North East based indie-folk artist, Toni Sidgwick, is currently in the studio recording her upcoming single, so Jack Dodsworth caught up with her to find out more.
Coming from Shetland, how does the north compare to other places in terms of performing live music?
Back home, a lot of music events are really well attended but there is less variety of places to play. County Durham and the North East of England has some really nice quirky venues that are a real pleasure to play. The crowd might be slightly smaller, but they aren’t shy in letting you know if they like what they are hearing. One of the highlights since moving to the North East has been supporting Box Wallet and the Road Side Shrimp at the 02 Academy in Newcastle. It was one of my first times performing in Newcastle, but the crowd was so appreciative it gave me an amazing buzz to be on that stage and feel the audience’s reaction to the tracks.
What advice would you give to any local singer-songwriter wanting to break into becoming a full-fledged artist?
Put yourself out there and play as many gigs as you can. Nothing beats practice when it comes to honing your set and performing in front of a crowd. Use social media to its full potential and promote yourself too. Show people you are serious by getting some good quality photos and at least one well-recorded song/video to give an idea of what you sound like. There are so many talented folk out there trying to make it as musicians so you need to let people know who you are, why you are different and why they should remember you.
Do you prefer performing in a large venue with bigger crowds, or a more intimate setting with lesser crowds but a relaxed environment?
Both have their moments but some of the smaller quirky venues with an attentive crowd are incredible to play. That’s where you can really get the emotion of the songs over.
To newcomers/new readers, could you explain your music within a few sentences?
Indie-folky-pop with a hint of Ben Howard and Tracy Chapman. Most tracks have a bit of a hook somewhere in the song whilst containing storytelling lyrics.
What has inspired you to create music?
I had a great musical education. Listening to the likes of Pink Floyd and Bruce Springsteen as I grew up and modern musicians like Ben Howard have a huge influence on the music I write now.
How do you relax before going on stage? Do you have any before-gig rituals?
If I’m having a drink, I tend to have a small glass of port to warm up (medicinal, obviously). Quite often I’m driving so I’ll have practised a setlist from start to finish before I set off and get set up as early as possible so I can chill before starting and check out the venue.
Do you have any future plans/tours that fans can get excited about?
I’m currently in the studio recording a new single that will hopefully be ready in a month or two. I’ll be releasing the next few gigs in the pipeline shortly. My aim is to perform at some new venues across the North East (and further afield) to get the music out to new people as well as enjoying the moments that come from that.
Lastly, what’s the best platform to listen to your music?
My latest EP is available on all digital outlets but the best place for a “one-stop shop” would be my website: tonisidgwickmusic.com.
For Further information about her latest EP, and to inquire about booking Toni, please head to the aforementioned website.