Ep32: Mike Batt on 50 years of writing songs, and the need for anti-gravitational brandy sauce

Ep32: Mike Batt on 50 years of writing songs, and the need for anti-gravitational brandy sauce

Podcast

Welcome to my conversation with Mike Batt, recorded on 12th February 2021. Visit Mike’s website for his blog, artwork and an exhaustive list of his exciting writing credits.

Press play below or click to listen / subscribe on your favourite podcast platform. Scroll down for links and videos.

[Content warning: some friendly swears.]


In this conversation, we discuss:

  • how a teenage Cat Stevens inspired a slightly younger teenage Mike Batt to write songs
  • blagging versus reaching – using projects to teach yourself how to do the thing you’ve been hired to do
  • savvy negotiating – how refusing a one-off payment to write for The Wombles while broke led to great things
  • what it feels like to bet hundreds of thousands of pounds on an artist through buying TV advertising
  • writing for other people – how songwriting can be like acting
  • why someone needs to invent anti-gravitational brandy sauce

Explore Mike’s work:





About Mike Batt

Mike Batt is an English singer-songwriter, musician, arranger, record producer, director, conductor and former Deputy Chairman of the British Phonographic Industry. Having achieved substantial international success as a solo artist, he is particularly known in the UK for creating The Wombles pop act, writing many hits including the chart-topping “Bright Eyes” and discovering Katie Melua.

The man behind pop hits for Cliff Richard, David Essex and Alvin Stardust, collaborations with XTC, Vanessa Mae and the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the conception and co-creation of all-female string quartet Bond, Mike set up his Dramatico record label in 2002. Working with Carla Bruni, Marianne Faithfull, Caro Emerald, Gurrumul, and Sarah Blasko, he released Katie Melua’s first six albums (and wrote / co-wrote / produced the first three).

He has also conducted many of the world’s great orchestras, including the London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony and Stuttgart Philharmonic in both classical and pop recordings and performances.

Visit Mike’s website for more.


This podcast is 100% powered by my Correspondent’s Club. Thanks to every single member for your support!

New to my musical world?

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Ep31: Liz Stokes (The Beths) on establishing creative rules for songwriting, and why she always takes a cricket bat on tour

Ep31: Liz Stokes (The Beths) on establishing creative rules for songwriting, and why she always takes a cricket bat on tour

Podcast

Welcome to my conversation with Liz Stokes, recorded on 8th December 2020. The Beths’ latest album “Jump Rope Gazers” is out now – visit their website for more.

Press play below or click to listen / subscribe on your favourite podcast platform. Scroll down for links and videos.

[Content warning: some friendly swears.]

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • the value of establishing creative rules for songwriting and making videos
  • touring New Zealand during the pandemic, and Beths’ bassist Ben’s secret breakfast blog
  • the success – and shelf life – of an indie band
  • coping mechanisms for happier touring – why The Beths always take a cricket bat on the road
  • the ever-expanding skillset of the modern musician

Explore Liz’s work:




About The Beths

The Beths hail from the vibrant and deeply collaborative music community of Auckland, New Zealand. Their blend of propulsive, sing-along choruses, four-part vocal arrangements, and wry, introspective lyrics has earned them fans around the world, as well as opening slots for indie rock titans like The Breeders, Pixies, Weezer, and Death Cab for Cutie.

The Beths’ 2018 debut album ‘Future Me Hates Me’ drew acclaim from Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, NPR, Stereogum, the A.V. Club and a host of other publications, many of whom listed Future Me Hates Me among their favourite LPs of 2018. The album also made the shortlist for New Zealand’s 2018 Taite Music Prize, and Stokes has twice been nominated for the Silver Scroll Award, New Zealand’s most prestigious songwriting honour. In 2019, The Beths were nominated for five Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards, winning Best Group and Best Alternative Artist.

After 18 months of touring, The Beths regrouped to write and record their second album, ‘Jump Rope Gazers’, a sparkling collection of songs that deepens and expands the bright talent they showed on their early releases. Bonds between the band members only grew after spending so much time on the road together, and their camaraderie shows on their new work.

