dan Goudie will be producing my album from start to finish. We’ll be growing this little seed into a gigantic tree together and I for one can’t bloody wait!

Dan Goudie

Dan Goudie

Here is a little interview that will tell you a bit about Dan and how he is feeling about this project!

Q: Where are you from?
A: Born and raised South London to a Yorkshireman and Irishwoman.

Q: What do you do when you are not making music?
A: When’s that?! Music is a full time job/obsession for me so there’s not much room for other stuff. When I do get time off I love skiing, eating out, spending time with the Mrs…

Q: How long does it normally take you to produce an album?
A: Project lengths vary hugely depending on type of music and of course budget. A month’s worth of sessions is an average from start to finish.

Q: What made you want to work on Sian’s album project?
A: I’ve had the fortune of working with Sian for a while now and as well as her being easy to work with I was really interested in her vision for this album. I’m looking forward to exploring some new territory with her.

Q: What other artists have you worked with?
A: I’ve been producing/writing/mixing/recording for quite a while and I’ve been lucky to work with a really diverse range of artists from U2 to UNKLE, Cover Drive to Clean Bandit, Ed Harcourt to Everything Everything, Ben Howard to Bombay Bicycle Club, Paloma Faith to Paolo Nutini. I like to get involved in all sorts of projects.

Q: What do you think of Sian’s album concept?
A: I think a concept for an album always takes it to the next level as then it becomes a unified piece rather than just a bunch of tracks. The specific concept Sian’s chosen is really beautiful and gives the songs a real identity.

Q: What is it like working with Sian?
A: Lots of fun!

Q: Which artists would you compare Sian to?
A: We’ve talked a lot about direction for this album and it’s going to be a new expression for her so watch this space!

Q: What is your most favourite project you have worked on?
A: Spending a few weeks writing songs in Barbados with Cover Drive was pretty fun!

Q: What else are you currently working on?
A: Juggling lots of projects with artists like Melissa Steel, Matrix & Futurebound and 5 Seconds of Summer to name a few.

Q: What is your favourite song of 2014 and why?
A: Picking favourites is always tough but to narrow it down I’d say something like Bloodsport by Raleigh Ritchie, Got No Brains by Dems, Everything Nice by Popcaan, Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson et al or Tove Lo’s Stay High (Habits remix). They all have such a strong identity and personality with interesting production and real emotion

Q: What is your ‘guilty pleasure’ song of 2014?
A: Rude by Magic! It’s sooo infectious!

You can look forward to hearing more about Dan as the album takes shape over the coming months…

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A Mother’s Love Will Always Prevail.

It was a cold day on the common so we huddled into the cafe by the bandstand for a cuppa to warm our cockles. As I sat down I had no idea what to expect. I had never done anything like this before. When I decided to write this album about other people’s story’s I hadn’t really considered what I would be like to actually meet with those people and have them tell me their deepest darkest secrets… And boy did I unknowingly dive in head first!

She was my first subject and she is without a doubt one of the most inspiring, positive, strong, caring and forgiving women I have ever had the pleasure of meeting…

I could tell she was nervous but she stayed very calm and kept smiling. She began by telling me all about her farther and his gambling addiction that eventually led him to leave her mother, her and her elder brother and sister when she was only very young. There were many tales of heartache and poverty that had already left me feeling like my problems paled in comparison.

As she sat in front of me a strong, 34 year old mother of a loving 15 year old son I never could’ve imagined what she was about to tell me next…

