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April Keen – The BIG weekend

I first heard April perform at the Dinkey Donkey Do at Fort San Antone in November 2013 and it was obvious from the start that she was something special. Since that time I have had the pleasure of, not only, seeing her perform both as a solo and with her band but also meeting her. It’s rare to find a teenager that is not convinced that they know everything already, and I include myself when I was a teen. April listens, processes and understands with remarkable ease and then applies her new found knowledge wherever she can.

If you listen to the her lyrics you immediately realise that she is wise beyond her years, yet still a child at heart. Her understanding and ability to convey emotions leave you spellbound and the simple, yet powerful, melodies instantly bring you into the moment, the mindset, her song is portraying.

Contrary to some opinions, I find April has a unique voice and the bravery, no sorry that’s wrong, it’s not bravery it’s confidence, to sing her songs her way.

It is clear to me that at 16 years of age April is in the enviable position of taking charge of her future now. There are pressures that come with that responsibility but with the counsel of her supportive family and the guidance of her management team, Bob Keen and Steve Guest, April is taking that pressure and turning it into opportunity.

April has a work ethic that is seldom seen in the youth of today. She understands that you ‘get out what you put in’ and the constant practice, gigs and open mic nights both as a solo act and with her band are paying dividends. June 1, 2013, marked her debut performance at Silantro in St. Annes. Saturday night saw her return to this intimate venue and delight the clientele with three wonderful sets of her own material with just a couple of covers thrown in for good measure. Despite performing once already that day, with her band, at HMV Blackpool and having the main EP Launch event on Sunday, April did not take it easy, she did not ‘play it safe’. She performed, accompanied by Myles Dunlop, with the professionalism that every gig deserves.

For me it was one of April’s best performances. You could see that she was relaxed and enjoying every minute. Her interaction with the audience is improving every time I get the chance to see her.

Sunday, 9 March 2014 marks a significant day in the career of April Keen. This day, only nine months after her first performance, brought the official release of Solace. The Blue Room played host to an event, this was more than a gig, where fans, friends and family came from far and wide to help celebrate this milestone.

As I arrived, April and the band were still sound checking. Things hadn’t gone completely according to plan. For most 16 year olds this would be the start of a tantrum. Nothing of the sort, no break in composure, no frantic rush, just more evidence of maturity and dedication.  Whilst things were running slightly later than planned it didn’t dampen spirits, there was no frustration. People knew the wait would be worth it. And it was.

The evening was kicked off by the flamenco infused guitar style of Tom Metcalfe, April’s guitar tutor. It was only fitting for him to play at this event when you consider he played at her first gig. A fabulous performance to say it was his first for the year!

Next up was a young lad who, to be perfectly honest, you wouldn’t even notice if you passed him on the street. And believe me, you would kick yourself if you missed him perform. It’s like the transformation of Clark Kent to Superman, except in this case he doesn’t take the glasses off, he just picks up a guitar. I honestly believe that Ben McNee doesn’t know just how good he really is. Whether he is playing solo or with the band Eye Has Not Seen he kills it every time. Blues, rock, indie and I dare say classical, he plays it all with remarkable ease and sings with a confidence that far exceeds his look.

The now suitably invigorated crowd moved into full party mode as Michael Mayor, Matthew Alan Hill, Myles Dunlop and April Keen took to The Blue Room’s stage. Black and White, Seventeen, Candle, and Old Voices were just a few of the excellent songs written by April and performed flawlessly by the foursome to a highly appreciative crowd. By debuting, on such a special night, the new bluesy riffed Frightened One, they showed their ability to deliver the goods time and time again not only with professionalism but with the enthusiasm only people that truly enjoy what they do can muster.

The release of her debut EP, Solace, proves that she is a talent that will be reckoned with. Long may we all enjoy the sights and sounds of April Keen.

To stay up to date with April:

Twitter: @aprilkeenx

YouTube: www.youtube.com/aprilkeenxo

Web: www.aprilkeenmusic.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/aprilkeenmusic

Images courtesy of The Extra Third Photography.

  • Show Comments (2)

  • Sally Smith

    After all the hype i read on this concert i have to say i wished id stayed in.I came over from Longton expecting Eva Cassidy at least..Im afraid to say the people filling the net with disinformation need to play fair.I was so annoyed i wanted to say something .Finish school girl then attempt to write a song you can sing .I wont be buying the song or ever having faith in an overhyped post again.So disappointed i wasted a night

  • Steve Guest

    Well, from me personally Sally, as a member of April`s management team, I`m very sorry to hear that you didnt enjoy or appreciate April`s performance. Maybe you were expecting too much? After all, this is a very young artist we are talking about here and at a very early stage in her career. From the feedback we have received from both people in attendance on the evening and others attached to the music industry it has been hugely positive and I do think its fair to say that 99.9% of folks that went home that evening thoroughly enjoyed the performance and that of her supporting artists on the night.

    There was no `disinformation` given at all. We promoted the event as a launch night for a debut EP, not a fourth album release.Maybe just as a thought, you should perhaps consider lowering your expectations? And perhaps next time you should consider booking tickets for a more establish artist that will satify your expectation.

    In the meantime, April Keen will continue to write fabulous songs, develop her career and continue to improve her performance as a brilliant young and developing artist, that is without a shadow of a doubt.

    The early EP sales have been very positive and again the feedback has been nothing short of incredible. No overhyping, no pretence, no lies, just a talented and gifted young singer/songwriter doing what she is best at, which is writing and performing great songs.Im just sorry to hear that your opinion differs from the great majority, but of course you are very much entitled to it.

    And just as a thought, maybe…just maybe, some constructive opinion may have been better in this instance and if you were indeed `annoyed` on the evening in question, it would have been appreciated and perhaps your views would have been taken on board and digested? But we werent afforded that chance unfortunately.

    Nevertheless, thank you for taking the time to post your opinion and let`s hope that maybe April one day aspires to your expectations.

    Steve Guest (April Keen Management Team)

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