‘Jump Rope Gazers’ is out now via Carpark Records.

Visit The Beths’ website for more.


This podcast is 100% powered by my Correspondent’s Club. Thanks to every single member for your support!

New to my musical world?

+ Get two free songs music immediately by joining my mailing list.

+ I send a thoughtful email every week – join The Correspondent’s Club on a free or paid tier to receive it.

+ New episodes of my music podcast “Attention Engineer” are released every Wednesday – visit this page to find out more and subscribe via your favourite podcast platform.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo

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Ep30: Rebecca Lucy Taylor (Self Esteem / Slow Club) on being an auteur, and how work’s more fun than fun

Ep30: Rebecca Lucy Taylor (Self Esteem / Slow Club) on being an auteur, and how work’s more fun than fun

Podcast

Thanks for visiting! Welcome to my conversation with Rebecca Lucy Taylor, recorded on 9th December 2020.

Press play below or click to listen / subscribe on your favourite podcast platform. Scroll down for links and videos.

[Content warning: some friendly swears.]

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • how becoming a solo artist and making exactly the work she wanted drastically changed Rebecca’s mental health
  • how dancing brought RLT back to her body, bridging the gap between Slow Club and Self Esteem and bringing her joy
  • becoming a badge entrepreneur – how designing badges and fulfulling her own merch during lockdown has helped Rebecca feel useful (despite having the handwriting of a little naughty boy”!)
  • the pros and cons of relentless touring, and how that changes as you grow older and wiser
  • leaving no surface unstatemented – how RLT is making up for lost time after years of not being able to say what she meant

Explore Rebecca’s work:




About Rebecca Lucy Taylor

Rebecca Lucy Taylor is a true auteur – a musician, vocalist, songwriter and dancer with an all-encompassing vision that she channels into her solo project Self Esteem.

After releasing four critically acclaimed albums and touring the world with previous band, Slow Club, Rebecca released her debut solo album “Compliments Please” in 2019 and was nominated for best breakthrough act at the Q awards that year.

Visit Self Esteem’s website for more, and follow RLT on Twitter and Instagram.



This podcast is 100% powered by my Correspondent’s Club. Thanks to every single member for your support!

New to my musical world?

+ Get two free songs music immediately by joining my mailing list.

+ I send a thoughtful email every week – join The Correspondent’s Club on a free or paid tier to receive it.

+ New episodes of my music podcast “Attention Engineer” are released every Wednesday – visit this page to find out more and subscribe via your favourite podcast platform.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo

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Ep29: David Ford on his mission to be the best artist he can be

Ep29: David Ford on his mission to be the best artist he can be

Podcast

Hi there and thanks for visiting! Welcome to my conversation with David Ford, recorded on 2nd December 2020.

Press play below or click to listen / subscribe on your favourite podcast platform. Scroll down for links and videos.

[Content warning: some friendly swears.]

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • David’s brush with the music industry (Easyworld and solo) – how he survived a breakdown to create a thriving career as a lone wolf figure
  • why pumping “content” into the world isn’t beneficial for popular music and song as an art form
  • how “every hour you spend trying to be a better marketing person – that’s an hour you didn’t spend bettering your art and your craft”
  • why we shouldn’t judge artists on the quality of their accountancy – working another job doesn’t make the music any less meaningful
  • songs without choruses – David breaks down “State Of The Union” and I accept a songwriting challenge!

Explore David’s work:




About David Ford

We live in interesting times.
Even before the global pandemic, this was already a challenging age for the independent musical artist. The business appears to have attained a permanent state of flux and is widely characterised as some kind of monster, chewing up and spitting out the naively pure of heart.

And yet David Ford is finally happy.
For the first time in twenty years, there is nobody trying to make him famous.

Ford’s journey through the many worlds of the modern music industry has not always been an easy one to navigate. A succession of record labels seduced by his talents have in turn, attempted to sell him as a pop star, a protest singer, an indie hipster, a balladeer and a bluesman.

