This week has been mostly taken up with activates of a musical nature at SXSW. It’s the first SX I’ve been part of in 2 years. It was a little weird, but it felt really good to be playing shows again and seeing musician friends I haven’t been around in for-eva.

Austin peeps will know how crazy the shire gets during SX. Musical people play an insane number of showcases, hopping from venue to venue with barely enough time to get from one stage to the other. It’s nuts, but a lot of fun.

As mentioned in previous posts, the pandemic has taught me that less is most definitely more, so the fact that I was only playing a mere 4 shows this week was A-ok with me. For context, in 2019 I played 19 showcases with multiple artists. 2020 I had 14 lined up, but Covid made sure none of those took place (which, as it turned out, was a good thing for me, as 6 weeks prior to that I had a hysterectomy and *should* have been resting).

Speaking of going placidly amid the noise and haste; this week I wanted to share a very special poem with you. Desiderata by Max Ehrmann. This poem is important to me because a copy of it has hung in every house my parents have ever lived in. I know many of the lines off by heart and growing up, both my Mum and Dad would quote passages from it often.

Enjoy ❤ ❤ ❤


Go placidly amid the noise and the haste and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.


What is ‘Normal’?

I’ve got to be honest with you.

I’m struggling to get back to ‘normal’.

Everyone else seems to be slowly emerging from the pandemic hibernation and going back to normality with so much enthusiasm, but I’m not sure what that looks like for me anymore.

I mean, define normal.

normal – /ˈnôrməl/
the usual, average, or typical state or condition.

Well, yeah….but, like, Covid, and the pandemic, and stuff, and things.

When lockdown happened it was as if we pressed the pause button on life itself, then years later we hit play, with the expectation of picking up where we left off.

Yep, everything’s normal. Nothing weird here. We’re just going back to the life we had 2 years ago even though we’ve grown and changed and we’re all different, but we’re heading back there anyways and it’s all perfectly normal


Trouble is, I can’t go back to the life I had. I’m not the same person I used to be. I’ve changed, like a whole lot.

When lockdown happened, I (like many of my creative friends) totally and utterly freaked out. But once I stopped fighting it and embraced my situation, for the first time ever my personality type actually worked in my favor. I grew in a way I never thought was possible and finally felt 100% comfortable in my own skin.

In case you didn’t know, I’m a hard-core introvert. A lot of people have this misconception that introverts hate everyone and don’t want to interact with them. That simply isn’t true. I DO want to interact with everyone, just one at a time, and definitely not in a small room all at the same time with music blaring and lights and noise and stuff. THAT is far from normal.

One thing lockdown did helped me with was self-love.

I really like me. I enjoy being in my own company. I’m very content sitting alone for hours on end. I don’t need a phone or gadget. A book is always very welcome. Being immersed in nature is even better.

Before the pandemic, I apologised to people for essentially being, well, myself. I know I’m British and saying sorry is like a national tic for us, but I would apologise to people for every-single-bloody-thing.

I’m sorry I need quiet time every day.

I’m sorry that standing around at cocktail parties having surface level conversations with total strangers is not my thing.

I’m sorry that I’d much rather sit in a peaceful and tranquil place that do shots in a club.

I’m sorry I love reading and enjoy sharing some of the interesting stuff I’ve read.

I’m sorry I have a deep awareness of human suffering and think about it constantly. 

I’m sorry I know all the words to Vanilla Ice’s Ice Ice Baby and owned his album as a child (sorry not sorry).

I didn’t want to rock the boat, so more often than not I pretended to be something I wasn’t. I didn’t want to make people feel uncomfortable, and yet all this time it seemed perfectly acceptable to me that I be ill at ease

Like, wow the fecking fo?

But you know, lockdown forced me to be with myself and figure aaaallll this shit out. And now I’m perfectly happy saying; I like me. Just the way I am. I’ve spent far too long trying to fit in, and I don’t want to do that anymore.

So now that little revelation has happened, we move on to act II:

ACT II – Scene I
Integrating back into Society (aka, normality)

Every Sunday throughout the Pandemic, I was part of a church band playing music and doing live streams for the congregation, as we weren’t allowed to hold regular services. In a pretty large building, the crew was made up of 8 people.

We did this for an entire year. 12 months later, we had our first in-person service with 50 people in the audience.

Halfway through the gig, I got up from behind the drum kit and went outside. I had a total meltdown. The flood gates opened, and I could not stop crying. I felt utterly overwhelmed and didn’t know how to process what I was experiencing.

I mean, I’m a musician. I’ve been performing in front of audiences for the past 25 years.

I’m supposed to ENJOY this sort of thing! What on earth is going on?!

I don’t know if any of you guys have ever been on one of those elimination diets, the ones where you cut out sugar or wheat or whatever. Initially it makes you feel like crap, but after a while, you feel so much better.

Then months or even years later, someone offers you an extremely sugary cake. You take one bite, and it’s nothing like you remember.

It makes you feel yucky and weird.

And that’s what I’ve been experiencing going back to ‘normal’. All the elements that were eliminated from my life came hurtling towards me like a stampede of elephants and it was utterly overwhelming.

The thing is, I DO love performing. I LOVE being on-stage with my musician friends, which is why all of this is so difficult and confusing.

Things are getting easier, slowly. I am doing more, bit by bit. I’m learning that it’s ok to let go of the past and be in the present. I need to stop trying to go back to how things were, because life is completely different in a multitude of ways. Creatively everything is pretty darn awesome for me right now, it’s just all the regular stuff I’m finding difficult to process.

How about you? Have you found it difficult to get back to normal? Or was it easy-peesy-lemon-squeezy? And if you have any handy hints or tips they would be very much appreciated ❤ ❤ ❤


But what’s the answer?

For the past 3 years I have been friends with a homeless lady who lives not far from us. She’s softly spoken, kind and unassuming. She has 2 dogs who are always happy as can be and far from skinny.