For the sake of her I will revert from telling too much detail but it was a terrible story of child abuse. Unknown to her mother her new partner was not a very nice man at all. Terrible things happened to her and her siblings and as she told me the details it was all I could do not to cry. As I said, I had never done anything like this before and I felt that I should remain strong and allow my subjects to be the one to poor their hearts out. I didn’t want her to feel like she had to hold back. The abuse went on for years until one day her mother walked into the bathroom and saw her lay there in the bath, shoulder to toe in bruises (he was always very clever not to leave marks on their faces). He was immediately kicked out and they thought they would never have to see him again.. but one day when she was 18; She had ordered a taxi home from her mothers house (she had moved out at a young age to live with her boyfriend as they were deeply in love) and when she got into the cab and said hello to the driver she realised he had a very familiar voice. She was only 4yrs old at the time of the abuse so she took a little while to recognise him but when she did her heart began to race. He never said a word about who he was so she played along as if she didn’t recognise him. She made pleasantries for the entire journey out of fear. Then as he stopped the car to drop her off she got out and just before she slammed the door and ran off she said: “I know who you are”. She got home and called her sister, they decided to call the police and try to get him arrested but she was too late. He had vanished, left his job his home, everything. They were desperate to bring justice to their lives and felt they had been given a chance but they searched and searched and they never managed to find him. It was only a few years before that that her and her siblings had openly talked about the abuse. She was so young that her brother and sister had not spoken with her about it at all as they had hoped she didn’t remember any of it. In turn she never brought it up as she was young and although the memories were vivid in her mind some details were hazy and she couldn’t remember how involved her siblings were. They were trying to protect her from the truth.

I couldn’t believe all that she had been through… but to my dismay the story continued. As I mentioned earlier she had moved in with her boyfriend at the age of 17 and at 19 she fell pregnant. It was then that her boyfriend began to show signs of physical abuse. As the pregnancy developed it got worse and worse. By some miracle she gave birth to a healthy and happy baby boy and in her hospital bed she vowed to herself that she would leave if it continued, one more heavy hand when she returned with her baby and she would leave him forever… And she did just that. She took her baby boy and a few clothes and headed for a women’s refuge. She had to live there for 2yrs, shut off from the world. She had to change her sons name and the only contact she had with her family was from a red phone box once a week. It was a hard time for her and she said that there was so much pain there, a lot of it to do with drugs. But it was still a sanctuary for her, a place where she and her son could be safe. They moved out of there after 2 years and moved on with their lives. A few minor set backs over the years but 15 years on and she is happy, healthy and free from any abuse with a loving son who has never had to suffer as she did. She ended her talk with me by telling me that she hoped I didn’t pity her now. She is a proud women and she has forgiven those men for what they did. She told me she didn’t want me to think that she had carried the pain her whole life… there was in fact a long history of abuse in her family and she was always determined to break the chain…

Those words stuck with me for a long time.

Please click the link below to listen to her song.

Farewell to 2014 we had a great time together… Introducing 2015!

There is frost on the windscreen and a smell of pine trees in the air, the Coca-Cola advert is on the telly and John Lewis are doing their best to bring us all to tears. I think Santa must be on his way…

It’s that time of year where we all reflect on how fast the last 12 months flew by and look forward to the year ahead with fresh starts and a clear mind.

So what does 2014 mean to you?

For me 2014 has been a 1000 step staircase made up of tiny little manageable steps. While one step alone doesn’t feel like a massive achievement when you turn around and look at how far you have climbed you feel pretty damn proud. Throughout the year I have stepped, jumped, tripped, fallen, got back up, skipped and ran up the stairs. Each tiny step getting me a little closer to my goal. And as the year draws to a close I feel very happy to be booked into the studio for January to finally start bringing all these songs to life. It has been a busy year, much of it you guys have been directly involved in and much of it has gone on behind the scenes and still can’t yet be talked about but a busy a beautiful year it has been.

So as we wrap up for 2014 and say a farewell ’til next year I reflect on a few of my steps:

Hitting my Pledge target was such a huge step towards making this album possible. We are still going with the campaign and you can still make your pledge and from here on out 15% of the money raised goes to Weston Hospice Care. A charity very close to my heart. I have been working with them a lot this year and was honoured when they asked me to perform at ‘Light Up The Lake’, it was a beautiful evening of remembrance for lost loved ones. It was wonderful to see so many families who have been helped by this wonderful charity. Thank you so much to those of you that made your pledges. I hope you are enjoying your goodies as they make their way to you. I am enjoying the photos of you with your gifts and your lovely messages so please do keep them coming. You can still pre-order my debut album at Pledge Music.

