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ART FIX: "I was able to express myself through my music"


Friday 18 February 2022

ART FIX: "I was able to express myself through my music"

Friday 18 February 2022

A 15-year-old who immersed himself in writing music to help express himself and process his feelings after his mother passed away is taking to the stage tomorrow night.

Every Friday, Express presents a selection of online and offline exhibitions, performances, workshops, events and other historic, creative and delicious content to help islanders get their weekly dose of culture.

Here is this week's selection...

Musical teen takes to the stage

Video: Hamish's first song was a heartfelt tribute to his mum, Fiona.

At only 15, Hamish Brodie is gearing up for his first long form concert. He will take to the stage of Jersey Arts Centre tomorrow (Saturday 19 February) with local singers and songwriters Shea (Ben O’Shea) and KINGSY (Keiran Brown) kicking off the musical evening at 20:00.

Hamish’s musical journey started three years ago when he asked his parents, Derek and Fiona, for piano lessons. Sadly, his mum got ill shortly after, and she passed away from cancer and Hamish, who was just 12, immersed himself in music. 

The first song I wrote was about that,” Hamish said. “I did not go through the tumultuous things I could have because I was able to express myself through my music.”

Since then, Hamish has spent all of his time working on his music. Wishing to expand his piano knowledge, he skipped the first grades and went directly to Grade 8, which he passed with flourish - despite it being its first piano exam and having had just four weeks to prepare, when most students will take nine months.

The achievement prompted his teacher, Claire Harvey, to nominate him in the ‘Child of the Year’ category as part of the Pride of Jersey Awards 2021, which he won along with two other young people.

About a month-and-a-half ago, Hamish took up the guitar, which he plans on playing in the show. “It is a bit of risky move, but it’ll be fine” he said.

“I heard someone say that if you want to make paintings, you should not use just one large brush all the time, you should use different brushes and different ways of expressing how you feel,” he explained.

“If you learn to write songs on different instruments, you are going to get different textures."

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Hamish Brodie (@hamish_brodie_)

When he is not playing instruments, Hamish is writing or producing songs on a kit he mostly funded himself by doing paper rounds, although an islander kindly offered him a Moog synthesiser after reading about him.

“I compose the songs myself, I am recording all the time, in the morning and after school, I am always thinking about ideas,” Hamish said.

“I don’t really have any other hobbies, but I am interested in other arts. I enjoy talking with other creative people, like photographers. I am also interested in fashion, after I have done my music, I would like to look into that, like Kanye West had his fashion line. I also like Alexander McQueen.

"I look up to people like that, any creative minds, I always have a strong respect for anyone who is really good at something. One of my friends is really good at Rubik’s cube and I am always amazed by that. Anything anyone can do well, I just get a buzz out of that.”

Video: Hamish released 'Hope He's Better' in October 2021.

When it comes to writing songs, Hamish says he gets inspiration from “a lot of different stuff” but mostly what he feels.

“I like artists who don’t just speak about love but also troubles of daily life,” he said. “It’s amazing to write about a monotonous daily life and put in a sonically exciting place, with big basses and big drums.

“Chris Martin from Coldplay said in an interview that he writes songs that are not even about what he was going through. I write love songs even though I haven’t been I love. I like that you can read books and try and imagine yourself as a character in that situation, I find that fun to do." 

In terms of musical influences, Hamish admits his “favourite artist of all time”, Kanye West, is “a bit of a controversial one”.

“I am just here for the music,” he said, adding that he likes how West always changes up his style and never does the same thing over again, like David Bowie, who he also admires and whose song ‘Life on Mars’ was his first musical memory thanks to his dad.

“My dad does not play music, but he has good music taste,” Hamish said. “I was inspired by his music tastes. “My music style is a blend of hip hop and pop, I love melodic rapping on pop instruments.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Hamish Brodie (@hamish_brodie_)

Pictured: Hamish hopes to go off to London to study music next September.

While he has previously played in front of his school and at Government House, Hamish’s set at Jersey Arts Centre is his longest to date. 

When the team at the Arts Centre contacted him after he released his first song during his Trident work experience there, he said he was a bit shocked. 

“It’s a beautiful theatre and acoustics, it’s an honour,” he said.

“I have enough songs to cover that time. I think I’m ready for it, but it will still be nerve-wracking. I always get nervous, but I would be worried if I was not nervous, it shows I care about the performance. The first two songs I will be nervous but after that I am going to enjoy it!"

Hamish’s set, which will involve a grand piano, drum pads, a synthetiser and an acoustic guitar, will include songs he has produced, mixed and arranged himself, as well as two covers, one of which by Frank Ocean.

While he is always working on new songs, Hamish said he wants to develop his signature sound and his performing experience before he release any more.  

“The easy part is making the songs in the studio but I have a really strong admiration for people who sound well and really give it their all and know how to command a stage,” he said. “I would like to get more experience of that before putting more music out there." 

As for the future, he will be flying to London with his father next week to look at music schools. If all goes well, he hopes to join when he turns 16 in September 2022 to study music, from production to song writing and performing.

“I am definitely interested in the three elements,” Hamish said. I think if in 10 years I am still making music and I am content with it and excited every morning to work on a new song, that would be a dream for me.”


Model teaching

painting arts creativity

Pictured: Local art teachers are putting their work on display.

Art teachers from local secondary schools have gathered their work together in a bid to showcase what they do as practising artists as well as professional teachers.

'Model Teaching' opens on Monday 21 February at the Berni Gallery at Jersey Arts Centre, and will run until Saturday 26 March.

“An important part of our job is demonstrating good practice to our students (now referred to as 'modelling' in the current pedagogical lexicon) - actually showing them physically how a technique works rather than just verbally introducing it,” Tim Barnett, Head of Art and Photography Departments at JCG, said. 

“We also feel that our credibility as Art practitioners is enhanced if students are aware that we are also artists in our own right, addressing similar practical issues to themselves. Even though our jobs are very time-consuming, carving out a few hours to pursue our own creative paths is something that Art teachers find immensely rewarding, and it also has the benefit of feeding into our classroom practice.”

The teachers will be visiting the exhibition, whose title reflects the importance of good modelling in the Art curriculum, with as many students as possible so that they can learn more about their work outside school, and “to give them the opportunity to criticise us for a change!” as Mr Barnett said.  

“The work featured encompasses a wide range of styles in many different media and underlines the diversity of approaches that we introduce to our students during their educational journey,” he added. “We hope that everyone will find it informative and rewarding.”


Fishy stamps

 Jersey seafood stamps

Pictured: The new stamps have been designed by Ron Mills.

Six types of Jersey seafood feature on the latest set of 'Post and Go' stamps issued by Jersey Post. 

The ‘Harvest of the Sea’ set was designed by local artist Ron Mills and depict Lobster, Mackerel, Scallops, Turbot, Spider Crab and Jersey Oysters in a colourful modern illustration style.

“As a designer and illustrator, it has always been my ambition to design a set of stamps. I work in various artistic styles, so I thought a splashy watercolour look would best represent the watery nature of the subject matter,” Ron said.

Harvest of the Sea Post and Go stamps and philatelic stamp products such as First Day Covers and Presentation Packs are available from the Jersey post offices at Broad Street, St. Helier and Rue Des Pres, St. Saviour as well as on and via the Jersey Philatelic Bureau.

Missed last week's Art Fix? Catch up HERE.

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