My Mum passed away earlier this week.  And although this is a music blog, I hope you can indulge me in writing a tribute to her involvement in my musical life – she probably had more influence over the years than anyone else.

Me and Mum, a while ago!

I was the youngest of four, and my Mum claimed she always knew I’d be musical as she happened to join a church choir and apparently went to a number of organ concerts when she was pregnant with me.

Some of my earliest memories are of her lullabies and when I was nursery-age we used to sit and listen to classical music, and she’d make up funny stories to go with the feel of the music.  I’ve always been more of a “feel” musician than a technical one and it possibly stems from this.  (And is it any wonder I ended up doing soundtracks!)

After school, she’d sometimes take me and my brother to church, where we’d did and sing hymns, a cappella to an empty church.  It seems a bit bonkers looking back, but again, this seems to be where I picked one of my strongest skills – harmonising.

At the age of about 7, my interest in music grew – guitar lessons were available at school, and after learning Lily The Pink and Drunken Sailor on the school guitar, Mum was convinced enough to get me a cheap half size classical for my birthday, which I played every day until it broke six years later.  She learnt guitar at the same time, possibly to give me some form of competition!

Another interest of mine was drums, and I’d been playing on an improvised drum set made up on buckets, saucepan lids and chop sticks since I was about 8.  When shopping in town, I’d always drag her into the drum shop so I could drool over the drums and cymbals and show off my knowledge.  When I was 13, the drum shop guy asked if I wanted to try a knackered old 70s Premier kit.  To my disbelief, Mum said to him “How much is it?”  He replied £95; a genuinely large amount for us at the time.  Mum sighed.  “Would you actually play this if we got it?”  Yes, yes I would.

That Christmas I got my battered drum kit as a joint Christmas/birthday present on the understanding that I had to work harder at school and do more jobs around the house.  It was a great investment as I used it to learn on, gigged it with lots of bands and in fact I still have it in my shed!

So my teens were taken up with bands and gigs and Mum, bless her, carted my drums around to rehearsal and gigs constantly.  Having said that, she was never a “tennis mum”.  She’d drop the gear off and ask how the gig went but she was never pushy about music which was great, as I wanted to do things on my own.

Mum’s Photo On My Studio Wall of Fame.

When I went professional in music production she was cautiously pleased for me, although to her dying day I’m not sure she ever completely understood what I did for a living.

“How’s….work?” she’d ask.  “Have you had lots of people singing onto your computer?”

A few years ago, a friend of mine sat and spent a day with my recording device, chatting to Mum about her life. I have the recordings on my studio computer. I’ve never listened to them but I’m doing to dig them out soon and see what she had to say.  This is why I keep and catalogue every recording I can – you never know when they’re going to come in handy…