We periodically meet up and I take supplies of food, propane and anything else she might need. If it’s chilly outside I let her sit in my car with the seat warmers on, and for typical Texas-level heat I’ll get the air-conditioning on the go. It’s hard for her to trust people and even harder for her to accept help, so it means the world to me that she feels safe in my presence and allows me to do what I can.

She is part of a small group of homeless people who have found a spot tucked away out of sight from the rest of the world. They don’t steal from nearby shops, nor do they bother passersby. They are all outcasts for one reason or another and the only thing they are trying to do is survive. This year I have been able to meet a few of the other people in her community and they are all absolutely lovely. On the outside many of them look like they could cut a bitch. But if you can look past that and engage in conversation, you will find them to be intelligent, articulate and extremely thoughtful.

When I arrived in the US 8 years ago, I literally didn’t have a pot to piss in. The help I received from my community was unreal. People I didn’t even know offering me clothes, food, help with finding gigs, loaning me gear to play shows and even offering to me a ride places.

I wouldn’t be where I am today without the love and support of those kind souls. It’s something I will never forget, and even though some people might say my pissing pot still isn’t enormous, at least I have one 😉

I know you’re probably reading this thinking what the bloody hell does this have to do with the crisis in Ukraine? Isn’t that what this blog post is supposed to be about KM? 

It is. Stay with me.

A few years back, Laran and I were renting a room from a guy’s house. He and I would periodically chat about stuff and things (well, when I say chat, it was more like walking down a one-way street). He leans fairly hard to the right. As you’ve probably guessed, I’m more of a left leaning sort. The fact that we lean different ways doesn’t bother me and certainly doesn’t mean I no longer wish to engage in conversation. Quite the opposite, I want to hear everyone’s point of view.

We got onto the subject of other countries and their issues, when he said:

Back in the day the media didn’t cover news stories from all over the world. I believe we should only be concerned with our own and shouldn’t get involved in anything outside of the US.

I was somewhat perplexed by this statement and asked him to clarify.

To paraphrase, he believed that the American government should exclusively look after the American people, the US States should only deal with their own issues, and that each individual person should only concern themselves with their own family, and no one else.

Over the past few days, I have spoken to a couple of friends here in the US and asked them for their thoughts on the current situation involving Russia and Ukraine.

Their response was somewhat, surprising.

They seemed to very much align with my former roommate. We shouldn’t get involved. It’s not our problem. These aren’t our people.

I’ve thought about this a lot (I am a Libra don’t forget, it’s what we do).

At what point does it become our problem? When it’s on our doorstep? When it’s someone from our own country? Or family? Or a friend? At what point does human life become important to us? When you see it with your own eyes and not on a device that you can switch on and off whenever you want to? Or does it only become important when it directly impacts you?

There have been so many times when I have been around my homeless friend and thought there but for the grace of God go I. I was born in the UK, into a household filled with love and acceptance. I was told by the people closest to me, that I was loved and appreciated, even when I was being a complete arsehole. I was encouraged to follow my dreams. I always felt safe, and I had two strong role models in my life who taught me the value of both hard work and kindness.

Life is hard, and we’re all trying to figure our shit out on a daily basis, but some people have to endure unimaginable hardship that is totally and utterly not their fault. They just happened to be born in a certain place and time.

An analogy I often use is thinking of life as a dense forest with low visibility and each of us going on our own journeys, figuring out how to get to the other side.

Some people may have the appropriate clothes and shoes. Some may even have a flashlight and a GPS to show them the way. Others may have all the above along with a vehicle to drive them through the forest, so they don’t even have to walk.

Now imagine someone with no clothes, no shoes, no map or help of any kind, stumbling through the forest, lost and alone, trying to figure out how to get through to the other side, and when they ask for help no one answers.

We are all connected. Yes, we have our tribes which are divided into different countries with varying rules and ideals. But we all inhabit the same planet. I don’t see a them, way over there in the distance, in a country I know nothing about. I only see us. Humanity. The human race. If you’re hurting, so am I.

I was having a conversation with my Mum a while ago about helping others. I told her that I wish I could do so much more, and at times it feels as though I’m picking up a grain of sand and throwing it into the ocean.

In her usual Zen-like way, she replied with:

But imagine if everyone, everywhere picked up a grain of sand and threw it into the ocean. That really would make a big difference, and all you can do is hopefully inspire others to want to pick up a grain of sand in the first place.

I know, she’s a keeper.

I’m far from a perfect person and don’t profess to have all the answers. Often I feel lost and conflicted. But what I do know is that instinctually I want to help others wherever possible. The situation in Ukraine is heartbreaking and leaves me feeling so helpless. I desperately want to do something and it’s incredibly difficult to process, but I would far rather sit with an uncomfortable, helpless feeling, than be the polar opposite, and simply say ‘it’s not my problem’.

Sending so much love to the people of Ukraine.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤






Me Too. Again.

I get hit on by dudes, a lot.

I do not make this statement to brag like I’m some super-hot chick. Quite the opposite. I don’t understand it at all, but outside of that, I find getting hit on by men uncomfortable and often very annoying.

I remember sharing a ride with a musician friend a couple of years ago and me telling him the exact same thing.

‘Ooooo, there, there’ he responded in a patronising tone, patting me gently on the shoulder, ‘how awful for you!’. He them slumped back in his seat and said ‘it’s *always* fun getting hit on. Something must be wrong with you’.

Is it fun though? 

I mean, here’s the thing. I’m gay, right?

That means I have to deal with unwanted attention from men who I don’t wish to interact with in that way, and there’s not an awful lot I can do about it.

If you’re a straight person, imagine if you will, venturing outside your home, doing menial tasks such as grocery or book shopping, and people of the same sex blatantly staring at you and then coming over to chat you up, and even when you make it crystal clear that you’re not interested, they still keep going, and when you eventually get mad and tell them to kindly bugger off, they make out like YOU’RE the a-hole! 😮 

Don’t get me wrong, there have been a couple of guys who have approached me and been incredibly sweet and kind, but most of the time, it’s really icky.

