Students Inspired by Rock Legend

Musician and singer Steve Harley not only made music students smile he also inspired them when he visited West Suffolk College to talk about his experience of the music industry.

Steve, whose greatest hit with Cockney Rebel “Make Me Smile” topped the charts in 1975, took part in a 90 minute question and answer session with music students. When he finished they said they were “inspired” and “in awe” of the singer who is still writing and touring.

But, they all had to look him up on the internet first and ask their parents as they had never heard of him. “I thought it was some old fella who has had a couple of good songs and done well”, explained an honest Alex Sangster, 16, from Sudbury who is studying a BTec Extended Diploma in Music Technology. But he soon changed his mind. “Everyone was impressed -  I just sat there in awe.” 

Steve, who lives in Suffolk, said the world the music students wanted to enter is “A different world to the one I entered in the early 70s when we went on tour losing money and sold albums to make money, now we play a lot of live shows to make money.”

But, he said he loved touring, although many musicians couldn’t take it because they spent a lot of time in airports and it was quite a lonely life. Those that survived the touring and continued into middle age have “got it in their heart and soul”.

The pop and rock singer, who has amassed 13 albums to his name and published 140 songs, said he was not a fan of free downloading: “It’s our copyright and our livelihood “he declared. Although he has thousands of vinyl records he likes to make albums using new technology because “I come out of Abbey Road and it’s pristine. We don’t sell crackles and pops that you can get when you put a stylus on.”

Chris Shaw, 17, from Great Barton, who joined Alex in putting student’s questions to Steve, said “It was really interesting to me as a songwriter, I got a lot of insight into how he writes and where the inspiration comes from. Also where you can go and what to do with it.”

“He was passionate,” added Chris. “He said music isn’t something you want to do, it’s something you have to do.”

Steve had told them not to go into the music industry for the money, but because they were passionate about it. “He gave us loads of life and career tips”, said a delighted Chris who was inspired after the session to start writing more songs.

Steve also took his guitar along and treated them to Journeys End (a fathers promise) about the struggle his son had when he left university.
Monday 13th March 2017

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