In reality he might be all of these things.
And none of the above.
It’s complicated.

As well as playing sold-out headline shows on both sides of the Atlantic, he has supported artists such as Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint, Ray LaMontagne, Aimee Mann, Sara Bareilles, Gomez, Aqualung, Richard Ashcroft, Suzanne Vega, Augustana, Ingrid Michaelson and Jakob Dylan.

Ford’s masterful songwriting, powerful live performances and utter distaste for self-promotion have helped cultivate a passionate, devoted fan base that exists something like a secret society.

You are very welcome to join.
Just don’t go around shouting about it.

Visit David’s website for more.



This podcast is 100% powered by my Correspondent’s Club. Thanks to every single member for your support!

New to my musical world?

+ Get two free songs music immediately by joining my mailing list.

+ I send a thoughtful email every week – join The Correspondent’s Club on a free or paid tier to receive it.

+ New episodes of my music podcast “Attention Engineer” are released every Wednesday – visit this page to find out more and subscribe via your favourite podcast platform.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo

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Ep28: Kat Robichaud on surviving The Voice USA to forge an independent music career

Ep28: Kat Robichaud on surviving The Voice USA to forge an independent music career

Podcast

Happy new podcast to you – my first of 2021! Welcome to my conversation with Kat Robichaud, recorded on 7th December 2020.

Press play below or click to listen / subscribe on your favourite podcast platform. Scroll down for links and videos.

[Content warning: some friendly swears.]

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • what it’s like to do well on the biggest TV talent show going, and how Kat built an independent career afterwards
  • how failure and setbacks bring a whole new world of possibility
  • the mental health impact of losing the validation of a live audience during the pandemic
  • how some sage advice and support from Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman helped set Kat on her journey towards creating Misfit Cabaret
  • what to do when a famous artist manager says you’re “not leading lady pretty”
  • the importance of our patrons and why we love them so much

SPEAKING OF WHICH, massive thanks to Nick Xylas for sponsoring this episode via The Correspondent’s Club – powering the making of new music and podcasts since May 2020. Thanks, Nick!


Explore Kat’s work:




About Kat Robichaud

After more than a decade of touring up and down the east coast, Kat Robichaud sang her way to the top 10 on Season 5 of NBC’s The Voice in 2016. She then released her first solo album, “Kat Robichaud and the Darling Misfits”.

Following up the momentum and critical acclaim of her album, Robichaud launched Misfit Cabaret with partner Jordan Nathan – a dazzling musical variety show performed in San Francisco, Seattle, and LA, along with Kat’s second solo album “Misfit Cabaret”. Each night features an ensemble cast of musicians, drag darlings, burlesque bombshells, aerialists and puppets. Each event is a different theme, ranging anywhere from sci fi to horror to nautical to circus, so don’t miss a night!

For more information, visit www.katrobichaud.com and krmisfitcabaret.com


This podcast is 100% powered by my Correspondent’s Club. Thanks to every single member for your support!

New to my musical world?

+ Get two free songs music immediately by joining my mailing list.

+ I send a thoughtful email every week – join The Correspondent’s Club on a free or paid tier to receive it.

+ New episodes of my music podcast “Attention Engineer” are released every Wednesday – visit this page to find out more and subscribe via your favourite podcast platform.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo

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Ep27: Robin Ince on forging a career with “a dirty bomb of failed creativity”

Ep27: Robin Ince on forging a career with “a dirty bomb of failed creativity”

Homepage Feature Podcast

Hello, hello! Welcome to my conversation with Robin Ince, recorded on 1st December 2020.

Press play below or click to listen / subscribe on your favourite podcast platform, find out more about Robin’s work here and check out the Book Shambles Patreon here.

The Nine Lessons and Carols for Socially Distanced People Encore show is this Saturday 18th December – watch here.

[Content warning: some friendly swears.]


