My path to blues came via the modern jive ‘blues room’. I loved the blues music I heard there, along with soul, funk and R’n’B.
In search of more, I went along to Blues In My Shoes with Swing Patrol in London for the first time in September 2012, where I joined a bunch of people who were also there for the love of dancing to blues music.
I’ve always collected music that I love, asking teachers and DJs for the name of my favourite songs, but when I had my first chance to DJ at Sin City Blues I felt nervous. I spent ages putting a 30 minute playlist together and played the whole thing from beginning to end. My fellow dancers told me they loved what I played, which was so nice, and inspired me to do more.
A few months later Adamo and Vicci invited me to join the DJ team at the Swing Patrol monthly social, Blues at the Ritzy. Listening to music at home is one thing, but playing for a roomful of dancers was a challenge. I used my DJ software for the first time, which made me even more nervous. Luckily the dance floor was full and everyone seemed happy.
I was excited when Adamo invited me to play a late slot on Saturday night at Blues Baby Blues 2013. This was my first festival. I felt out of my depth, but trusted my instincts. (I definitely over-prepared.)
Dan Nash and his band were packing up as I started to play. Every now and then they came over and chatted with me about what I was playing. Having those guys give me a thumbs up and compliment me on my music choices was a huge boost for my confidence. I remember they really liked Crawlin’ King Snake by Etta James – they were familiar with the John Lee Hooker version but not that one. That put a smile on my face.
Standing on the stage watching the dancers, I felt happy, and knew that I’d found a way to express and share my love and passion for blues music. It’s a feeling that I still get, every time I get to play.