I know you’re probably reading this thinking:

‘Blimey, KM is a right man-hater!’.

How very dare you! I am no such thing.

FACT: Most of my friends are straight dudes.

I love hanging out with a group of guys, because we have so much in common 🙂 but my male friends accept me for who I am and know that nothing is ever going to happen between us, other than in-depth conversations about cars, or sports, or action movies, or video games, or probably a combination of all these things.

I was super proud of the fact that back when I lived in the UK I was invited to my friend’s Stag-do (Batchelor Party) before he got married. It really meant a lot to me ❤ We all went bowling, they drank a shit-ton of beer. I made sure no-one went off with anyone strange. We hit a club, danced to crappy music, got some fast food and went home. It was a fun night.

When it comes to strangers, like so many women, I have had more situations than I care to remember where I had incredibly uncomfortable interactions with guys.

I no longer use Lyft as I had 2 back-to-back incidents of male drivers who were total creepers and were acting in an inappropriate way. One guy spent the entire ride saying he’d like to be my new boyfriend and how we have time to hit a bar before my flight, the other tried to reach over and grab my leg.

Why didn’t you report this to Lyft? 

I did. You know what happened? A-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y nothing. Except now I no longer feel safe being driven to wherever it is that I need to go, which is a bloody shame, as there are so many awesome Lyft drivers out there, one of which I wrote a blog post about.

The thing is, I want to make choices about what clothes to wear each day, but if I’m venturing out into the big wide world, I get very insecure that I will in fact draw *more* attention from the opposite sex with my clothing choice.

And btw, I’m not talking about dressing up like I’m about to go and work for a few hours down the clocktower (aka turning tricks). I’m just talking clothes that make me feel good. That’s all. Trousers, shirt, shoes, that sort of thing.

I was disappointed to learn recently that while wearing one of my trouser / shirt / shoes clothing combos that a simple, seemingly inoffensive interaction with a guy has cost me a regular gig that was going really well. I did absolutely nothing wrong except decline someone’s advances, something they clearly took offence to. More on that in a bit.

It reminded me of a situation that happened about 10 years ago, back when I was doing more of my ‘KM Singer-Songwriter’ thing. I was asked by a popular music magazine to do an interview, something I was super excited about.

My interviewer turned out to be the editor for the magazine. He seemed a little quirky but nice enough. We met up at a local cafe and chatted for around an hour. Towards the end of the interview, he told me that he had 2 free tickets for a concert to see one of my all-time favorite artists (someone we had talked about in my interview). He told me the second ticket was going spare and I was welcome to have it. I thanked him for the very kind gesture and said that would be amazing.

About a week later I had a solo gig. Shortly after arriving, I noticed Mr.Magazine-Dude was already in attendance, fancy DSLR camera at the ready. He greeted me with a big hug as I walked in, and during the gig took literally hundreds of photos of me playing.

Yeah. It was awkward and weird.

The more Magazine-Dude was interacting with me during my show, the more I realised that he was thinking of the free-ticket offering as some sort of date, which was not how I interpreted it at all.

The following day I sent him an email, which I had spent considerable time writing to make sure I was being courteous, polite and above all else, kind. I explained that as much as I appreciated the ticket offer, I would no longer be able to accept it.

I hit the send button.

The response I received a few hours later was staggering.

It consisted of paragraph after paragraph of angry ranting, calling me this and that (and the other).

I did what I usually do when someone decides to drop one of these delightful messages in my inbox.

I rang him up.

It’s amazing how much smaller people’s balls are when you’re talking to them on the end of a telephone vs a computer screen.

Even though I was upset by what I had just read, I explained in a calm and concise way that I did not appreciate his email and I had done absolutely nothing wrong.

He childishly responded with:

“Well, you need to be careful who you piss of in this business”.

I took it as an empty threat, coming from someone who was clearly pissed off, but unfortunately for me, that wasn’t the end of it. Mr.Magazine-Dude was involved in multiple events and a large festival I used to play in London every year, and he made sure I was never booked at any of these ever again.

Fast forward to present day and it seems that once again, a similar situation has happened to me.

For the past 8 months I’ve been playing regularly at a venue I liked a whole lot. The bar staff are awesome, I get on well with the manager, and as far as I knew, everything was fine.

The first time I played there, someone from upper management came to greet me and seemed very friendly and helpful. I mistook this for being, well, friendly and helpful.

Whenever I was playing, he was always around and made a point of interacting with me and saying nice things about my music.

Again, I mistook this for complements about my musicianship. Darn fool.

The last time I interacted with him, he said something to me that seemed a little off and made me think that perhaps he viewed me in a way that I wasn’t comfortable with.

The following day he randomly messaged me through my website, asking me a rather vague question about my shows. It felt very much as if he was fishing for a response, and as I would be playing at his gaff the following week and would see him in-person, I didn’t respond.

I went to play my show, and not only did he completely and utterly blank me for most of the evening, when I did interact with him, he acted like a stroppy child. I ignored it, but inside I was so irritated by his behavior.

The agency that books my gigs has told me numerous times that I was this venue’s favorite act, and along with booking me multiple times a month, they would always ask me to do special events before anyone else.

It’s been over 2 months since I’ve played there.

I checked in with my agent to ask why I hadn’t been booked there for a while when everything seemed to be going so well. Their response was:

They said they’re fully booked with artists and don’t have the slots available for you to come and play 

U-huh. Ok. And I sailed down the river Clyde on a banana boat this morning.

It sucks on so many levels. It sucks because I literally didn’t do anything wrong, and yet it’s now ME who has lost a regular gig.


My thoughts are this.

It’s ok to be attracted to someone, but it’s a whole other thing to punish them for not wanting to interact with you in an intimate way, because I have every right to say NO, and in a work environment, I am a professional musician of 25 years and expect to be treated as such. Penis or no penis.