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Matt- With his Thank-You Card.

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Jo- With her Lyric Sheet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another big part of my musical journey this year was relocating from London back to my West Country roots.  Giving me more time for my music, family and sanity! To read about my love affair with London head to my previous blog.

I have had a great year of music, working with some frankly out of this world amazing musicians! I can’t even put into words what a bloody privilege and joy that has been… I am gradually getting together my team ready to hit the studio in 2015. Here are just a few of the people I have been lucky enough to work with. Click on their name for more info on them and what they do;

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Bill Banwell in rehearsal.

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Miguel Andrews in rehearsal.

photo 2 Davina Vincent at London’s United Voices gig, Shoreditch House.10516727_10154501931780008_856475324325699517_n Graeme Foy at Light Up The Lake for Weston Hospice Care.

10458020_10152535020557948_444724545219340737_nNevedya at The Alma, Bristol.

1511609_10204040021933945_8005020296310036960_oRuth Royall and her band at Mr Wolfs.

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Kate Dean doing backing vocals at The Musician, Leicester.

10444790_772593762775133_1610341163641651756_nGareth Esson rehearsing for London Rocks.

378965_10150485830840993_1724112763_nRhys Williams performing at The Comedy Club.

My fav gig of the year has to be The Musician Leicester supporting Nick Harper what a wonderfully talented, genuine and funny man he is.

My favourite new music at the moment has to be Jack Garratt what an amazingly talented man he is…a modern day ‘one man band’. Having tried to catch his live set for so long I over the moon to hear he was playing in Bristol and I had the pleasure of seeing him perform live at The Louisiana last week. He blew me away, to watch him is stop be inspired. With a guitar strapped to him, one hand on the keys and the other holding a drum stick he still managed to give a note perfect and extremely emotive vocal performance! If you haven’t already heard his stuff I highly recommend you check him out.

But I cannot reflect on 2014 without a thought for the crazy lady that is my manager Miss Cat Music herself. She has kept me sane when I needed it, cracked the whip when I needed it and let her hair down when I …. all the time! We have had a great year and as we go on into 2015 ready to finally make my debut album I can’t wait to share the journey with her. I think this picture really sums up this year for us.

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So in fear of rambling on forever in what started out as a blog just to say have a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and see you in 2015. I will finish with a little taster of what is to come for next year.

I have a very exciting gig on 30th January. It is a one-off intimate gig only 6 tickets available! It’s at a secret location in Balham, London where I will be cooking you dinner and keeping you topped up with Mulled Cider all evening. You can find out all the details HERE.

We already have a handful of festivals penciled in the diary from all over the UK and we will be announcing those dates next year.

I will finally be in the studio so if you have made your Pledge then you will be getting all the sneak previews of whats going on behind the scenes. Including first listen to every track as its born.  CLICK TO MAKE YOUR PLEDGE.

I have a new website coming up. On which we will be announcing the winner of my logo competition. You can still enter your logo ideas, details here.

Lots to look forward to. Time to start making my vision board for 2015!

Have a wonderful Christmas and a brilliant New Year!

Take Care

Sian x

 

 

 

A little update

Hi all,

It’s been a busy few weeks… Since moving back to the West Country myself and the M4 have done some serious bonding! We were already good mates but now we are pretty much inseparable! I’ve been doing a lot of backing vocal work for the lovely Ruth Royall lately. We have done some amazing gigs in London and Bristol and if you haven’t come along to a gig yet your should definitely check her out. Her music is awesome and she just so happens to be a pretty nice chick too. We have been having lots of fun singing our little hearts out. Myself, Ruth and the lovely Davina Vincent recently joined a choir called London’s United Voices you can follow us on twitter @Londonsuv. We performed our first ever gig last week at spectacular Shoreditch House. It was amazing! We sang songs such at ‘Let Me Be Your Fantasy’, ‘Diamonds’, ‘Get lucky’, ‘Just Hold on’… and much more. We had loads of fun and for a harmony obsessed singer like me, it is amazing to be back in a choir again. I will let you know when we are performing any public gigs so that you can come and check us out.

