01 December 2010
Successful songwriter and 80s pop icon Howard Jones has shared the secrets of his success with Canterbury Christ Church University students.
Jones achieved worldwide success in the 80s thanks to his unique and fresh synthpop sound. Hit singles such as ‘New Song’, ‘What is love’ and ‘Like to get to know you well’ led to gold and platinum album sales in Britain and America.
Still writing, recording and touring, Jones recently visited the university’s Broadstairs Campus to take part in a songwriting masterclass with Commercial Music students. He said: “It was great to be invited to do a song writing master class with the students. I’m very keen to encourage young people to work on their song writing skills, and be able to give something back. Both those ideas are very important to me.
“The students were really great. They were a lively and inventive group with very different styles. I never knew what I was going to hear next!
“I went to the Royal Northern College of Music, so I actually studied classical music. But I think if courses like this had been around I’m sure I would’ve been very interested in coming here and gaining an education in developing my song writing and music.”
Jones broke into the music industry after spending a lot of his time gigging in London, building up support. He explained to the students that back in the 1980s the industry was very different: “In my day, it was a case of going around venue after venue, gig after gig and getting people on your side one by one. Now we’ve got that global reach, right there at our fingertips.
“I believe today’s artists need to think about not only how they can be creative with their music, but also how they are going to be creative with the way they get their music out.
“If people are prepared to spend 20 hours a day on Facebook and Twitter – working not only on their music but the dissemination of their music - then you can be successful. I think it is one of the most exciting times to be an emerging artist because the power can be in your hands - if you are prepared to seize it.
“Shows such as X Factor put out the wrong signal and just create clones of other artists, rather than original performers, which as a country we are brilliant at producing. The industry should be nurturing talent rather than trying to produce another hundred Whitney Houstons.
“The one piece of advice I can give to anyone is to realise immediately that it’s them, and them alone, that is going to be responsible for generating their musical successes. If you wait around for somebody else to do it, you will wait forever. I wish I had twigged that earlier as things would’ve been a lot less painful and I wouldn’t have blamed so many external things.”
Dr Andrew Gower, Broadstairs Campus Director said: “Howard is an outstanding song writer and musician who over a distinguished career has achieved great success worldwide. With album sales now exceeding eight million Howard remains creatively and commercially at the cutting edge of the music industry. We are very grateful to Howard for sharing his considerable knowledge and expertise in this way.”
James Dean, Programme Director for BA Commercial Music and BA/BSc Music Technology, added: "The masterclass given by Howard provided an excellent opportunity for the Commercial Music and Music Production students to discuss their own songwriting projects with a musician who has had world-wide success in the music industry as a songwriter, recording artist and performer. We’d like to thank Howard for the encouraging advice he gave to the students and for his great performance at the 'Songwriters' gig in the evening, where he performed a selection of his hit songs."
Canterbury Christ Church University
Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.
With nearly 18,000 students, and five campuses across Kent, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional expertise.