The People's Music Awards took place a few weeks ago and we were lucky enough to catch up with the very talented Ben Maggs. Read on to find out more about the man behind the voice.
Firstly, congratulations on your win at the People's Music Awards. How do you feel?
I'm absolutely over the moon to have been voted 'best male solo artist' and also to have won the 'popular music' category. It's wonderful. The awards evening really couldn't have gone better. I've been wandering round with a skip in my step this week, though it's only been in the past few days that things have truly started sinking in.
You were voted 'Best Male Solo Artist', what do you think makes you unique from the other singer songwriters out there?
I think each of us as individuals is unique. For me, my music is an expression of me; the way I respond to a feeling, or the way something makes me feel, and I express that in an honest and open way through my songs. So in the sense that I feel my songs are a true expression of something I feel - I am unique, because I have my own way of seeing things. What's wonderful about music though is that other people will hear songs, and those lyrics or melodies will evoke something in them which is personal, and brings up responses that are personal to them. Songs are magical things. I also think my voice has a unique sound.
When did you first decide you wanted to get into music?
I started writing songs at 17 and loved it as a form of expression. I was then in a band for a couple of years, but I went away from music for about 4 years for various reasons. But a couple of years ago I picked up a guitar again and I couldn't ignore that I felt it was what I was meant to do. So I quit my job 6 months ago and now I create music every day.
What inspires your songs?
I'm inspired by a lot of things. I love interesting and evocative chord patterns, and sometimes I'll get an idea for a chord progression and it'll bring up a thought or a feeling or experience that I can't ignore, and so I'll write the song from that place. Other times, with new York for example, I'll feel a certain way about an experience, and from that a song is born. I'm aware always though that there is hope in all situations and so I hope, that a sense of hope is conveyed in the songs I write.
What was the first CD you bought?
The first cd I remember buying was 'performance and cocktails' by 'stereophonics' - I wouldn't say the style of music influenced me, but certainly Kelly jones has a great ear for melody, and I love the songs on that album.
If you could work with anyone, who would it be?
If I could work with anyone it would be Bruce Springsteen. I absolutely love his music and I respect the love and enthusiasm that he puts into his songs and performance. I've loved his music ever since I was a boy, and various albums have been with me throughout my life, and can take me back to many wonderful times.
What can we expect to hear from you in the next few months?
Having won the awards, I am really aware of my wish to record an EP that I am proud of. People often ask me if they can buy my music, and right now you can't. But I believe in taking my time to record something I am happy with and conveys the songs in the way I want them conveyed. So I'm spending a great deal of time on my EP. Once it's ready I plan to be playing a good deal of shows and spreading the word! I'm really looking forward to it. Keep updated here benmaggsmusic.co.uk and on Facebook.