What’s your name?

Paul Gillings

Do you play solo only, or also in a group?

Solo

How old are you?

43

Where were you born?

Great Yarmouth

Where did you grow up?

Lowestoft

How did that place influence your music? (if at all!)

Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft are two of the most deprived towns in all of England, I was born on a trailer park and listen to skinny white guys playing rock music. I grew up to love the blues and that’s my main genre. The harmonica was/is a relatively cheap instrument so that’s what I grew up playing.

Where are you based now, and why?

I’m a family man in a family friendly town with cheap cost of living and a decent job, Music has always been my passion but never my job (unfortunately). Maybe this time around, who knows?

What got you into making music in the first place?

I was in the scouts and sang songs round a camp fire, one time (at scout camp) someone had a harmonica. The rest is history.

What instruments do you play?

Singing, Guitar, Harmonica

Who are 3 of your top 10 musical influences, and why?

Rory McCleod

Charlie Musselwhie

Queen

Do you write your own songs?

Yes

How many years have you been writing songs for?

31

What process, or processes, do you often find yourself using when you write songs?

Repetition. Play something, listen to it, play it again later, change it, listen to it again. Repeat until happy.

How long have you been playing open mic nights?

30

Why did you get into playing them in the first place?

I started playing open mic nights as a way to try out new material and gain performance confidence. It’s also a great way to see what/who else is out there, male some new friends etc. I’ve had some good gig offers after an open mic session.

What advice would you give new performers who are just starting out playing their first open mics?

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, mean what you play/sing and do it with all your heart.

What’s the hardest thing, for you, about playing open mics?

Other performers can be a pain in the arse, sometimes. Just stick to your time slot and remember, it’s not the royal Albert Hall and you ain’t Eric Clapton.

What’s the most bizarre open mic, or gig, you’ve ever played, and why?

In my early twenties I smoked a lot of weed. I just got too high one time and the whole night was a joke. Stay sober, play well.

If it’s not already, are you hoping to make music your full-time career?

Yes

What do you currently find the hardest and biggest obstacles to moving your music career forward?

Getting heard.

What’s one truth about you that people often find surprising?

I used to be the world harmonica champion.

What is the most exciting project you’re working on at the moment?

My new blues album.

Where should people go to find out more about you?

Soundcloud.com/paulgillings

UK Open Mic London performer Paul Gillings
UK Open Mic London performer Paul Gillings

Leave your comment below: