Meet My Band

Dear diary,

The universe is a funny old place. I’m a firm believer in going out to get things you want, work hard and don’t wait for other people to make your dreams come true. However, I do seem to have the most wonderful luck and just sometimes great things just happen to fall into my lap.

Way back in 2013 I was playing solo gigs around London, my full time busking career was just starting and I decided to bring something a little different to my indoor shows.

“I need a band,” I thought. I was toying with that idea but not really acting on it. Then my band sort of happened to me.

One morning I opened my Facebook messages to a friendly greeting from a drummer who’d caught me busking. “If you need a drummer for live shows let me know”. I replied, “I’m looking for a band actually. I’ll find a bassist and we should get together to rehearse.” Drummer: Check.

Days later, I was busking by the river and I saw a figure watching me, a bass case slung on his back. As he approached to drop a coin I quizzed him, “is that a bass? Do you play? Any good? Wanna be in my band?” Bassist: Check.

I couldn’t believe my luck when two accomplished players arrived at rehearsal, having learnt my first album, ready to gig. The three of us started gigging regularly and we had a lot of fun and sounded great, there was something missing in our sound but I hadn’t considered adding other instruments. Not until a keys player popped up out of nowhere.

I think Will first heard me busking at Kings Cross station. He said he wanted to grab a card but got caught up with the trudging commuters in their relentless march from A to B. It was like fate when he opened Time Out magazine the very next day to see my smiling face. He contacted me via email and I wasn’t convinced I needed a piano player “but thank you for your interest”. Luckily, he persisted and we met up to jam out some songs. He was phenomenal. Keys: Check.

My final band member took some seeking out. I had it on my mind that I wanted a violinist or electric guitarist for some melodic additions to my band sets. I was passing through Paddington station when I heard a guy busking. He was looping guitar solos over chords of popular chart hits and it was really cool. I took a picture of his sign and gave him a follow on twitter, where I asked him if he’d be up for joining my merry men. Electric guitar: Check.

To this day I thank my lucky stars that each of these fellas fell into my life; one way or another. They’re a fantastic set of musicians and I love performing with them at my live shows.

Come and hear us doing our thing tomorrow in Camden. John, my guitarist is going to be my opening act before joining my band to rock out some guitar solos! They really bring my songs to life and I’m so grateful to them for being part of my musical journey!

Tuesday 21st March
The Monarch
Camden

8pm – John Clapper
8.30 – Lucy May Walker
9.15 – Charlotte Campbell mit band

Free Entry!

Saturday Night

Dear Diary,

It was Saturday night. The sun had set a few hours before but the Southbank was still bustling and warm from the heat of the first day of spring.

I was performing my last set down by the Hungerford Bridge and there was a crowd building; first in a semi circle around me, then people stood on the bridge above, leaning over the barrier to listen.

I strummed my last chord to a gentle applause when I felt a figure appear next to me, apologetically she said “please, can you play 1,000 Years by Christina Perri?” I nodded and as she walked away she said something else, but I didn’t catch it.

As I started to play the song the couple she had arrived with began to slow dance, she had clearly requested it on their behalf because this song was special to them and I was glad to be giving them such a special moment. More and more of a crowd had began to gather; listening and watching this couple dance. He lead her slowly into the centre of the audience and knelt down on one knee, holding out ring and a smile. The crowd erupted when it happened and she threw back her head, her eyes filled with tears. She nodded and the crowd cheered again.

As for me, I was trying to keep singing 1,000 Years by Christina Perri, without much luck. I was practically sobbing. I love my job.

Love,
Charlotte

What Do Busking & Vodka Have In Common?

Dear Diary,

Have you ever drunk too much vodka?

I don’t know about you, but vodka either makes me very happy or it makes me cry. They say that old potato juice is a mood enhancer; so if you’re already in high spirits then *somebody get the shots in!* but if you’re going through a bad break up, then vodka is probably not your friend.

You might be wondering what this has to do with busking. But, as it happens, busking and vodka have more in common than you might think.

*note: this is not an article about how all buskers are drunks, spending your kindly donated coins on booze. Nor is an advert for Grey Goose. Please drink responsibly.*

Sometimes you go to work in a foul mood, we’ve all been guilty of it. Buskers have to make rent too, and sometimes we put on crocodile smiles and fake it ’til we make it. Maybe you’ll be lucky, maybe you’ll catch a lovely crowd of people who turn your whole day around, but the likelihood is you’ll get back what you give out, and that includes negativity.

I try not to go busking if I’m not in a good mental place. If I’m feeling a bit low or anxious or angry about something then I know that busking won’t fix it, and I don’t want to inflict those feelings onto others. If I can afford to stay at home then I will, to make sure I’m projecting only positivity. When I do go out busking I feel my joy reflecting back at me like a mirror, and I go home feeling  warm and fulfilled. Busking brings me a lot of happiness, but I’ve learnt the hard way that it is not a cure for sadness.

The happiness doesn’t come from busking itself nor can it be found at the bottom of a bottle. The happiness has to come from inside you first, and then it will be enhanced by your surroundings (or by the alcohol.)

Stay safe. Drink responsibly. Busk responsibly.

Cheers,
Charlotte 🙂 x