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I have also been working hard on your pledges. Everyone received their Thank-You Cards last week. Thanks for all your lovely pictures. This week I have sent out the Lyric Sheets. I am already getting many wonderful messages of thanks from you all. I am so glad you are enjoying your goodies. Keep the messages and pics coming. Next week will be the Signed E.P.’s going out so if you have pledged for one of those keep your eyes on your letter box. If you haven’t brought any goodies and like the sound of something, you can still Pledge at www.pledgemusic.com/siancross

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The most exiting thing in these last few weeks by far though has been getting in the studio with some super talented musicians and working on the album. I have some really cool new toys, a Voice Live and a super-duper new microphone which I can’t wait for you all to hear at the next gig. I will be putting out some studio sneak peaks very soon.

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Graeme Foy the Multi-tasking-Man

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Kate Spinklesparks Dean padding things out with some chords.

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Miguel Andrews smashing the drums!

Bill Banwell slapping the bass

Bill Banwell slapping the bass

 

I hope you are all doing well in life and enjoying each day.

let me know what you have been up to .. come and say hi on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

Love, love, love Sian x

Gig: The Musician, Leicester

It was great fun to be a fly-on-the-wall with Sian Cross last Thursday (Nov 6th) along with Graeme Foy [guitar] and Kate Dean [backing vocals], during their stripped-back acoustic gig at the “Midland’s premier live music venue”; The Musician in Leicester. She was supporting singer/songwriter Nick Harper in what became a scintillating evening of quality live music.

Taking full advantage of a 150 mile road trip from Bristol, Sian and Kate rehearsed harmonies in the back of the band-wagon for entertainment (and to keep Graeme’s attention-to-hunger at bay) until a well overdue pit-stop at Hopwood Park services on the M42 (Graeme’s all time favourite). Caffeinated, stretched and on the home straight to Leicester, there was an air of mystery as to what was the evening had in store…

The Musician is an institution. A mecca of live music, where eagle-eyed punters survey the performers on stage with sniper-concentration. Their pleasure is quality, made evident by the dozens of posters and photographs of some of the World’s best musicians adorning the walls. It’s not a huge venue, but the best rarely are; all that’s required is a good view of the stage, quality acoustics and of course an ample bar – three ticks there.

After a vocal and guitar warm up, including an impromptu medley of Bewitched hits (Sian likes to throw the sound guys a curveball every now and then), the doors were opened and the audience filtered in.

Performing a set of songs from her forthcoming debut album (pre-order it HERE), Sian kicked things off with A Memory, the harmony-rich Break the Chain and The World as I – a song that explores the unique views of a boy living with Asperger’s syndrome. The rest of the set ebbed and flowed, with Sian’s vocals hypnotising even the hardest, long-haired, moustachioed Midlands rockers in the crowd. By the time she broke into her penultimate number; What Do You Learn, the room was full of people hanging off every perfectly harmonised lyric and clean-cut acoustic guitar riff. She finished off the set with an homage to home; a cover of ‘Teardrop’, by Bristol-based Massive Attack.

SET LIST:
A Memory
Break the Chain
The World As I
Stare at Me
Gave Away
I’m Not Frightened
What Do You Learn
Teardrop (Massive Attack cover)

Watching from the crowd and enjoying every second with the rest of the audience was the headline act, Nick Harper, who said how much he enjoyed Sian’s music in a break during his set. He praised Sian and the band’s commitment having driven for three hours to get to the gig. Nick’s set was a real journey of guitarmanship and fearless vocals. The standout for us was ‘Juicy Fruit Girl’ – pure fun, have a listen!