In this conversation, we discuss:

  • the importance of giving yourself permission to be creative
  • building a creative career after things didn’t go how you thought they would, and how “wasting” your 20s could lead to better work later
  • a day in the life of Robin Ince – prompted by a question from previous guest Bec Hill, I ask for productivity tips and receive a surprising answer
  • wrestling self loathing, the inner critic and an engorged ego – how to keep making things
  • what it’s been like staying in one place in 2020 after years spent constantly on the road
  • how, at times, we are the voice of lots of people who are very quiet


Explore Robin’s work:

Find out more by visiting Robin’s website and following him on Twitter.



About Robin Ince

Robin Ince is many things. A comedian, an author, a broadcaster and a populariser of scientific ideas. The Guardian once declared him a ‘becardiganed polymath’ which seems about right.

He is probably best known as the co-host of the Sony Gold Award winning BBC Radio 4 series The Infinite Monkey Cage with Professor Brian Cox. He also co-hosts the podcast Robin and Josie’s Book Shambles, which gains over 100,000 listeners a month, which is part of The Cosmic Shambles Network, which he also co-created.

His most recent book, I’m a Joke and So Are You, was described by Chortle as ‘one of the best books ever written about what it means to be a comedian’. He also wrote the book, The Bad Book Club, and has edited and written short stories for two volumes of Dead Funny: Horror Stories by Comedians, as well as writing and presenting documentaries about the history of self-help, comedians and melancholy, Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds, Richard Feynman, General Relativity and Dr Seuss.

As a stand up he has toured the world and won three Chortle Awards, the Time Out Outstanding Achievement Award and was nominated for the British Comedy Awards Best Live show. The Guardian once wrote that, ‘When someone writes a history of modern comedy, they should make room for Robin Ince’ and of his latest show The Scotsman described it as an ‘alchemic mix of enthusiasm, knowledge and observation’.

He has created, curated, pioneered and hosted numerous nights mixing science, music and comedy at some of the most celebrated venues around the world from the Hammersmith Apollo to the Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto and the Royal Albert Hall. His brainchild Nine Lessons and Carols for Curious People continues to sell out theatres every year, over a decade after its first appearance, and in 2019 he embarked on a world tour of arenas with Professor Brian Cox.

He has received an Honorary Fellowship of UCL, an honorary doctorate from Royal Holloway College (University of London), and is a fellow of the British Science Association.


This podcast is 100% powered by my Correspondent’s Club. Thanks to every single member for your support!

New to my musical world?

+ Get two free songs music immediately by joining my mailing list.

+ I send a thoughtful weekly email every week – join The Correspondent’s Club on a free or paid tier to receive it.

+ New episodes of my music podcast “Attention Engineer” are released every Wednesday – visit this page to find out more and subscribe via your favourite podcast platform.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo

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Ep26: Rat (Ned’s Atomic Dustbin) on how Miles Hunt and the YouTube sidebar led to a musical collaboration with…me!

Ep26: Rat (Ned’s Atomic Dustbin) on how Miles Hunt and the YouTube sidebar led to a musical collaboration with…me!

Podcast

Greetings, audio adventurer! Welcome to my conversation with Rat, recorded on 4th December 2020.

Press play below or click to listen / subscribe on your favourite podcast platform, click here to get your copy of the collaborative single we just released and click here to get your ticket for the Ned’s Atomic Dustbin shows in 2021.

[Content warning: some friendly swears.]


In this conversation, we discuss:

  • Obey Robots – our new collaboration project – how Miles Hunt (The Wonder Stuff) and the YouTube sidebar brought us together
  • Rat’s experience of going on Top Of The Pops in the early 90s, sandwiched between Roxette and Hale and Pace
  • the comfort of disappearing into a room with a guitar in hand
  • knowing your place as a performer – how the Ned’s manager Tank drilled respect for the audience into the band from the early days
  • writing and recording over email – how the internet made it possible for Obey Robots to spring into life this year, and how Ned’s might not have existed if it had happened sooner
  • how you – yes YOU – can get into home recording too (with honourable mention of this great book, “Guerilla Home Recording” by Karl Coryat)


Explore Rat’s work:

Find out more by visiting NAD’s website and following Rat on Twitter.




