The Four Acorns EP was released today.
The artwork for the EP was created by a British caricaturist. What’s unusual is that Zeena and I have never met. If you want to hear the whole scoop, read on!
How I Met Zeena
Zeena and I met on Twitter. We started to have the odd chat over the ensuing months, sending each other messages here and there whenever something interesting or amusing came up. Because of (or perhaps despite) the ocean between us, it seemed a natural progression to get to know each other’s artistry through social media. When I went to Zeena’s Facebook Page, I discovered she was a caricaturist, and a very talented one at that.
After I posted on Facebook that I would soon be doing a show at The Fez in Stamford, CT, Zeena responded it was a shame that Cambridgeshire had to miss out. I donned my Leenie problem-solver thinking cap and came up with an idea. I replied to Zeena saying that she didn’t need to miss out, that we could set up a Skype time so I could sing a few songs, and of course, if she wanted to invite any family or friends, to go right ahead and do so.
On the agreed day, I met not only Zeena ‘virtually ‘ for the first time, but also her husband Greg and son Jabriel. We ended up talking about families, kids, storytelling and the songwriting process which is a subject I get a bit nuts talking about. It was great fun chatting in an informal setting and playing some songs perched on my piano stool whilst having a few laughs.
Zeena and I stayed in contact and I continued to follow her work on Facebook. One day, I saw her post of a drawing that really caught my eye: a leopard’s face. I asked Zeena what medium she used. Partly in biro, she said. Part biro?! I couldn’t believe it. Somehow, Zeena had managed to elevate the lowly, ubiquitous biro – the bane of every pre-computer era school child’s existence – to an instrument of art. (American translation: a biro is a ballpoint or Bic pen).
When I started to consider releasing an EP of songs that were much more stripped down – more akin to how I first wrote them – I thought how cool it would be to have a real artist design the EP cover. My friend Richard had come up with the title Four Acorns, so it was only a matter of finding the right image for Zeena on which to base her drawing.
I approached her with the idea and here we are today telling the story.
How I met Kathy
Kismet i.e. fate can be a wonderful thing. That is how I feel I met the amazing Kathy Muir, first conversing on Twitter before becoming a fully- fledged friendship which I will value forever. I was in awe not just of her beautiful music but by her beautiful soul. So when she asked me if I’d like to design her EP cover- I felt absolutely honoured!
As the theme was acorns representing the different moods of the songs, we went for a slightly retro look, each colour of each acorn representing a different mood/song. I started out by drawing the acorn in my medium of choice – biro and then photographed the drawing. I then printed out four copies of the photograph, cut out the acorns and washed each picture over with watercolour. We went for simplicity as Kathy’s amazing songs speak for themselves.
I have other projects in the work including a collaboration with a friend for a children’s book and hopefully a comic (more on that soon) plus a few other bits for charity. Most upcoming work on my Facebook Page will be for the fantastic charity Viva! Please check out Viva.org.uk for more details of the wonderful work they do…and of course please support Kathy’s talent and buy the EP!
Editor’s postscript (that’s me) please go to Zeena’s Viva profile to find out more about her work and the great things this organisation is doing. I hope this short story gives you some insight into what took place behind the scenes to make this project come to fruition.
Four Acorns comprises remastered versions of songs from the first album Far From Entirely (FFE) and is now available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, GooglePlay. In the coming weeks, the EP can be heard on Rdio, Deezer and Beats Music.
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Thanks for listening!