So the experience at The Musician in Leicester was… great! Sian was genuinely humbled by the reception she received and thanked the venue, especially Malcolm the sound tech’ for making her feel welcome… Maybe she’ll be back soon. Copies of Sian’s EP ‘Leap Year’ were selling like hot cakes during the evening, which is great news too.

Have a listen to Sian’s music by clicking the links above and pre-order her debut album if you like what you hear. Oh, and here’s some photos of Sian Cross and the band at The Musician, Leicester, Thursday November 6th 2014:

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The vocal warm-up… Honestly

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On stage 1

Sian, belting it out!

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Sian, Kate and Graeme on stage at The Musician, Leicester

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Sian and the band with Nick Harper

 

Leap Year- A little piece of history.

Delving under my bed I fetch out an old cardboard box. As I take it downstairs I start to reminisce over the hours, days, weeks, months even years spent making the contents of this box. All that hard work, heart ache, joy, frustration, amazement, collaboration, pride and love all encapsulated in this box… Even less than that, in one tiny round disc within the box.

What an amazing adventure it was. We started out writing songs in my bedroom just me and one other and then ended up recording with a full band in none other than Abbey Road Studios!
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My debut EP ‘Leap Year’ was released just over 2+1/2 years ago. The title was chosen for many reasons; firstly that I am born on a leap year. Secondly, I had been writing the songs for the EP for such a long time, working on them with a band and with my co writer Rhys Williams. We had recorded some of the tracks already but were not content. It had been over a year from when I had started and I found it apt that the year we were finally due to complete it was in fact a Leap Year. Thirdly, I decided to release the EP on the 29th of February (my birthday) as what better present to myself. The fourth and final reason is of course that I had hoped this would be the year that my music career took a mighty LEAP into success…

“You can fail at what you don’t want so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love” – Jim Carey

There are many reasons that this was not the case and I think the main one was direction. As a singer/songwriter you write music you love and whether you love it for the lyrics, the melody, the beat the bass line or whatever, you write it because it is part of you and part of your journey. Well these 6 songs (and many others) were written over 4 years of my life. And as I grew and evolved so did my songs. From Motown/Soul to Acoustic to Pop to Rock I was into it all and I had no idea which of those genres was truly me. I loved them all, why could I not just sing/write them all? Unfortunately this is a business and I am selling a product, once you have gone through the organic part where you create and feel your way through then you are left with a product that you must sell. Every product has a market and each market has its place; You wouldn’t see Dolly Parton supporting Metalica now would you? (well unless you are at Glastonbury of course!). So I was learning and growing, and as much as I wanted to be ready to be an ‘artist’ to make my music and perform it to millions, I was not ready. I had no idea who I, ‘Sian Cross’ was in terms of music. I had trained in musical theatre for many years and during my training I loved taking on the characters and really getting into a role as I would get to sob, laugh even dance my way through a song. And while this training has really helped me to understand what it is to perform and is undoubtedly the reason why I love the tell a story through my music, having spent so much of my youth pretending to be someone else when I sing I had never really figured out what sort of singer I was. So I decided to spend the year focusing on that instead of going out into the world with no clue what I wanted. Because, what if somebody challenged me? I wouldn’t even know what I stood for.

It’s hard to wait around for something you know might never happen; but its harder to give up when you know its everything you want.”

Having said all that, who am I to say that it was not a success? How do we really define our success? I wrote and recorded a 6 track EP at Abbey Road Studios with some amazing musicians and friends, we had an brilliant time and I learnt a lot… All self funded as I juggled 3-4 day jobs just to afford it. I have a copy of it in my hand now. It is mine. I made it. And while there are so many things I would change with hindsight, it is all part of the journey of my music and it represents a moment in my wonderful life.