But that’s just my thoughts. What are yours? I’d love to hear what you think.

Btw, I came across this guy’s Video on Youtube advising girls how to stop getting hit on by guys, it’s absolutely hilarious. It includes gems like: 

If a guy offers to buy you a drink say, “Yes! I would love that! It will give us a chance to discuss our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!”. 

Be Your Own Valentine

I don’t know about you, but I’ve learnt so much about myself over the past 24-months. I feel as though the Universe (without my consent btw) thrust me into a 2-year-long voyage of self-discovery, on a level unlike anything else I have ever experienced.

In that time, I’ve realised a great many things. But my main takeaway is this:

Bloody hell, I was SO hard on myself.

And I’m not just talking about pushing myself a bit too much. It was like having some beefy drill Sergeant living inside my head, yelling at me every time I messed up.

YOU LAZY MAGGOT! What the hell was that?? I’ll tell you what it was:


You call *that* playing music??

You wanna be a loser the rest of your life?


QUIET!! I’m speaking!!

Now git down on the ground and gimmie 50. NOW!!

The irony of all of this is that when it comes to other people, I am the polar opposite. Kindness is at the centre of my being. I am kind and compassionate to everyone I come into contact with (including arseholes), and yet when I was dealing with myself, I wasn’t kind at all. Far from it in fact.

There were numerous times my body gave me very clear warning signs that it needed a break. I ignored them all and kept pushing. It made me feel tough. I felt a sense of pride when I was utterly exhausted at the end of the day and could barely stand up. LOOK HOW HARD I HAVE WORKED! (lol). I used to tell everyone with much delight how busy my schedule was, and how I used to work every single day without a day off, ever….as if that was a good thing.

I thought days off were for sissies. I believed whole-heartedly that the more you work the better your life will be. If you want to be successful you have to put in the hours and work, work, work, work. Which is true to a certain extent. But here’s the thing; there is zero point in working yourself to death if you don’t have the time or energy to enjoy the fruits of your labor because life has simply passed you by, or the stress from overworking caused you to get sick.

John Lennon famously said, ‘Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans’.

After I had my hysterectomy in Jan 2020, I promised myself that I would listen to my body more and not push myself as much.

Recovery time for a hysterectomy is 6-8 weeks.

I was back to work on week 5.

I know. You don’t need to tell me. What a dumbass.

Thankfully for me, lockdown happened on week 7, which forced me back home, where I should have been all along.

Like so many of my musician friends in 2020, I had to sit back and watch gig after gig, tour after tour get cancelled until I found myself staring at an empty calendar. Every self-employed person’s worst nightmare.

I remember calling my Mum in a total panic.

‘What am I going to do?’ I cried. ‘I need to get back to gigging as soon as possible!’.

She listened and patiently waited for me to stop wallowing in my own self-pity, before replying with,

‘Instead of trying to get back what you had as quicky as possible, why not use this time to figure out exactly what it is you want to rush back to?’. 

*Cue mic drop*

In that moment I realised I was barreling towards one thing and one thing only:

Burn out.

Burn out is real.

I didn’t get a random tumor growing in my uterus for no reason at all. I got it because I simply refused to take my health seriously. And you know what? My body got to the point where it was like ‘OK KM. I let you take the reins. You’ve done a pretty shitty job. I told you nicely on numerous occasions that I needed a break and it’s obvious that you are completely incapable of listening, so, in the words of Rage Against the Machine, Imma gunna take the power back. Sit yo-self down. I’m taking over’.

I often get FaceBook memories pop up from a few years back, that read something along the lines of:

Played at X festival and then at midnight hopped on a plane and flew to X place. Played 3 shows and flew back to Austin. Got off the plane and played a show in the airport, afterwards I drove home and played a show that evening. The following day I ran a workshop and then played a show in the evening. Following morning finished workshop, afternoon played a show, evening played a show. 

And so on, and so on, and so on.

All of this was very normal for me. To be moving and rushing around every single moment of every day. I would love posting about how busy I was. But when I read these types of posts now, I kinda cringe, because I know I wasn’t making my needs a priority, which makes me very sad.

I’m a pretty simple sort. I don’t need very much in order to be content. I’m also very accommodating. But I have finally come to realise that every day I need KM Time, which includes:

Quiet time.

Alone time.

Time spent immersed in nature. 

These things are no longer negotiable. They are part of who I am, and they make me happy. It’s really that simple.

When I lived in Devon, having these things on a daily basis was very easy. But once I moved to the US, I stopped making them a priority.

There’s a wonderful Maya Angelou quote that feels so relevant to me right now:

So, this year for Valentine’s Day, I will be reminding myself that being kind and taking care of me is not only acceptable, but it’s essential. It is ok to stop once in a while. You’re not being selfish, you’re being kind, to YOU.

And since I have adopted this approach, my work life is considerably better. I’m happier. I’m a whole lot more productive. I have way more ME time. And quite honestly, life is too short to not be happy every single day. Trust me.

I always say that it is imperative that we be kind to everyone around us, but don’t forget to love yourself as well ❤ You matter!

Happy Valentine’s Day ❤ ❤ ❤

The Missing Pieces

This beautiful lady is my grandmother, Margaret Joan Robinson.

Brought up in north-east London, Margaret was a woman way ahead of her time. Forward-thinking, dynamic, driven and extremely business savvy. Even though she was only 5ft tall, she didn’t take any crap off of anyone.

At 22, she was a sergeant in the WRAF (Women’s Royal Air Force) and after leaving the Air Force, she and my grandad ran many successful businesses in and around Devon. My grandmother was an unstoppable force of nature and was driven to succeed in everything she did.

When I was 6 years old, my grandmother bought an old pianola (player piano). I remember the first time we went over to their place to see it. The moment my little fingers touched the keys I was in heaven.