About Ned’s Atomic Dustbin

Ned’s Atomic Dustbin are an English rock band formed in Stourbridge, West Midlands, in November 1987. Formed at sixth-form college, the band recorded their first album while some of the members were still teenagers. 

From these humble beginnings, the band went on to sign to Sony Music, and their debut album “Godfodder” shot to number 4 in the UK albums chart in 1991. They released three albums and travelled the world, plus played Top Of The Pops twice before disbanding in 1995. In 2008, Ned’s reformed for a show at The Astoria, and since then have been playing regular reunion shows with The Wonder Stuff and Pop Will Eat Itself.

In 2019 they released 14-track album “Ned’s Acoustic Dustbin”, and in 2021 they will be performing in London and Stourbridge to celebrate the 30th anniversary of “The Ingredients” EP. Get tickets here.


This podcast is 100% powered by my Correspondent’s Club. Thanks to every single member for your support!

New to my musical world?

+ Get two free songs music immediately by joining my mailing list.

+ I send a thoughtful weekly email every Thursday – join The Correspondent’s Club on a free or paid tier to receive it.

+ New episodes of my music podcast “Attention Engineer”are released every Wednesday – visit this page to find out more and subscribe via your favourite podcast platform.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo

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Ep25: Thea Gilmore on ignoring normal to build an 18 album career

Ep25: Thea Gilmore on ignoring normal to build an 18 album career

Homepage Feature Podcast

Hello and welcome to my conversation with Thea Gilmore, recorded on 16th November 2020.

Press play below or click to listen / subscribe on your favourite podcast platform, visit Thea’s website here and scroll down for more links to her work.

[Content warning: some friendly swears.]

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • building a longlasting music career – removing power from the middlemen and finding ways forward that aren’t whatever normal is
  • how growing up alongside your fans is a bit like being followed around by your school class
  • how imposter syndrome can keep you grateful
  • honesty in music – taking down the wall brick by brick to become more uncomfortable
  • creating a sustainable income as an artist – the importance of both our subscription clubs in our continuing survival as artists, and Thea’s pioneering early work in this area
  • how fame seems awful
  • what it’s like to be one of Bruce Springsteen’s favourite artists


Explore Thea’s work:

Find out more by visiting Thea’s website and following her on Twitter.



About Thea Gilmore

An artist of enduring international acclaim and a justly revered lyricist, Thea Gilmore’s musical settings have taken many ingenious detours in the 22 years since the release of her debut album, Burning Dorothy. Uncategorisable, whip smart and unafraid to speak her mind, her Twitter bio reads “Singer. Songwriter. Tall bird. Corruptor of words”.


This podcast is 100% powered by my Correspondent’s Club. Thanks to every single member for your support!

New to my musical world?

+ Get two free songs music immediately by joining my mailing list.

+ I send a thoughtful weekly email every Thursday – join The Correspondent’s Club on a free or paid tier to receive it.

+ New episodes of my music podcast “Attention Engineer”are released every Wednesday – visit this page to find out more and subscribe via your favourite podcast platform.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo

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Ep24: Alicia Gaines (Ganser) on making music to entertain yourself

Ep24: Alicia Gaines (Ganser) on making music to entertain yourself

Podcast

Hi there! Welcome to my conversation with Alicia Gaines, recorded on 14th November 2020.

Press play below or click to listen / subscribe on your favourite podcast platform, wrap your ears around the latest Ganser album here and scroll down for more links to Alicia’s work.

[Content warning: some friendly swears.]

