Hey, thanks for plugging in here. My name is Si Connelly and I'm a Singer-Songwriter currently living in Brighton. Being an artist in 2019 also means I do a thousand other random things, one of which was to build this website and help SE with their rebirth into the next 10 years.
I was thinking recently what qualified me to even get involved. I mean I’m not a web designer. I have picked up certain skills for visuals and editing over the years, with some basic coding but it felt like a website for SE just had to be built by someone who understands where it came from 10 years ago.
Going back 10 years ago, even then it was clear (and kinda shocking) that there was an events company who actually cared about artists. I mean even today that is rare. There are many heroes across the UK music scene, but in London, you can count them on one hand.
Let me paint a picture of what it was like before SE came along, in the months before I stumbled into Proud Gallery, I’d been playing all over London, in heartless dead nights with about as much vibe as an empty carpark. You’d arrive at the gig at soundcheck, ask some angry looking guy wiping down the tables where the venue bit of the venue was. He’d sneer that the sound-guy should already be here, so just hang about. After a good 45 mins, a disinterested guy would stumble in and tell you to get on stage and just do your set.
“But the venue’s not open?” - “Doors should open in 5”.
I remember turning up to one gig, and the venue had left.
So one time, about 9 years back, I stomped into Proud Camden looking like a Christmas tree decorated in music gear. Various damp items, dripping off me like icing on a lemon cake.
I was approached by a really strange site. This guy wanders over and says thanks for coming, soundcheck is underway, and here are some tokens for a drink.
This guy turned out to be Pete Solo.
The night got weirder and weirder when other acts started to arrive and were all smiling and openly chatting to each other.
This may seem strange to mention but the usual protocol, which I am assured went out with every copy of the NME, was for each act to take a corner of the room and compare the tightness of jeans, whilst scowling like hungry Cats at each other.
So you can imagine my discomfort at what appeared to be friendly musicians helping each other.
Shortly after this, this busy woman waltz in as if she had a parcel of smiles and desperately needed someone to sign for them, before she collapsed under the weight of the delivery.
From what I could make out from my table, she was circling the room looking for acts to attend to, to help them with anything they might need gig wise. Stage times, more drinks, guest-list passes, kit share, the list of helpful assistance went on. The gig started and every single act watch every single act. This confused me. It’s not normal.
Maybe we’re in the wrong place? The last time I played here the sound-guy left halfway through to eat a burger.
Every act at the gig made the vibe and for the first time in years, I witnessed a community. A group of people that backed each other up and made the event better as a whole.
It turns out that the waltzing lady/circus barker was called Lorraine Solomans, and that gig would be the first of hundreds. Ever since that show, I’ve seen SE bloom into the number one place for artists, and do you know why.
Unlike so many before and since it is not self-serving.
It Is owned by all artists, for the audience, for the moment.
It simply exists as a signpost. Directing and helping all the beating hearts that make the artist community.
I’m glad to have been one smile among thousands.
Thanks, Lorraine & Pete. Thanks, SE.