It’s hard to pinpoint just what exactly has been the influences of an artist. Especially if you are trying to detail this about yourself. No one wants to be labelled as being similar to this or that, we all want to be original. But obviously everything borrows from everything else that has proceeded it; us creators are but links in a long chain which stretches the wide history of art. But it’s always one of the first questions anyone trying to learn more about your style will ask.

For me it’s always been confusing. Are all the artists I enjoy influences? Or is it just the one’s that are blatantly apparent in my own creations? And how the hell can I analyse my own works unbiasedly so as to figure this out? I dunno, but let me try.

I grew up in the 90s so it is inevitable that some of the popular music from that era finds it’s way into my own style. Occasionally I notice small bits of melody which sound similar to names which I’d rather not mention. But, due to some direction from my older brothers, it was the sounds of the 60s, and 60s influenced 90s bands which really struck a chord.

Later on, growing into adulthood, expanding my horizons and mixing with other like-minded musicians, I began a journey on my own musical path. I was to develop my own taste and seek out artists in-keeping with my other literary influences, such as: Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Doors, The Libertines. These became my go to guys for style and inspiration; I began studiously familiarizing myself with each of their creations, teaching myself, in my own way, how to write in a similar fashion.

But it’s not just popular artists that have left their mark, and I doubt this is the case for anyone. All the other blossoming musicians around me have also played a part. I was really fortunate that in my late teens I began collaborating with Luke Morgan, another keen songwriter, and together, bouncing ideas off one another, we helped each other develop as writers in a big way. And there’s also people like Ten Foot Tom, another songwriter which I met on my travels, who introduced me to loads of new artists, and inspired me with his own tunes.

And I guess it’s not restricted to artists either. There are lots of outside factors which weigh in on it: the lands through which I’ve wandered; the birdsong in the trees; the people I bumped into along the way; the sayings and phrases and dialects; the films, tv shows, books to which I was introduced. It’s an endless list. But to keep it simple, even though it can never really be narrowed down, I’ll only mention the ones that are most relevant:

The Beatles, The Kinks, The Doors, The Las, The Smiths, The Libertines, David Bowie, Queen, Lou Reed, Velvet Underground, Iggy Pop, The Stranglers, Babyshambles, Blur, Leonard Cohen, Pulp, Oasis, The Coral, The Divine Comedy, Arctic Monkeys, The Cure, Primal Scream, The Stone Roses, Supergrass, The Verve, John Martyn, Talking Heads, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, The Only Ones, Gustavo Pena, Luca Prodan, Fela Kuti, Johnny Kidd & the Pirates, Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran, Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, The Rolling stones, Chuck Berry, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, Tupac Shakur, Chas n Dave, Parliament, The Zutons, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, John Lennon, Moriarty, etc., etc., etc., etc…

Who are your influences?

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5 thoughts on “Influences…

  1. I agree that it hasn’t just been famous artists that have been influential but fellow musicians. My songwriting partner has been a big influence, as well as a brilliant local band we used to follow round as kids. More mainstream influences are Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, Lennon. Modern bands Cotton Mather and Fleet Foxes and Father John Misty. But also Jim Henson, Doctor McCoy (portrayed by De Forrest Kelly) Stephen King, David Mack and Robert Frost.. great post..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a really interesting read! When I write songs, I can be very easily influenced by the most recent music I’ve been listening to. But I find the best songs come out at times when you least expect, and I suspect those songs are the ones that come purely from the soul! But of course we are all constantly influenced by our environment, even if we try not to be, so it is only natural that certain styles develop and evolve over time 🙂 Great article!

    Liked by 1 person

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