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • making music to entertain yourself, and why trying to sound cool has no place in 2020
  • the challenges of releasing an album during a global pandemic
  • using social media to make your own party instead of waiting to get invited to someone else’s
  • the shared psychosis of being a band – what it’s like making art as a collective subconscious trying to random in the same direction
  • how learning to advocate for yourself is essential in an artistic career
  • how school marching band / orchestra backgrounds propelled both of us towards careers as bassists
  • working out what the next mood is – how to stay creative


Explore Alicia’s work:

Find out more by visiting Ganser’s website and following them on Twitter.




Alicia recommends: The Durutti Column, Peter Gabriel, Liars and the work of Kate NV.


About Ganser

Growth with no reward. Finding strength in your less desirable traits. Coming up with the perfect comeback hours later in bed, glaring at the ceiling. Asking yourself: am I improving, or am I just changing into something unrecognizable? Chicago quartet Ganser probe the futility of striving for self-growth during the chaos of our times for dark comedy and jagged sounds on their potent new album Just Look at That Sky, released July 31st on Felte.

These are songs that never shy away from ugliness and confusion, that believe embracing the totality of the self sometimes means leaning into our dickish behavior. In the past, some listeners have had trouble reconciling non-male voices with the sorts of topics Ganser writes about, but that comes to an end with Just Look at That Sky. Co-produced with Electrelane’s Mia Clarke and engineer Brian Fox, this is an assured, fully realized triumph of a record from an art-punk band that’s figured out how to focus on making great art, even if everything else around them falls apart. – Eric Hatch


This podcast is 100% powered by my Correspondent’s Club. Thanks to every single member for your support!

New to my musical world?

+ Get two free songs music immediately by joining my mailing list.

+ I send a thoughtful weekly email every Thursday – join The Correspondent’s Club on a free or paid tier to receive it.

+ New episodes of my music podcast “Attention Engineer”are released every Wednesday – visit this page to find out more and subscribe via your favourite podcast platform.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo

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Ep23: Catherine Anne Davies (The Anchoress) on aiming for 40% happiness

Ep23: Catherine Anne Davies (The Anchoress) on aiming for 40% happiness

Podcast

Welcome to my conversation with Catherine Anne Davies, recorded on 10th November 2020.

Press play below or click to listen / subscribe on your favourite podcast platform, pre-order the new Anchoress album here and scroll down for more links to Catherine’s work.

[Content warning: some friendly swears.]

In this conversation, we discuss:

  • the importance of sheer bloodymindedness in a creative career
  • why everything we were told when we were starting out in the music business isn’t true any more – and why that’s exciting
  • how the Manic Street Preachers helped Catherine to university
  • “five-star loneliness” – the truth about touring
  • the importance of collaboration, and why making her recent album “In Memory Of My Feelings” with Bernard Butler (see episode 22!) was like taking a holiday
  • stage fright, performance nerves and “productive anxiety”
  • why boundaries are essential for artists


Explore Catherine’s work:

Find out more by visiting Catherine’s website and following her on Twitter.




About Catherine

Propelled by the Manic Street Preachers’ lyric “libraries gave us power”, The Anchoress (aka Welsh producer and multi-instrumentalist, Catherine Anne Davies) is a voracious devourer of words and music. 

From her early roots as a classically-trained flautist, to her current obsession with vintage synthesizers, Davies has spent much of the last four years developing her writing and engineering skills to become one of the most interesting up-and-coming songwriters and producers in the UK and has collaborated with a variety of artists including the London Philharmonic, Nitin Sawhney, Ed Harcourt, Bernard Butler, Liam Howe and Paul Statham.

The second Anchoress album, The Art Of Losing, will be released in March 2021.

Photo credit: Isabella Charlesworth.


This podcast is 100% powered by my Correspondent’s Club. Thanks to every single member for your support!

New to my musical world?

+ Get two free songs music immediately by joining my mailing list.

+ I send a thoughtful weekly email every Thursday – join The Correspondent’s Club on a free or paid tier to receive it.

+ New episodes of my music podcast “Attention Engineer”are released every Wednesday – visit this page to find out more and subscribe via your favourite podcast platform.

+ You can also follow me around the web, on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Have a lovely day xo

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