Hello and thank you for choosing to read about me. My name is Paul Collier; I am 37 and am from Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire in the UK. I have a daughter, Danielle-Rose and a son, Elijah.
Music has been a part of my life from a very young age. When I was just 7 years old (in 1980) my mum would give me 2 pence for each new song that I learnt to play on the keyboard by ear! Going back further still, my mum says to this day that the reason I became so interested in music was down to her playing the guitar whilst she was pregnant with me.
From birth I was bought up in a Christian home, going to church each Sunday and during the week, therefore I grew up listening to emotional music and strong messages, As a youngster I would take my tiny little Casio keyboard with me, sit at the front of the church and play along with the organist, no one could hear it but me, in fact most of the time I would need to hold my keyboard right against my ear as I played to be able to hear it! But it did teach me how to play by ear. Pun not intended.
At high school with just 2 years remaining, myself and my classmates had to choose which subjects we would like to study for an O’ level (GCSE) I really wanted to learn music, how to read music and to write it but sadly not enough pupils were interested in it for the subject to run at all, and therefore that door was closed to me, so I took up delivering newspapers morning and night in order to afford private music lessons, which I attended for nearly 2 years, my only formal training throughout my life. Thank you Mr Lilly (my tutor) I will remember you always!
Throughout my life my interest in playing the piano grew, it was my only hobby, and one I still love to do more than anything else to this day. As an adult I can spend 8 to 10 hours playing the piano in one day (or night) and it will seem like a few minutes have passed. Many a time I will sit in the dark at night playing it, only to discover it becoming light outside and I have yet to sleep!
10 years ago however, in my 20s illness struck, diagnosed with clinical depression which took me to the lowest you can imagine, it is without doubt that my close family kept me going when I certainly did not want to, this silent illness crushed my confidence, relationships ended with great loss and sorrow, I lost my house, I injured my right hand so badly, tearing ligaments that when asked to make a fist, I could not even slightly bend my fingers without awful pain! I really thought at that time that my days of playing the piano were over for good, this upset me more than the thought of not being able to do anything else with my right hand such as write/type or play table tennis etc. But slowly and through the brilliant help of the physio department of my local hospital my hand recovered, fully.
During this unexpected and confusing period of my life, my love for the keyboard/piano stayed with me, when I could not muster the motivation to eat/clean/move any further than from my bed to my sofa, I could still sit at my piano and just play. It was a form or release I guess.
Then I started to notice something that I found remarkable, I discovered that when I was at my lowest times, when the thought of continuing my life of unbearable negative thoughts, crying crumpled up on the floor screaming “why? Why?” if I could get myself to sit at my keyboard and just let my fingers play the notes, it was then that new compositions would come to me, and these new compositions would make me feel better, they would lift me enough for me to see another day.
I started to use this knowledge to my advantage (if that’s the right way of wording it) as often as I could muster the strength to, when in a frightening low mood I would make myself get to the keyboard and play. I admit it was a strange time and I do not know why or how this was the case but I was greatfull for it. Depression was such a strange place, to this day I find it amazing that during this period, my thoughts would dwell more on not wanting to get better! But to instead, give up! Thankfully, that is now the past.
My friends and family kept telling me that I should do something with my music, they enjoyed listening to it but my confidence was so shattered that I was certain they were just saying these words to try to make me feel good, I could not believe the words were genuine. Unless of course anyone told me something bad then oh yes I believed it instantly without evidence. I decided to upload one of my compositions to YouTube; I thought to myself “If my song is listened to there then I will get honest comments and ratings.
What happened as a result of this I could not have imagined in my dreams! Not only were listeners saying the kindest complimentary words, but something more, the lift in mood that I experienced by writing the music was having the same effect on listeners too! I was amazed and humbled. Suddenly I had a purpose.
I started to receive personal messages telling me that my music helped with beating insomnia, anxiety, stress, depression, it calmed down students before important exams and more. This was the encouragement I needed; this was the confidence boost that worked. I started to upload more of my work to YouTube and to receive subscribers, at the start I was so thrilled to read such nice comments I made it my goal to reply to each and every comment and thanked each new subscriber, but then in 2009 the viewings went up in a big way, it became impossible to reply to each message, I do, however still read and value each one very much, each new subscriber/comment motivates me to record and upload more of my work, so a big thank you to all that have visited my YouTube video’s, you have given my life purpose!
I have been asked for permission to use my music in various ways, some of these I will indeed consider, others I will refuse without a thought. If the intended purpose is to help others, to be used in a positive light Contact me for costs/terms and copyright extension, please note that currently I am not giving permission to use my music on your YouTube video's, I have my reasons for this.. However, should the request for my music be to use it in a negative way, then my answer is no, regardless of any financial promise or reward. How often do you hear about some new talented musician or singer, then when they “hit the big time” they simply become a clone of everyone else, they perform wearing the minimum of clothes, being raunchy on stage, using explicit and often disgusting language, it’s a shame that sex sells. Well, not here it won’t.
My only aim with my music is to help spread peace. Therefore monetary needs fall behind that purpose. You will never see anything upsetting/of an adult nature/violent with my music, and I will never use subliminal messages. Also, you will notice that all of my compositions are instrumental, I prefer it that way because without singing there is no language barrier. Yes, I want to earn a living, but certainly not by selling my soul!
People sometimes ask me who are my influences, but I do not really have any, the type of music that I listen to is quite varied. I enjoy the music of James Newton Howard, who has wrote some beautiful music for movies such as King Kong and Lady in the water, but I also enjoy listening to music with a fast beat, anything that moves me really. I do not copy any artist’s style, nor do I try to conform to typical song patterns, I just play!
At time of writing this, January 2010 I am unsigned/ I do not have a record label. To be honest I have not actively sought one either. The thought of my music helping people to achieve something that seems to have become a forgotten skill, relaxation, is wonderful to me; this motivates me to continue greatly. If I were to have a label I do not know if my music could be used for purposes/films/videos that I would not agree to.
As you can easily imagine, not having a record label limits my exposure massively. This website is my only source of income so I do hope that my music does not get downloaded illegally as it would be me who loses out, not a multimillion pound corporation, or someone well known achieving millions of album sales along with National or even worldwide radio play/advertising/concerts/promotions. I do know however that not all people can afford to pay for downloads and for this reason I intend to continue posting my work to YouTube for as long as it is enjoyed. Any support given will help me keep this website running and for me to continue making and uploading new compositions.
Thank you for reading a little bit about me, please feel free to contact me.
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