From that day on, I wanted to visit as often as possible so I could sit in front of the piano and noodle. I’d spend hours writing my own tunes (most of which I’m sure were bloody awful) or trying to figure out songs I’d heard on the radio. My grandmother taught me how to play an old traditional piece of music which I still remember to this day.

This is one of only a handful of memories I have of my grandmother. She passed away when I was 11 and the events surrounding her death changed our family forever.

Margaret lost her life in 1992 after having unnecessary surgery from a doctor who was at the centre of the Bristol Heart Scandal (James Wisheart). Wisheart performed heart surgery on my grandmother and blamed the issues on ‘faulty equipment’. 10 years later it came to light that it was in fact his incompetence that took her life as well as causing brain damage to over 100 children. There have been multiple news stories about the incident as well as a one-off BBC dramatization.

Before my grandfather passed away in 2011, he and I started creating a family tree together. We found lots of interesting information about his side of the family, but absolutely nothing whatsoever about my grandmother. She was an intensely private person and didn’t share any information about her family, her life in London, her upbringing. Nothing. And whenever I tried searching for information myself it was always a fruitless exercise.

My grandfather’s side of the tree has a plethora of information with well over 100 people in it, a couple of whom I have met in person. My grandmother’s side is quite the opposite.

It contains her, her brother and mother, and literally no one else.

And that is exactly how it has stayed all this time, up until a month ago, when someone out of the blue contacted me, saying we were related through my grandmother.

I couldn’t quite believe it and really hoped this guy wasn’t barking up the wrong tree. I asked for more info and sure enough, we are related. Not only that, but he knows a ton of info about my grandmother’s side of the family.

And guess what?


All this time, I believed I was the first one to take up an instrument and play professionally. But it turns out my great-Uncle played piano for a theatre in London and my grandmother’s parents played on cruise ships as well as in the pub they ran in London. Everyone in the family was musical and apparently they all played by ear extremely well, something I have always been really good at.

I got to see photographs and look into the eyes of people I didn’t even know existed, as well as hear first-hand accounts of what these people were like and their love of music.

I even got to see photographs of the pub where my grandmother grew up:


Once I had processed all of this incredible information, my memories of 6-year-old me playing piano in my grandparents’ house took on a whole new meaning. I had no idea that by simply being a musician, I was connecting to people in my family line who I knew absolutely nothing about. People who were just like me.

I have always felt like a lone wolf, doing my own thing that isn’t in any way connected to anyone else in my family. Now I can truly say that I come from a long line of musicians and I’m carrying on the family tradition ❤ ❤ ❤

Chess Changed My Life. For Reals. Here’s How:

A few years back I was on tour with Rebecca Loebe and my (now) chess friend Sweet Gary Newcomb. During a long travel day, he and I started chatted about the game and after our gig that night, we managed to find a board complete with chess pieces.

The plan was to play one game before bed.

2 hours later I was having a whale of a time, and realised;

Holy moly! Chess is bloomin’ brilliant!

‘But KM, isn’t chess for like intellectual sorts who have kind of a supercilious air about them?’.

I used to think EXACTLY the same thing. I’m not allowed to play chess because I’m not a smart person and only smart people play chess.


Sweet G is a superb chess player and over the years has been very kind and is totally the reason I love chess as much as I do. Not only do I have a ton of fun playing, but it has also made my life better in so many ways.



After about a month of chess playing, I noticed the weirdest thing.

My left hand got stronger 😮

I was playing drums when I noticed this had happened. I suddenly was able to play patterns with my left hand that I had been struggling with for a while. I sat there in disbelief, repeating rudiments that had always felt uncomfortable to play, that all of a sudden were flowing very easily.


In Judee Shipman’s brilliant book Portable Chess Coach, she dedicates an entire chapter to chess psychology.

Reading this chapter had a profound effect on me. Every single point she makes also applies to being a musician.

Put your ego aside. Focus. Be present. The world is your chessboard, live entirely in the moment of each position. Don’t rush. Be thorough. Avoid personal judgements….and so many other brilliant pearls of wisdom.

I have kept this book on my bookshelf just so I can re-read this chapter whenever needed.


As many of you already know, I am a Libra, and being a Libra-person means I am not terribly good at making decisions. I’d even go as far as to say I used to really suck at it, especially when put on the spot.

‘KM! The traffic light is about to change! Do you want to go left or right?’
‘Arrrrg! I don’t know, erm….left….NO…..RIGHT! Wait, left, yes. Left. Or maybe in this particular situation right is right? I’m not sure. Is there another option other than left OR right? Right feels kind of weird to me but, left sorta does too….what about north or south? Are they options too?’
*Cue car behind honking at Libra taking way too long to make their bloody mind up. 

Playing chess has not only made me a better decision maker but forced me to be confident about the choices I am making, especially when playing Blitz games. The clock is ticking. I have 30 seconds left. I have to make a move….but which one is the best?

It’s amazing how chess brought to the fore some of my personal fears. It showed me how afraid I was a making the *wrong* choice. I also realised that I didn’t have the courage of my own convictions and more often than not, my gut reaction was that I needed to ask someone else. Someone else is bound to know the answer, I couldn’t possibly know what the right thing to do is! 😉 But when I was practicing games on my own, 9 times out of 10 having checked with a chess computer, I would always find the right moves on my own. I just didn’t believe in my decisions enough to just do them without asking a friend / chess engine.

Amazingly, this has actually translated into real-life stuff. I’ve been playing chess for about 3 years now and I am a much better decision maker and feel way more confident that I’m doing the right thing.


Winning chess games is fun. For sure. But there is soooooo much more to playing chess than winning. There’s an ocean of information out there, and being a learning junkie, I find this both exciting and inspiring.

I remember watching an interview recently with one of my all-time favs Garry Kasparov. He said the only way anyone managed to beat him was because he had made a mistake, not because someone had played better than him.