“Open the door in your head and when the door opens in real life, just walk through it”- Jim Carey

So here I am now 2 years on about to record my debut album. Signing my EP’s and sending them out to all the wonderful people who pledged for them in a bid to help me fund my dream. I have worked on my voice, work on my sound and I know exactly what I want to create. I just hope you love it! But for now, here is a piece of my history. It is who I once was, it is many of my life experiences put into song and it is of course in part the inspiration for who I am now and the album I that you have so kindly and faithfully pre-ordered. Your faith and support in my music is what keeps me going. So I have and will continue to succeed in life!

“Let the universe know what you want and continue to work for it while letting go of how it comes to pass” – Jim Carey

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Thank You

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Pritt Stick, Check.

Tissue paper, check.

Card, Check.

Scissors, check.

Tea bags, check!

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Ok its time to start fulfilling my Pledges. Those of you that were kind enough to pre-order my album and pledge for a little extra while you were there are going to be keeping me busy for the next few weeks! I will be gradually getting through making, printing, cutting, recording and delivering all your pledges. I am afraid you will have to wait a little longer for the album but I hope these goodies keep you going in the meantime.

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I am starting with my ‘Thank You Cards’. My friends and family will vouch for the fact that I am not much of a card giver. I find it a little impersonal and a waste of paper. Christmas’, birthdays, valentines day, weddings… we give cards only to open, read, put up around the house for a short amount of time and then throw them away. They are filled with words that someone else has written and they cost a fortune. If I am going to give a card it is going to be because my blood sweat and tears (from all the paper cuts) have gone into making it. From cutting out the card itself to sticking down each decoration and then lovingly writing my own personal message in there that says exactly what I want it too.

Now, my friend Joey is the queen of card making! She will put any card I attempt to make to shame and I love receiving hand crafted cards from her. I keep every single one!(remember I mentioned earlier about throwing out the cards you receive, you can’t possibly do that when it’s hand-made, it would be like throwing out a birthday present! So no wasting paper here.) But the beauty of card making is you don’t have to be some origami queen, it can be as simple as you like. It’s the process of making it that gives it its value not how fancy it is. My sister just had a birthday this weekend and I spent the morning making a card with my little nephew. He is not even 2 yrs old and while he was mainly obsessed with the Pritt Stick, he tore up the tissue paper, chose the flower and bow to put on, Stuck down the letters that read ‘Hapyp iBrthady’ and even scribbled his ‘name’ on the inside. It was no oil painting but it was made with love and he was so proud of himself! As was his mummy.

So you see, what I am trying to do is pave the way to making my mediocre cards acceptable to you now you know they were made with love!!! But seriously I hope you enjoy them and even if you don’t end up keeping them I hope you read the words and know that the time I spent making them pales in comparison to the gratitude I have for your pledges. I am so so happy and honoured to have your support that I would have to spend an eternity making cards before I even close to showing you how truly grateful I am.IMG_7516

THANK YOU

Sian x

P.S. You can still pre order my album and make your pledge at http://www.pledgemusic.com/siancross

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it”

I can’t imagine what it must feel like to have someone you love dearly think of you as a stranger… Seeing a blank look on their face that tells you that today, they are struggling to remember your name…

When I sat down to talk with Neil for the song that is now titled ‘A Memory’ I had no idea what to expect. But as I set up camp on his sofa with pen and paper in hand (and of course a cuppa), I listened as he recalled many childhood memories. He talked of his family values, of growing up and even of before he was born; his parents June and Henry (Jocky) and how they met and fell in love. It was beautiful to hear their story, a classic tale of true love full of dancing, courting and running away to be wed.

Sadly June passed away a few years ago and when she did, the undiagnosed Alzheimer’s condition that Jocky had developed seemed to instantly worsen. He had often forgotten simple things like locking the doors and closing the windows but now he was forgetting names, faces and places he’d been. Caring for June in the last few years of her life seemed to give him purpose; a focus that in some way managed to delay the effects of dementia. Over time it became apparent that Jocky needed extra care. Neil and his siblings had done everything they could to look after him, but they had to make the tough decision of housing him somewhere where he could get the 24hr professional care he needed to ensure the rest of his life is as long and full as it can be. Anyone who has had to make this decision for their parent(s) will realise first hand how hard it is and what a strain it can be on your relationship with them. But Neil and his siblings did the right thing.

