After a lifetime of becoming well-known for his virtuoso guitar skills, Kev Minney turned to singing and songwriting at the age of 30. Before this, he had lacked the confidence to sing due to a stutter. Moving from his hometown of Northampton to Brighton gave him the inspiration to take his new musical path. Turtle Tempo chats with Kev about his latest album Modern Stories, performance anxiety and much more!
Why did you choose to become a musician?
I started playing the guitar when I was 10. As soon as I learnt a few chords and a few songs, I was hooked. I started singing and writing songs at 30 and then I was even more hooked!
I read that you started singing at age 30 because of a stutter. How did you overcome this “issue” for lack of a better word?
I haven’t fully overcome having my stutter, just accepted that it’s a part of me. Singing and stutter are two different challenges. It was that the stutter knocked my confidence to try and learn to sing. Once I noticed that I could sing one note in tune it was just about learning all the other notes, and that was just a matter of time and a shedload of practice.
Do you experience performance anxiety and what advice would you give to artists who lack confidence in their musical skills?
Preparation will help increase your confidence because really knowing your songs before playing live cuts out a lot of uncertainty. Everyone feels anxiety before playing live; it just takes many shows for it to slowly fade away. Be brave, get on stage, but know what you’re doing before you do. Start playing at open mic nights during the early years or even play for some trusted friends.
The pop music industry is filled with artists in the teens and early 20s. Do you feel age plays a large role in career progression?
Not really, there are different scenes for different types of music and different approaches to music. I really believe if you work hard and love what you do you can improve and go as far as you want to at any age.
How would you describe your latest EP Modern Stories?
It’s ten songs which I wrote over the last two years. My aim for this record was to write honest folk-acoustic songs with a modern twist. ‘Good Friends’ was written when I was hungover after having a bit of a party with some mates. The song is about expressing gratitude. ‘All That I Need’ was written about needing some time alone to have a think, and ‘God Is An Algorithm’ was a song inspired by a book on social conditioning and the future of technology. I just wanted to write songs that inspired me at the time.
What is your favourite track from the EP?
Probably ‘Borrow More’ as its really fun playing that one live and it’s a very edgy song.
What about your least favourite track?
‘Feeling Fine’. I have never played it live and there’s probably a reason for that. It’s a good song, but I just can’t connect to it anymore.
If you could go back and change any part of the EP, what would you do?
It’s easy to look back and want to change things and there’s stuff I would change. Though I’m happy with it and even more so I love moving on. I’m very excited about my third album.
What is your greatest musical accomplishment to date?
Learning to sing. *laughs*