I think it’s safe for me to say at this point that I am no Garry K, and I have been outplayed by many people who are waaaaay better than me. No doubt! 😉 But having gone over hundreds of my own games, there were many times when I was playing really strong chess, but for some reason lost my focus and made a silly mistake. Analyzing my games and understanding exactly where –>I<– went wrong has been enlightening and taught me so much.

Again, this translates into real-world stuff. We don’t tend to enjoy looking at the mistakes we have made. It’s much easier to look at everything we don’t suck at.

I watched a brilliant Netflix documentary about Michael Schumacher, in which he said something that really resonated with me.

‘It is your responsibility to find out what the problems are and fix them’.

It is impossible to grow personally or professionally if we don’t have the courage to look at ourselves honestly and see where the faults lie.

Chess has taught me that the journey is far more important than the end destination. If I won games constantly, I don’t think I’d have nearly as much fun. I love going over games. Even games where my opponent has destroyed me! I enjoy checking out other people’s ideas and playing styles and figuring out how I can incorporate that into mine.


I LOVE checking out chess games from the 19thC.

No computers, no chess engines. Just a bunch of nerds gathered around a table figuring out what piece to put where and in what order.

Many experts criticize the Romantic Era of chess, saying it lacks long-term strategic planning and that players used moves now considered too weak for use in modern games. Point taken. However, I do think these guys were way more creative with their problem solving and some of the games I have gone over feature really interesting and fun tactics.

My first foray into 19thC chess was through a book called Staunton’s Chess Player’s Companion, published in 1849.


For those of you that don’t know, in ye olde times they transcribed games differently and the current notation system is a heck of a lot easier to follow.

In my spare time (for ‘fun’), I transcribe these old games and play them out on my own board. I also like to run these games through a chess engine to see what it makes of 19thC chess moves (which is usually not a lot lol).

And before you ask, yes, I am an absolute hoot at parties.

I think it’s incredible that over a hundred years ago, a bunch of dudes were sitting somewhere in a smoke-filled room playing these games, and here I am in 2022 replaying it all move by move.

So flippin’ cool.

I read somewhere that a lot of these games were saved purely by chance if someone happened to be near the board with pen and paper in hand to write down the moves. The circumstances were also incredibly different compared to modern games. Anyone could stand around the board (usually very close) and people were chatting, smoking and apparently talking smack to each other trying to throw their opponent off their game. I read about one player who would smoke while he was playing and deliberately blow smoke in the other guy’s face (total dick move).

On the subject of old books, one of my most prized possessions is an original copy of Scacchia Ludus, a Poem on the Game of Chess, written by Marcus Hieronymus Vida (translated by Rev. Samuel Pullein, Dublin, Ireland) which was published in 1750.

There are many reasons why this is special to me; it is the oldest book in my humble collection. I randomly happened upon it during an eBay search one night. It had been newly listed with what appeared to be a very reasonable Buy it Now price. I honestly had no idea about this book at all, but I thought it looked absolutely lovely. The seller told me he did house clearances and came across the book in someone’s attic.

It’s amazing that it arrived with me in one piece, as the guy sent it to me in a plastic envelope with no padding whatsoever! 😮 But I guess there’s a reason this book has survived for over 270 years.

Let’s just put that into perspective; This book was published before electricity had been invented. It was also pre-automobiles, aeroplanes….and the United States of America! It’s crazy this think this book has lived through so much and is now sitting on my bookshelf over 270 years later.

I didn’t realise until after the book arrived with me, that handwritten in the very front page is the name and address of the original owner; John Parsons Esquire, 40 Dawson Street, Dublin, Ireland.

Many times I have wondered who John Parsons is and how on earth this book ended up in someone’s attic in the USA.

Amazingly, one of my students found out a ton of wonderful information about the whole family and their house on 40 Dawson Street. John sadly passed away at the tender age of 26 from scarlet fever. His father (Sir Lawrence Parsons) commissioned Bernard Mullins in 1928 to build John‘s Hall to commemorate his son’s death.

I feel incredibly privileged to own this book and take extremely good care of it.

So yeah, chess is awesome AND rad. Give it a try ❤

Btw, I entered my first ever official chess tournament about a year ago and out of 22 people I came 7th, which felt like a HUGE win! 🙂

Game of Life – the Gay Edition

Recently, my wife and I were going through Netflix trying to find some aimless crap to watch on tele. We came across a show called Coming Out Colton. It documents former NFL player Colton Underwood coming out to friends and family as well as the general public.

It took me back to when I came out over 20 years ago. Even though my friends and family are super laid back and cool, I had a terrible time summoning up the courage to tell them. In my head I had made it into this BIG deal, when in reality it really wasn’t at all. Some of my friends even responded with ‘well yeah, we already knew that!’. What? Really?? 

I wasn’t brave enough to tell my parents to their face. Instead, I did what I do best and wrote down my feelings on a piece of paper. I then waited until my Mum was in her room, slid the note under her door and ran away into my bedroom (to hide….and cringe, and worry, and cringe some more, and cry, but mostly cringe).

As soon as she had read it, she came into my room and gave me a big hug. As expected, she was cool about it and, as always, was super sweet and kind. She then offered to tell the rest of my family, which I said yes to, and that was that.

A few days later we were all gathered around the kitchen table having just eaten dinner (‘we’ consisted of myself, my brother, my parents and my grandad). After dinner, we decided to play that classic board game, Game of Life. 

I’m sure you’re all fairly familiar with GoL and how it works; you spin a giant plastic wheel in the centre of the board and do ‘life’ stuff, such as buy a house, dabble a bit on the stock market, buy yachts and paintings, deal with your aunt’s stray cats, that kind of thing.

One of the main elements of the game which is unavoidable is marrying someone. There is a square you HAVE to stop at and marry someone, whether you want to or not.

There are blue people and pink people that fit very nicely into your plastic vehicle, and the general assumption is if you are blue (as in male) you will marry a pink (female) person and vice versa.

When this realisation dawned on me, I started to feel very uncomfortable indeed.

