WAM Member Spotlight: Steven Hensby UK Tour
STEVE HENSBY RETURNS AFTER SUCCESSFULLY SELF FUNDING, MANAGING AND BOOKING THE WHOLE TOUR!
WAM Member Steve Hensby is a genre-defying singer-songwriter whose influences include folk, soul and jazz. He’s been a driving force in the Australian music scene for 11 years, is a sought-after session guitarist/singer/collaborater and has toured the country and released numerous records. After finishing his rock band Tracksuit in 2014, the Berklee College of Music graduate recorded two albums, the first – a double album, was reviewed as “It’s much more than just a collection of songs, it’s a story, a trip into the depths of the imagination and absolutely brilliant.’ Dave Anger 2mcr 100.3 fm. It’s songs inspired a collaboration with circus artists culminating in a successful 16-show live music circus at Perth Fringe World Festival 2018. Steve’s electrifying performance was described as a ‘decidedly less evil Willy Wonka’ 9/10 xpress magazine.
In late 2018 /early 2019 Steve Hensby Duo completed a UK tour, completely self funded, managed and booked, of folk music and story-telling in intimate settings. Steve’s humour, talent and energy combined with Elysia’s beautiful vocals never failed to win over audiences. Steve goes into the struggles of doing all the work yourself, as well as the successes and passes on a couple of tips on a DIY UK tour:
“It was a lot of work but was well worth doing and very rewarding. I’ve always loved travelling, my family moved to WA from England when I was 9 and I lived in Boston USA for about 6 years when I was 18, I played a lot of music and gigs around the Boston/New York area during that time. My partner (in life and music), Elysia and I had previously been to UK/Europe twice in the previous 3 years and decided to try and get some shows this time when we went back. Being dual nationality I used my British passport.”
“Getting shows was a lot of emailing, I sent out well over 1000 emails, some venues got back and said they would love to have us but they were shut during the time we were away, others said they were full already but get in touch next time and then there were the ones that we were lucky enough to get gigs at. We went over in duo form 2/9ths of the full band and had an absolute blast!”
“The shows were very fun and it was interesting to see how much UK audiences listen to a show and also how much they enjoy singing. We had some great sing-alongs! The pubs and folk clubs we played were very welcoming to us and the audiences were very warm and receptive, I’m still receiving messages now about where people can find our music online. The main thing people wanted to know was when were coming back.”
“A few highlights – A lovely lady at the gig in Surbiton (unfortunately we didn’t run into Penelope Keith or Felicity Kendal!) painted a picture of us when were playing. She paints a picture each day for a year and is then putting a book out of her illustrations.”
“The pub we played in Cambridge was great! It was built in 1822 and Syd Barrett used to play and stay there in the mid 60s.
“We met and played with some very interesting and eclectic musicians at a gig in Hackney. Also one of the bar staff said the show was a cross between Jim Jefferies and Freddie Mercury!”
“Playing a gig in Bath in a basement that was very cold! It must have been about 4 degrees in the venue but the audience put on their coats and stuck around for the whole show – We played for over two hours straight through as a set break would have made it colder!”
“Getting to play some of our more introspective folk material with an audience that is listening to everything you say. The personal aspect too, of hanging out after gigs and meeting and chatting to everyone there.”
“Being in London where people still go out if it’s cold! We went to some amazing shows and gigs over there- there’s so much happening all the time, we just love it!”
“Visiting Britain’s smallest pub in Bury St Edmunds where they have a 400 year old mummified cat hanging above the bar!”
“Getting asked to play subsequent folk and even jazz shows whilst we were over there. The plan now is to go back once a year and branch out and play more shows, we have much more of an idea on some of the scenes over there now and have made a whole load of contacts – promoters/venues/musicians. We are definitely going to try to get some gigs outside of England in the rest of Europe (depending on Brexit!!) next time as well. It took a lot of effort and perseverance, and about 4 months to finalise, but it was a very liberating experience and a lot of fun!”