aStepFWD hosted a monumental event with a unique gathering of world renowned artists at their Songwriting Masterclass including household names such as Matt Redman,Muyiwa Olarewaju, Martin Smith, Graham Kendrick, Noel Robinson, Lou Fellingham, Wale Adenuga, Lucy Grimble, Nick Herbert, Jake Isaac, Les Moir, Nicky Brown, Tim Hughes and Donna Akodu. This event was the first in the line of many, which are focusing on various specifics of the arts and of music.
The feedback from the Songwriting Masterclass has been tremendous, and it’s a sentiment that the aStepFWD team echo themselves; the event was unlike anything else. It truly was a special God-inspired and God-breathed time together. Through this rare gathering, so much wisdom and insight had been drawn together in one place. There were many ‘tasty offerings’ served up on a platter for everyone to dwell upon, ponder in their hearts and minds, and take away to put into action and implement. The day itself was a haven for a wide range of creatives, singers, and worshipers, who were inspired and challenged, oftentimes through the same breath.
And what’s more, all proceeds from the event went to support the Play It FWD campaign via JustGiving, which is a fundraising campaign that seeks to increase the reach of UK gospel and contemporary music and media within both Christian and secular spaces. AStepFWD operates the only national independent UK Christan and Gospel music chart, with a wide variety of genres, and has supported over 700 artists to date. Play It FWD continues in that tradition of support, serving the Christian and Gospel Music scene all across the UK. Each upcoming event will continue to support this cause.
Nick Herbert, one of the guest artists for the day, offered this insight during his teaching session:
“Follow the feeling. When you catch the spark, go where it goes, let the river run. A song fails when it’s overdone”.
It was a helpful and gentle reminder to allow the creative juices to flow and to follow the avenues and currents that they took. The advice was theoretical and insightful yet, at the same time, practical.
The whole day’s set of sessions encompassed the same sentiment, offering theory with application. The day started with a hosted panel discussion, with each panellist able to offer poignant insights into the art of songwriting that had been informed, for each of them, from their own eclectic and diverse backgrounds and experiences. Many of the examples that the guest artists shared gave tangible applications for all attendees to implement into their own creative processes and song crafting, whether experienced themselves or just beginning to venture into the world of songwriting. The later sessions were just as full, with the wealth of knowledge shared through interviews, teaching sessions, and question and answer panels with the attending artists. Each session continued to build upon the advice that had preceded it, for which many attendees were deeply grateful for the way this continued to further learning into creativity, music, living a life of worship, and the song-writing process, throughout the day. Others expressed their thanks for the breadth and diversity of the contributors, and for the opportunity to attend a conference with a line up unlike anything they had attended before.
The aStepFWD team cannot wait to do it all again with February’s Vocal Masterclass, which will take place online in a variety of formats, all designed to help attendees grow in their vocal capability, strength, and style. The experienced vocalists and practitioners will be sharing their wealth of knowledge and insight into expanding vocal ranges, conditioning a voice, finding and developing a vocal style and much more! The sessions will draw from their years of experience in vocal coaching, singing, and working with a huge range of talent, all with diverse and unique voices and vocal styles. This is an essential and valuable day for anyone interested in developing their vocals; for the seasoned and beginning singer alike!
The Songwriting Masterclass was an event not to be missed, and in like form, the Vocal Masterclass is set to be an unforgettable day of nuggets and gems that will not only inspire attendees but will also service their own vocal capabilities. One such gem from another one of the artists, Nicky Brown, who joined January’s event was this:
“The reason why someone else’s song is on the radio and yours is not is because they were brave enough to give it a life”!
So there’s a challenge that rings true for all of us moving forward, whatever our passions and our gifts! Where can we ‘give it a go’ and give the things stirring inside us creative life?
Written by: Jack Robson
Assistant Event Manager aStepFWD Masterclass Series