I didn’t know at this point if the rest of my family knew that I batted for the other team and wasn’t sure how any of them felt about it.

I guess I was about to find out. 

After 10mins of play, my brother was the first to arrive at the church, the destination for marriages.

With a big smirk on his face, he unapologetically said

“I’m going a marry a man!”

Everyone laughed. This is especially hilarious as my brother is a typical dude and straight as a bloody arrow.

Next to arrive at the church was my Mum.

“Who do you want to marry then?” my brother asked.

“A pink person of course!” my mother replied.

Then my Dad followed suit, he also married a man. Even my grandad said ‘yeah, go on then, I’ll marry a blue one!’.

I’ll never forget it. Looking at the board and seeing every car with either matching blue or pink people. When I arrived at the church, me marrying a girl seemed very fitting.

I care deeply about what everyone at that table thinks of me, and without saying a word they made me feel so loved and included. Being British, we generally don’t talk about feelings and that sort of thing. But on this occasion, words weren’t needed.

I’m so fortunate to have grown up around people who love me for who I am. A creative, intenerate musician who ended up marrying a pink person in real life.

❤ ❤ ❤

If you’re interested in reading about the origins of Game of Life, I highly recommend this article. The original game is surprisingly dark and included squares such as ‘suicide’! 



Whatever You Do, DON’T Look at ME!!

‘Hi-ya! My name’s Katie and…well, yeah…I’m a musician and I play music. Well, instruments, errr you know, with other people….sometimes on my own though. It’s like reeeeaaally fun. I guess I’m good. Hahaha.    *Cue Awkward Silence*. Yeah. That’s me’.

The above is a classic example of what happens when I am asked to introduce myself to a group of people who know nothing about me.

Introducing oneself to others seems simple enough, right? Apparently, not for me. Every, single, time I have been asked to do this, I forgot everything. Literally.

Like, my name, what I do, the English language. That kind of thing.

My intension is always to come across like a normal human being. But struggling to string words into some sort of a coherent sentence, combined with my rather agitated and sweaty state, more than likely leads people to the conclusion that I am a right weirdo.


It is fair to say that I’d rather do ANYTHING than talk to a group of people, sitting there silently with their beady eyes fixed on —-> ME <—-. I’d rather tussle with a grizzly bear, or swim the channel, ride my bicycle aaaallll the way to England (and back again), listen to Chris de Burgh’s Lady in Red on repeat all day long….ok, I think that last one was perhaps a step too far, but you get the general idea.

I have been on this Earth for *cough* *cough* years and have never figured out exactly WHY any situation that involves me being the centre of attention makes me so uncomfortable.

And btw, I’m not talking about being a little nervous. I’m talking full-on fear.

Let me clarify; I’m totally fine in social settings with a group of friends. I love being on stage performing with others and adore my role as a side musician. I also enjoy meeting new people and having really interesting conversations.

I used to perform regularly as a solo artist but now feel more comfortable playing ‘background music’ kinda gigs (I wrote a blog post about it a little while ago).

For whatever reason, the moment I am the one in the spotlight and everyone in the room is looking at me silently…it’s game over.

As mentioned in other posts, I’m a Libra. Trust me when I tell you, I think about this kind of thing, A LOT. You know those *really* annoying toddlers, tugging at their poor parent’s clothing, incessantly asking the same banal question over and over and over again (WHY? WHY? WHY? BUT…..WHY?)

That’s basically my brain. An annoyingly curious creature that won’t let anything go until there is an acceptable explanation, answer or solution.

Thankfully for my own sanity, I recently had a rather interesting conversation with a musician friend that may well shed light on why I feel the way I do.

He and I were talking about this very topic. I was as honest with him as I’m being with you now, and he confessed that he related to a lot of what I was saying.

After some time going back and forth with ideas and opinions, he said something that really resonated with me.

“I think the reason we don’t like being the centre of attention, is because growing up it was never a good thing”.

Holy crap! That’s *exactly* why I feel the way I do. 

When I was 11 years old, I moved to a new school, and from that day onwards I can’t think of a single moment where being the centre of attention was ever a good thing. Not one single time. If I was at the front of the class, it was because I was in trouble. There were multiple times I was made to stand in front of everyone by my teacher and mocked for my work. I am dyslexic and seriously struggled with both reading and writing to the point that I could barely do either when I left school at 15. My teachers weren’t the slightest bit interested in my creative talent, which in their eyes held little value in the real world. They would share their opinions of me with the rest of the class on a regular basis and expected me to amount to very little.

For the most part, school was certainly not about thriving, but surviving. I kept my head down and wanted to get through each day without getting picked on. Noone wanted to hear me play music or do anything creative for that matter. Imagine putting a fish on land and expecting them to run, and then telling them they are useless because they can’t do anything useful on land. But put them in the water and they thrive. My last day of school was one of the happiest days of my life. Finally, I was free to work towards my dream job of being an itinerant musician.

And fortunately for me, my life is pretty awesome, and I turned out ok 🙂

I’ve no idea if I’ll ever be able to stand up in front of a group of people and introduce myself without getting all sweaty and tongue-tied, but at least I have some sort of idea as to where this irrational fear may well have come from.

I don’t harbor any resentment towards those teachers. I actually feel very sorry for them. I can’t begin to imagine not having the capacity to be either kind or compassionate. These two qualities are at the core of my being, and I don’t want to be anything other than kind.

The things that happen to you as a child shape and mold you into the person you become, but the wonderful thing about being an adult is that you finally have choices, and you can be whoever the heck you want to be.

❤ ❤ ❤

What a Waste of Talent.

For those of you that don’t know, along with being a side musician / session player, I occasionally play solo acoustic shows.

The key word here is: occasionally.

There was a time when I did as much solo playing as my side gigs. I toured under my own name, released albums and EPs, did the whole Singer/Songwriter thing.

