I hesitated to use that title. As much as I wish that I could have really reported about the Birmingham Music Awards, all I can do is share a couple of thoughts about it since I wasn’t there. For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s what the press release on the band’s official website said about this event:
“DURAN DURAN’S JOHN TAYLOR TO APPEAR AT FIRST BIRMINGHAM MUSIC AWARDS
DURAN DURAN’S John Taylor Pledges Support for New Birmingham Talent
A search for Birmingham’s brightest and best musicians/music industry professionals is underway as the ‘Birmingham Music Awards’ hosts their first ceremony on May 2nd. The organisers of the BMAs are on a mission to bring together the best of the city’s contributors to music, and their campaign has been given an extra boost as Duran Duran founding member John Taylor confirmed he will present the Rising Star Award on the night.
“Birmingham is where the Duran Duran journey began. We formed in 1978, playing Barbarella’s and many other venues around town, eventually becoming resident band at The Rum Runner. We signed our major label deal and the rest is history. I like to keep in touch with new and aspiring musicians and musical artists – it’s where the energy is – and I love coming back home and rekindling my passion for the city, so I was honoured to be invited to participate in the first Birmingham Music Awards. It’s going to be a great night for the local scene!”
The project is also backed by more music industry heavyweights including Martin ‘Ace’ Kent from legendary rock band Skunk Anansie and Kieron Pepper (The Prodigy/Sleeper).
BMA Co-Founder Jo Jeffries said:
“We are determined to conceive and grow one big Birmingham music family. We want to work together to deliver the recognition our city deserves, and more music success stories made in Birmingham, so naturally we were thrilled when John agreed to come and present our Rising Star Award.”
“There are so many reasons to be excited about being a musician in Birmingham right now; the whole creative landscape is changing, the urban scene is exploding, key music education providers such as ACM and BIMM have moved in and we want to add to the momentum and recognise the achievements and talents of so many.”
…The Birmingham Music Awards and John Taylor are proud to support the amazing work that Changes UK are doing to help those less fortunate in our city to find recovery and fulfilling lives free from addiction. Please see their website: https://changesuk.org/
So this event actually took place this week! Despite my usual insanity during the week, I did see a couple of pictures of John, including some with fans! (By the way, if you were there and would love to do a guest blog for us, send a message! We would love to have you!) Yet, today, I saw a little video clip of John’s appearance there. It is a must watch!
I appreciated that John talked about the city and how it meant a lot when he was forming Duran. I have seen many clips where it seems like John is a bit conflicted about his hometown. Yet, now, there seems to be nothing but love for it. Perhaps, over time, he has grown to love it in a way that he couldn’t when he was younger. (For the record, I relate. The town that I lived in while a teenager does not get much love from me at all. Maybe someday. Of course, I could love it more if it had things like John talked about here in reference to Birmingham. I didn’t have music, especially not live music. Sad sigh.)
After recognizing Birmingham’s importance to the history of Duran, John moved on to talk about whether or not real instrumentation matters. I’m sure it comes to no surprise that the crowd and John certainly believes that it matters. I suppose it is important to mention when thinking about up and coming artists. Do kids these days believe that to be true? I know some of my students who are musicians themselves think it matters but overall? I don’t know. I sometimes worry about the future of music in light of technology. I’m not one to say no to all forms of technology (obviously) but I also believe that there is something more emotional, more soulful to real instrumentation as opposed to sampling.
The last topic that John dived into was recovery and the organization he was supporting by being there, Changes UK. I always admire his openness when it comes to recovery and being sober. Clearly, he believes in organizations like this one as he is always willing to jump in and make an appearance when needed. Seeing John being so open, so supportive makes me proud to be his fan. Way to go, John.