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  • Writer's pictureBen Chiblogga

How I Felt at The Chelt Jazz 2019...

Photo credit: Jemima Martin
Photo Credit - Jemima Martin

Greeting you Chipolatas.

That's right, Beyonce has her 'BeyHives'... Benedict Cumberbatch has his 'Cumberbitches'... and now I have my Chipolatas... slowly roasting in a pan ready for the latest sizzling news of what I have been up to.

I'll just jump straight into this. I have never read a blog before from start to finish... Usually I read two lines and then switch off, so give yourself a pat on the bat if you have only tolerated my verbal diarrhea up until the end of this sentence.

I'm going to try and write my blogs, how I would write a song - through my go-to technique - the mighty stream of consciousness. If you are unaware of this technique, you can find out more here. Or here is my deeply philosophical definition - It's a technique where you are just letting it all hang out (creatively) and not "overthinking what to say, just thinking things through..." *LYRICAL SPOILER ALERT FOR NEXT ALBUM*

Anyway, this blog is now off and away - just like the horses at Cheltenham Races - out of the blocks in no time. Speaking of Cheltenham, I was very fortunate to be another 'jazz guinea pig' this year at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival. Six performances in three days. Here's a quick run down of my weekend and one word/phrase to sum up how I felt....

A whopping big poster of me (couldn't miss it) alongside the greats

Friday 3rd May -

Henry Weston session live video at midday... Over-excited.

Cheltenham Jazz VIP Party... Slightly starstruck.

Nouvelle House Band residency feat. Nick Robinson... Super slinky.

Saturday 4th May

Nouvelle House Band residency feat. Grove - PUMPED UP ready to serve an ace on Centre Court.

Sunday 5th May

Supporting Swing Out Sister - Calmer than a plum sitting underneath a tree.

Nouvelle House Band residency feat. Eleanor Lang - Cuddly. I felt like I was in someone's front-room, with the most endearing crowd.

As the weekend progressed, so did the space in my brain to think... for what was the most demanding weekend of my life. I managed to sing (just-about) from Friday afternoon through to Sunday evening on very little sleep. As a self-manager you worry about the little things, which didn't help the vocal cords relax in the way I wanted to...but I suppose that is what happens when you try and organise everything yourself. The biggest thing I learned from this weekend is that I need a small team behind me, in order to really enjoy and relax in my performances. Rubbing shoulders with Pee Wee Ellis, Sergio Mendes and Gregory Porter in the VIP Tent was totally inspiring yet thought provoking, as I was thinking to myself 'why are they so calm?' 'how can they be so chilled' and 'surely they need to be at the venue to soundcheck?'. These were only a few of many managerial worries which started to filter through my head. Maybe I should be a manager as I could quickly tell who were the managers in the room accommodating such talent. They were beavering away on their phones checking schedules and re-scheduling, as well as physically being there for them if any issue arose.

I have a few fantastic mentors who are always a phone-call away, but to have someone to be there in the present moment at gigs to clean up of the gig-niggles and stress-fiddles will hopefully become reality one day! If you are still reading this and feel you know any professional manager who would help me spare a bit more time on being creative, and less time of the businessy side then please do get in touch. I would love to create a Chipolata dream team - If Pep Guardiola can do it with Manchester City, then surely I can do it when I move to Manchester in a month's time. Excited is an understatement.

So back to the Jazz (wahay), and I'll leave you with a very special song I was lucky enough to record with The Henry Weston team. A massive thank you to Ian George, Emily Jones and Becky Woodcock for giving me many opportunities to perform again this year in all different bands and sizes. As well as the Still Moving Media team - they phoned me whilst on the train to Cheltenham that Friday morning, to see if I fancied doing a session - I had to wolf down my breakfast and felt a million dollars when I walked on set with lots of high-tech equipment. With eager people ready to press RECORD....

Enjoy, Tanti Baci (lots of kisses)


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