Following a successful live event in 2023 that Brough in over £2000 for men’s health charities, The Conversation; I Am Me returns for 2024. We caught up with AJ, co-organiser, to talk about the project.
This is the second year of the event, what inspired you and Mark ( co organiser) to come up with the idea and to come back to it for a second year?
It stared from a tune I wrote a few years back. I came across a recording of it during lockdown and asked a couple of mates to sing it for me.Fast forward a year and we released as a single with an 8 piece band and put on one hellava gig in Elgin Town Hall.
Once the emotions had settled we decided to go again. Feedback from the first gig was so positive and to be able to raise money for such a good cause makes it all worth it.
How easy was it to build up a line-up for the event and what was it about the acts that you selected to play that made them right for the event?
Luckily for me we are blessed with amazingly talented musicians in this area. Last years line up consisted of bands of the 8 musicians that formed the conversation play in but we thought for this year a change would be good. Cask are an up and coming local band full of energy and definitely deserved a place in the bill with the quality of shows they put on last year.
Bad Actress are a huge coup for us, them agreeing to play shows how popular the gig is, I play in The Fragz so that was easy to sort that one out! Mark plays in Macta, Moray’s premier function band so we managed to arrange the dates around their busy schedule to finish the night off.
We ventured further afield for Ant Thomaz and on hearing you will understand why! After playing shows in Glasgow and Inverness we were delighted when he agreed to come and join the bill. Ant is incredible and definitely one to watch out for in 2024.
How do you reflect on the single “I am me” that then led to the event and the subsequent changes that you have helped with?
The reaction to the song was amazing. When such a strong message is delivered by everyday people I think that helps.If the song helps just one person its done what was intended and the fact the money raised goes towards helping Mikeysline with the amazing work they carry out is even better.
Whilst the single communicates a clear message, what do you think is key in someone struggling with mental health issues?
Its important to know that speaking about your feelings shows strength rather than weakness.Life gets to us all at times and no matter how low you are, your friends and family are there to help you.Even if you cant turn to them, you have amazing organisations like Mikeysline to turn to to help. Its ok not to be ok.
What role does music have in creating a positive impact on mental health?
Personally music keeps me level and functioning. Music has the ability to make you laugh, cry and take you to another place all within minutes.I like meaningful lyrics and I think that’s why our track helps folk. The song is just a simple message to say, we can come through tough times.
What are your feel good tracks that can help pull you up when things are difficult?
I’m a massive Greenday fan and although Basket case is often overplayed the first lines are often over looked.“Do you have the time to listen to me whine about nothing and everything at once”. I was 12 when I first heard that and it still means a lot.
That’s what we need to do. Listen. Generally if its punky and fast that’s my go to, nothing better than bouncing about your house or singing at the top of your voice in the car.