No, I wasn't pulling your leg, I'm actually going to be playing at The O2 London on December 3rd! Not in the main bit, but in the 800 capacity Brooklyn Bowl supporting country duo Ward Thomas alongside CC Smugglers. This is huge for me and will be my biggest London gig to date by far. The bad/good news is, it's already sold out, so I'm afraid if you missed my posts on Facebook and Twitter, you're too late, but nice one if you got in there early!!
So Trump is going to be president...but the good news is that the world hasn't actually ended (yet) and I'll be back in the UK long before he takes over. I've seen some pretty stony faces here in North Carolina and most people we've come across seem to be in a state of utter disbelief, followed by anger, followed by deep sadness. The opinion of our hosts is that their country will be set back 50 years at least, and that many policies that have taken decades of work and negotiation to implement will be torn up and go to waste. I really hope that they're wrong and that America can thrive against all odds as I've loved being here and fully intend to come back next year.
On a positive note, tickets sales for my Christmas EP launch at Stroud Subscription Rooms are going really well! Thanks to all those who have already decided to come and celebrate with The Black Feathers, Natalie Holmes, Asha McCarthy and I (and my band)! Grab your tickets here if you haven't already, and don't forget to tell your friends - http://www.subscriptionrooms.org.uk/whats-on/christmas-hats/
The EP itself is also selling like hot cakes! There are only about 30 limited edition CDs left out of 100. Thanks for your support on preordering this as usual. It's amazing to know that I can make new music and you're there to help bring the project to life! Here are the details and PayPal link in case you've missed them til now - http://www.hattiebriggs.co.uk/christmas-ep along with the option of having Christmas cover of your choice recorded just for you in December :-)
January is looking pretty busy for gigs already, including a return to Harpenden Tennis Club on January 15th, this time as a trio! Ticket link at the very top of my gigs page - http://www.hattiebriggs.co.uk/current-gigs
US adventures continued...
...so having reached LA we were lucky enough to stay with a lovely relative of ours in Thousand Oaks just outside the city and go backwards and forwards to various places over the next 2 and a half weeks. Gigs included Soho House on Malibu Beach, Sofar Sounds LA, Big Red Sun in Venice, a house gig in Thousand Oaks and Hotel Normandie in Korea Town.
Soho house happens to be the private members club of various celebrities (I didn't know this before going there), including Gerrard Butler, who gave me a $50 tip! What made my night though, was meeting Peter Asher, formerly of Peter and Gordon, who had a number 1 with "World Without Love" in the 60s. Peter was the man who discovered, produced and managed my hero, James Taylor for many years. He came to my gig out of curiosity, stayed til the end and asked our friend to introduce us after. He is the warmest, loveliest guy, and we chatted for a while about James and then who he is working with at the moment, including Elton John and Hans Zimmer. I had a crazy epiphany moment after he'd gone, when I realised that if it wasn't for him discovering, believing in and working with JT, I probably wouldn't be here right now. I will remember that moment for the rest of my life.
The Sofar gig was in the garden (yard) of a beautiful house in Santa Monica. There were lights in the trees, rugs and cushions on the grass and an extremely friendly audience to make the evening a special one.
The other interesting gig tale is of the house gig in Thousand Oaks. This was a very last minute affair. I was on a run at the weekend when I suddenly thought it would be really cool to do a living room gig for our host, Claus, my first cousin twice removed, as a thank you and to celebrate our time together as we were leaving at the end of that week. I stopped and asked a friendly looking neighbour across the road whether he'd be up for attending a house gig of a random English girl he'd never met/heard of, and he said he would be - I decided I'd like to make it a street party! After convincing Claus that this was a good idea and that we'd do all the work (furniture moving etc), all we needed were some guests to come along on the night in question, Friday. Claus invited some local friends but this wasn't going to be nearly enough to fill his living room. Flyering neighbours never works as people get so much junk mail anyway, therefore I decided inviting people face to face was a much better idea, especially as I was a complete stranger to them, and the nearer the gig the better so that they didn't have time to forget about it. I had never done any cold-calling in the UK before, let alone in another country, let alone during an election campaign, let alone 4 days before Halloween so that everyone's houses were decorated with creepy pretend dead things. But hey, you gotta start somewhere! The night before the gig I set out on foot at around 6:30pm with a flash light and some paper invitations/flyers to try and gather an audience. I walked up and down the street for an hour and a half in the dark knocking on strangers doors and telling them who I was and what I was planning to do. When somebody came to answer the door (often with suspicion), I started my spiel with a promise that I wasn't selling anything, and that this had nothing to do with politics or religion - not a single door was closed on me. It's amazing what you can do with a big smile, a British accent and a little charm. After I'd got round the whole street I had a few definite "yes"s, a few "we'll think about it"s, a couple of "sorry we have plans"s, and one "try the house next door, they like music". Pretty positive I thought, but still no guarantee that anyone would actually turn up. I'm proud to say that after a slightly nervous wait the following evening, we had 17 people in Claus' home, (many of whom didn't know Claus, or the other guests) to see me perform. It was one of the best nights of my tour. Everyone made new friends, and some discovered old ones - two people who used to run a business together 20 years ago live two doors down from each other and had no idea until the gig that they now live on the same street). They were an attentive and enthusiastic audience, were intrigued by my story and what we were doing - some think I'm mad (they may be right). Most of all they were amazed and inspired by the fact that music had brought this little community together. There was laughter, there were tears. It's nights like that that I'll remember for the rest of my life, that make me love my job and make all the hard work so worth it. Here's to cold-calling!
Other highlights of the LA part of the tour were trips to Las Vegas (I've never seen so much excess), The Grand Canyon ("grand" doesn't cover it), and San Diego (insert Anchorman quote here), where we made some new friends including George the Bernese Mountain Dog. We also visited the Getty Museum and various other LA tourist spots. Next was Washington D.C.
I shall pause my tale here as I didn't anticipate how long this blog would be. More to come in the next few days!
R.I.P Leonard Cohen
Until next time.
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