Since the Alzheimer’s took a hold of Jocky he has still managed to recall many memories from his past. One that stuck in my mind was that of his mother’s name. When asked to recall a female name during some memory exercises with the nurses, her’s was the first name he said. I found this incredibly touching because he had not had a close relationship with his mother throughout his life. For me this really encapsulated the unspoken bond between a mother and child that can never be broken.

Amongst all the memories he has retained, Jocky appears to have no recollection of his wife June. Even though Neil and the family have placed several pictures around his room he has never asked where she is or who she was. In fact since she passed away he has not spoken her name. To me it seems as though the thought of her death was too painful to bear so he just erased her from his memory. This was hard for Neil to recall and I could tell it was a painful topic for him to talk about… But to me it was magical; a real testament of true love. His love for her was so great that he quite literally could not bear the thought of being without her. Alzheimer’s is a degenerative condition associated with a progressive loss of nerve cells or neurons. Yet in all the confusion and memory loss, Jocky seemingly has the ability to block out a memory. He has enough control of his mind to so obviously filter what was too painful for him to recall. I do not know enough about the disease to know if this is common in sufferers, but it astonished me.

This of course had to be the subject for the song.

I decided to write the song as a letter from June to Jocky. When I sing it I imagine June coming to Jocky in a dream, asking him to remember her… And in the opening line of the song; “Come with me…” I imagine her taking him for a walk along the pier where they first met, talking for hours about their time together. I see June and Jocky back together again and I see the joy in Jocky’s eyes as he allows the memory of June back in; The realisation that she was always there. All he has to do is remember.

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease.

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Alzheimer’s is predicted to affect 1 in 85 people globally by 2050.

Alzeimer’s Society are hosting ‘Memory Walks‘; a series of walking events taking place across England, Wales and Northern Ireland every autumn, raising money to provide vital support for people living with dementia and fund research into finding a cure. I am going to be attending the Bristol Memory Walk on 11th October at 10am. To find out what walks are going on near you head to: www.memorywalk.org.uk and enter your postcode into the search bar. When giving to charity we have a tendency to stick to the ones closest to our hearts. It is that very reason which led me donate 15% of all money raised after target through my Pledge campaign to Weston Hospice Care. But one of the thing making this album has taught me is that there are many other problems in this world that also deserve our attention. Writing this song in particular really made me think about how precious moments and memories are and that they should be cherished, rejoiced and revisited as often as possible. ‘A Memory’ is one of the most emotional songs I have written. There is something in it that just reaches into you and draws out emotion. I am yet to perform it without a percussion of sniffles from the audience but I put that down to the wonderful love story of June and Jocky.

For June and Jocky, may your story inspire love in all our hearts.

 

Logo Competition… So Far

With a new album on the horizon for Sian Cross, there’s a call for some other shiny new things too. Top of the hitlist right now is Sian’s new logo. She’s looking for a brand new design to use on her album cover, website, flyers and everything else she puts her name on (even her mug of tea!).

Always wanting to keep lots of people involved in her journey with this album, Sian thought it would be great to see if any of her fans had any suggestions. A competition was launched in her eNewsletter (sign up via Facebook here) a couple of weeks ago and we’ve had some great entries so far.

The competition is still open, so if you’ve got an idea and are nifty with a pen and paper or a wiz on Photoshop, get creating and send your logo suggestion to sian@siancross.co.uk. The prize for the chosen logo is no fewer than TEN copies of the new album plus your name in the credits!

Here’s a few of the entries so far:

logo contest entriesGood luck with your design… Sian is looking forward to seeing it!

Getting Inside “The World As I”

The kettle was boiling, there was a box of tissues next to the sofa and I was sat poised with my pencil and paper. Kathryn came in with 2 cups of tea and sat down next to me looking slightly nervous about the emotions talking to me might bring to the surface. Kathryn’s son Rob has Asperger syndrome. He is 24 now and he was 3 when he was diagnosed.

