Singer and songwriter Sean Edwards leads the way through uncertainty with a song that gloriously celebrates the very art of being a Happy Mess.
Offering a uniquely expressive, recognisable voice, impressive musicianship, and superbly engaging, concise songwriting, the release introduces Edwards as a promising new artist.
We caught an interview with him to find out more about his process and his journey so far. Here’s how it went.
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Hi Sean, congrats on the new single! It’s a pleasure to be able to chat with you. Where did this all begin for you – how long have you been making music / performing?
Ever since I was born (1996) I’ve been surrounded by music – My granddad conducts a brass band and has ever since I can remember. I’ve found myself having inherited a music ear. Naturally I started on the cornet (basically a big trumpet), then as I matured I preferred piano and drums, my dad also being a pianist.
Fast track to now, I played drums in my first school band and then grew to love the process of songwriting which made me pick up the guitar and start to sing! Due to my busy work life I have fallen in and out of creating music – I’ve played one show in a bar I used to work at, my stage name was Wasteman Barry! The idea was that if I mess up or sounded awful, I could pretend it was all an act!
How did the song Happy Mess come about, and why do you think it resonates so well with listeners right now?
I wrote Happy Mess last year when I was living and working in Cambridge, UK, I’d moved there to take the job and long story short the company wasn’t doing well so we were all a bit stressed and uncertain of what could happen. The words came out of the understanding that, whatever may happen; I still currently have a job, I can afford to live, and I have people around me that love me – therefore I can still be happy and just take things as they come. I think this could resonate with people in many situations, especially in the lock down where people might see no end. I always try to see the bigger picture.
How do you manage to maintain your state of happiness during difficult times – what are your methods of achieving a balanced, calm state of mind?
Comparing short term to long term can help to put things into perspective. For example, we could be in quarantine for a total of a year depending on the circumstances – But we could all be somewhere completely different in 5 years, so why not use this time to think, plan, and prepare for that where possible?
I think we all have varying levels of bad luck and circumstances on occasion, but you don’t have ups without downs. I just hope everyone is staying rational, safe, and as happy as they can be!
What other topics have you found yourself writing about in recent months?
I tend to make songs out of the conversations I have in my head, my rational and emotional mind battle – the advice to myself. Things like just taking the time to look up once in a while, to the sky. Or making the time to visit the people you love and have amazing memories with. Or how I perceive society and its effects on people, good or bad. Talking about men in blue suits with flash cars, but not needing any of that to have a good time. As you might have guessed I’m pretty sentimental and humanitarian!
Is there a longer project on the way, and if so – what can we expect from that?
An E.P. is in the works, currently working on material that works nicely together for a 4 track E.P. – I’m thinking of calling it Screensavers, the idea that we need to spend less time in front of screens and more time working on and living our own lives. Anyone who follows can expect both melancholy and uplifting ideas about my perspective and theories on life!
Do you produce your own music?
Yes, if you can call it that! I use Logic on my macbook pro with a little audio interface for my mic and guitar. I’ve taught myself the basics of mixing and mastering, always learning! I am hoping to find some band members as I release music to then be able to play the E.P. properly live. If anyone reading this is London-based and fancies it, let me know!
What’s a live show like from you – solo piano, full band, backing track?
My first and so far only show consisted of just me and my Fender Telecaster! I would love to become a three piece with a bassist and a drummer. I imagine it to be quite raw, crunchy guitar, clean bass, hard hitting but stripped back drum beats.
Are you a confident performer, or do you have to gear yourself up for a live show?
I am always working on myself. I feel nerves and anxiety can actually improve a show, providing you can push through the awkward moments and maintain that it is a performance no matter how it goes. What you think is a massive mistake in your routine, the audience might not even notice!
Have you managed to find some benefits to being isolated right now as an indie musician?
Me and my sister are isolated together so I have to be considerate and not take up the living room with my racket all the time! But I am taking the time to listen to my favourite artists and pick apart my influences to find what my sound is – I found starting by moulding a catchy drum beat with the right sounding snare, kick, hats etc can make for a groovy base to write to. Aside from music I am working on improving my own productivity and efficiency in general!
Who would you say is your greatest inspiration or idol?
Lately I have been enjoying King Krule and his melancholy melodies with his jazz-like, ambient guitar pieces. I’m into various genres, from the heavy rhythms and riffs of Muse and Jack White, to the heart warming arrangements and harmonies of Mumford and Sons, and Ben Howard.
What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given as an artist?
I think I heard Ed Sheeran say sometimes you have to get the shit ideas out to get to the good stuff. Obviously we all have bad ideas, so it’s getting through the dirt to the good stuff that is worth putting out! That premise has helped me keep hope and not let writer’s block and change of heart on a particular song get me down – there will be another, there will be newer and better ideas and you learn and develop your own sound.
What’s next for you – what will you be busy with over the coming weeks?
I’m continuing to learn about Logic (my recording software) and how to mix my songs, as well as finding the work process that is best for me as I shape my style and composition! All part and parcel of writing an E.P. and making all the songs work well together! I’ll also be keeping in touch with my family and friends, staying home, staying safe.
Is there anything else we should know?
I may not be the best, but I’m honest and hard working, and try to be funny sometimes… I hope to someday be in the charts! But I’m also happy if anyone at all enjoys and takes something from what I put out. Enjoy the journey of developing yourself. Pobodies nerfect! – Pam from the office.
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Find & follow Sean Edwards on Instagram.