About 4 years ago I decided to say no to any solo shows, unless they met the following criteria:

  • They are corporate, wedding, or background gigs where people are aware of you playing but aren’t giving you their full and undivided attention

This is exactly the sort of show most acoustic artists would hate with a passion. A room full of noisy people, not really listening and generally treating you like background music.

Me? That’s my ideal solo gig right there. 😉

A couple of days ago I performed at one of my favourite places, Austin Airport. Because Austin is both awesome AND rad, we even have music stages inside the airport, with multiple acts playing throughout the day.

During my set break, a guy came up to me and said he really enjoyed my music and wanted to know more. I explained that I predominantly work as a side musician and that the airport is one of the few places I play my acoustic singer/songwriter stuff.

He looked at me like I was nuts.

‘I don’t understand’ he said, ‘Why don’t you play more of your own music? I would pay to hear you play. You deserve an attentive audience who can properly appreciate what you do’. I thanked him for the kind words, but told him that when I’m playing alone, I much preferred shows where I’m in the background.

He scoffed, shook his head and replied with, ‘What a complete waste of your talent’.

I had no idea how to process what he had just said. Should  I be upset? Flattered? I mean, what do you say to something like that?

In the moment I didn’t say much, and like a good little Libra, I went away and spent the following 48 hours having a good old think about it.

Here’s the thing; there have been multiple instances in my lifetime where I have done what society / other people have expected of me, despite every inch of my being silently screaming noooooooo!!!! This is especially weird, as I come from parents who have constantly told my brother and I:

  • Never follow the herd.
  • Be proud of who you are.
    and, most importantly;
  • ALWAYS be true to yourself and only do what makes YOU happy.

After many years of basically doing the complete opposite, I *finally* understood how important all of the above really is. It took me a while to fully embrace the mantra to thine own self be true, especially during my teenage years, where being different, introverted and unique were definitely NOT qualities I wanted or appreciated 😉

Here are a few examples from the past *cough* *cough* years of my life, where I have done things that just weren’t me:

Getting a boyfriendyeah no. Definitely not going to work.
Keeping a 9-5 jobheeeeeee-yall no.
Trying to be super girlyzero chance of that happening.
Being excited about going to schoolerm, seriously?
Attempting to be coolI’m definitely NOT cool, super awkward, self conscious and nerdy – yes. Cool, not so much. 
Pretending I’m not introvertedlol, ok, whatever.

I attempted to do all of the above and so much more in order to be liked / accepted / whatever. But the moment I started following my heart and doing more of the things that felt good, life became a heck of a lot easier, and, rather unsurprisingly, I was so much happier.

When I play a ‘proper’ solo gig, I spend most of my time grappling with an emotion that is so incredibly hard to control.


I’m not talking a little bit of nerves or a rush of anxiety – I’m talking full blown fear. I feel like at any moment I may die, vomit, pass out, or do a combination of all three.  Sometimes I’ve been lucky and have been able to control it, but most of the time it consumes me to the point that I’ve had full blown panic attacks during a song, with a room full of people staring at me, all the while attempting to look to the outside world like I’m having the time of my life.

It’s as fun as it sounds.

I thought if I kept playing solo shows that at some point this feeling would disappear.

But no matter how hard I tried, it never went away.

So about 4 years ago, I made a decision to only play solo shows I felt comfortable playing. For the most part, these are places where people are talking, stuff is going on, and you are very much background music.

When I play these type of shows, I feel free to do whatever I want and it doesn’t matter if I screw up or something doesn’t work out. There have been multiple times where I’ve made up a tune on the spot just because I felt like it. I can try covers that randomly pop into my head. I can loop some chords on my looper and create random instrumental pieces. I can play any songs, in any order, talk over the mic if I want to, or not. I can try that new song I was working on last night – the one that doesn’t have a second verse yet 😉

I’m not offended if people are half listening to what I’m doing, I don’t get mad when some weird siren starts going off inside the airport, or there’s an announcement over the speakers that Sarah left her shoes at security and she needs to come and collect them. I’m incredibly grateful to have somewhere to play my acoustic music and more often than not, I get so many super-sweet people come up and tell me how much they enjoyed it, which really means a lot to me.

The weird and ironic thing about all of this, is that when I’m playing as a side-musician, I LOVE the buzz of a packed room. Being afraid doesn’t even enter my mind. I’m always itching to get up there and play. I don’t mind at all that people are staring in my general direction, in fact, the moment I walk on-stage this wonderful calming energy comes over me and I know with 100% of my being that this is EXACTLY what I am meant to be doing. These are the moments I live for and they are the reason I do what I do.

And so, to go back to that guy’s statement from earlier; ‘what a total waste of your talent’, I say this;

I don’t think it’s a waste at all. I’m being true to myself and doing exactly what makes me feel good. I believe that whenever we play music, we put energy out into the world that has an immediate effect on the people around us. Whatever I feel, you’re going to feel it too. If I’m uncomfortable or fearful, that’s exactly what I’m going to project. But if I’m relaxed and happy to be playing, whether you believe in all this tree-huggin-hippy-crap or not, you’re going to sense that, without even realising it. For an awkward, introverted soul like my good self, it’s wonderful to have somewhere like the airport to play and I don’t ever take it for granted.

Business folk and weary travellers can come and hang out in a space that is energetically controlled by me, and for the 2 hours I’m playing, I try to make it as relaxed and welcoming as I possibly can. Time and again I’ve seen people wander in from various gates, grateful for the comfortable hang spot while they wait for their flight. It’s a nice feeling to know you’ve created that doing what you love.

If someone goes away from one of my airport gigs feeling inspired, calm or super happy, then I’ve done exactly what I set out to do, which to me is far from being a waste of my talent. In fact, venues like the airport are exactly where my talent is able to shine.

Who knows – maybe in 5 or 10 years time I’ll be touring solo again, doing the exact opposite of an airport gig. But for right now, I’m more than happy with what I’ve got 🙂

❤ ❤ ❤