National Autism Society

The National Autistic Society is the leading UK charity for people with Autism (which includes Asperger syndrome)

Over the course of this album process I have sat down with many people and listened to them unveil the most private and harrowing moments in their lives. It can be hard to get them to open up, I often ask lots of leading questions and sometimes change the subject for a while just to give them some respite and help them to relax. With the majority of people I have had 2 sometimes 3 meetings just to get them to a place where they feel comfortable to lift the lid on feelings and memories that they have buried deep inside, but not Kathryn. All I had to say was “Tell me about your son” and she began to tell me all about Rob. From the frustrating times when they didn’t know why he was behaving the way he was and blaming herself, feeling like she had somehow failed her first child, to her best friend sitting her down to tell her that the nursery had expressed concern about Rob and the possiblity that he may be autistic. Then the whirlwind of emotions that came with it; relief that everything finally made sense combined with the worry that this condition may take away his innocence, that he will be put through test after test and not be able to enjoy his childhood… I am sure if I had offered to camp out there for a few days Kathryn could’ve happily talked continuously about her son. The love that shone out of her as she spoke about him was so apparent.

When I sat down with Kathryn I thought I would write about how she had coped with it and what it was like for her to deal with Rob’s condition on a day to day basis. But as she spoke about him I began to realise that he was a much more special person. Kathryn’s fear of him losing his innocence couldn’t have been further from the truth. He has the most wonderful pure personality; an innocence that you and I would be incapable of holding on to. His view of the world is idealistic; he would never lie or cheat. He loves football but rather than support a team he supports whoever is winning, because “why wouldn’t you want the winners to win?”

SOUNDCLOUD-BUTTONWhen he was young, Rob struggled to understand that there was once a time before he was born. He would see pictures and ask where he was, and after several failed attempts of explaining that he hadn’t been born yet, Kathryn found herself saying “You were in God’s pocket”. Years on, Rob held onto this saying and would tell people when looking at those very photos that that’s where he was.

Rob came home from nursery one day and when Kathryn asked him about his day he got frustrated with her; “Why do you always ask me that Mum? You know what I did!”. It is common for young children with Asperger’s to see themselves and their mother as 2 separate people. Rob believed that Kathryn was with him at all times even when he couldn’t see her. I thought that was such a beautiful thing… Just as Kathryn talked of her son with ease, I too could go on for pages and pages about all the wonderful stories she told me, but I want to tell you how his song came to life!

Tears were shed, tea was drunk, hugs were shared and my pad was filled with scribbles of wonderful material for the song. But as I left I knew that I wanted to write the song about Rob, I wanted to get inside his world and write the song from his perspective on life. He has such a wonderful view point, looking at things with open eyes, finding joy in things that would pass us by unnoticed. So I called Kathryn and explained this to her, she was delighted and told me that years ago Rob wrote a story about his year in ‘Bridging’ (a school that he went to for 1 year to ‘bridge the gap’ between moving from a school for children with Asperger’s to state school). She promised to ask him if he would be happy for me to read that story and use it for my song. To my delight he said yes!

Sian Cross & Rhys Williams

Rhys and I in the studio

I sat down and read through what Rob had titled ‘My Top 20 Mad Moments’ and I was smiling from beginning to end. I immediately booked a room at Bally Studios in Tottenham Hale with Rhys Williams (my co-writer). I sat in front of the mic’, Rhys was at the piano and just as the words had flowed out of Kathryn that evening, the song seemed to do the same from me.

This song has a special place in my heart and I cannot wait to work on it more for the album. It always gets such a wonderful response at gigs and gives me such a heart warming feel when I sing it. One of my proudest moments to date is when I played it to Kathryn for the first time and through teary eyes she said “You’ve just got him down to a T, it’s perfect.”

‘The World As I’, is featured in Bolt; a short film by Kim Strobl