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Got it all right

Guitarist Kersten Graham takes his first foray as a solo singer with his recently-released single Got It all Wrong. Interview by Ramona Depares.

You released your new single, Got It All Wrong, a few weeks ago. How has it been received?

Got It All Wrong has received a great amount of radio play on all of Malta’s leading radio stations, reaching more than 10,000 views on YouTube in less than a month. It has heavily boosted my personal Facebook page, and I have received more requests to play and sing live in future events. Feedback has exceeded my expectations, and I would like to thank every single person who supported my latest single. I have received tons of positive and warm comments from both top musicians in the scene, and also new fans, which has given me a huge motivation to continue in this direction.

We usually know you as a guitarist, as opposed to a singer. Why the change in direction?

Following my first release, Close to Home, I started doing acoustic gigs, and people took a liking to my bluesy, pop-classic rock genre, in which I feel the most comfortable playing and singing. I guess the change was inevitable, as it was finally time to step up and do what I really love. Of course, I could have never done this without the constant motivation of my close friends, and my loving partner.

What was the biggest challenge in recording vocals?

I guess the biggest challenge was that I had to control my husky, raspy voice, especially in the verses. It wasn’t easy, but it was a challenge I put all my effort in, and it worked.

And the biggest satisfaction?

I guess the biggest satisfaction was that from the time I wrote it initially, till I stepped inside the studio to record the vocals, my voice improved. I got to experi­ment with some classic rock melodies, which in all fairness, describes my personal character, attitude, and denotes where I am coming from.

Is this something you will want to repeat, or will you go back to focusing on guitar?

The guitar will always be present, and my focus on this instrument will never cease. Yet this new direction is what I want, and I will certainly keep on focusing on my own projects. I have decided to focus more on my career as Kersten Graham, the singer and guitarist, rather than as session musician/guitarist. In fact, 2018 will be the year where I will launch my EP, but more on that later on.

The biggest challenge was that I had to control my husky, raspy voice, especially in the verses

What/who was the inspiration behind the single?

The song is my personal perception on two love relationships; one relates to one of my closest friends, and the other my own personal relationship. In fact, if you take some time to listen to the lyrics, you will find that it’s about friendship, about the constant fight for real love, and about never giving up, even if you got it all wrong at a moment in time. At the time I wrote it, I was actually listening to some country music but, while writing the song, which only took me 20 minutes from start to finish, I reverted to my style, and successfully released a pop-classic rock song full of guitar riffs.

The style is very evocative of classic rock ballads – would you agree with this? Are there any bands/musicians that particularly inspire you?

Yes, I definitely agree. My main influences have always been bands and solo artists, which have a good number of classic/pop rock songs like Guns ’N’ Roses, Aerosmith, The Eagles, Bruce Springsteen and Eric Clapton, to mention a few. What I tried to do in this single was to bring a lot of different styles into one track. There is the bluesy slide guitars, the country-pop acoustic guitars, the classic rock electric guitars and, I guess this is what suits me best.

What can you tell us about the recording process?

I love being in the studio. I teamed up with Peter and Matt from Railway Studios once again, and I guess the che­mistry we have is something I am proud to carry along with me. It took us three days and one Saturday afternoon to finish the whole track, musically. We started by planning a scratch-track (demo) of where I wanted the song to go and, basically, we started recording the live instruments one by one from the day after. After the whole song was fi­nished, instrumentally, I recorded the vocals. And that was it. Personally, I believe that the recording process should always be taken pretty seriously, while still having fun and being your own true self. That way you can capture the same chemistry when singing/playing live.

What’s next for Kersten Graham?

As I mentioned before, hopefully I will release my first ever debut EP in 2018. Although the new single received amazing feedback, the most important thing is to keep your feet close to the ground, work hard, and keep on writing better and better songs. I will release my third and last single, hopefully, before summer. Then I will release my EP later on in the year. I have a couple of amazing shows coming up next year, which will see me fronting my own band, the way solo artists like Eric Clapton and Bruce Springsteen do, and I am pretty excited for all of this. I seriously cannot wait to rock ’n’ roll in 2018.

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