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The Masterlink Podcast

Author: James Welch, Stefan Redtenbacher

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Getting to know creatives in the music industry. Interviews and discussions with musicians, artists, music industry professionals and everyone in between. Brought to you by the Masterlink Sessions.
19 Episodes
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James and Stef talk to Jana Varga - Slovak-born London-based singer songwriter. She talks about her journey from her homeland to the UK, bringing emotion and depth to her songwriting and lots more.Her well crafted songs are at home in the broad Americana genre but their roots run much deeper. Jana’s natural musicianship is founded in her classical music training, folk influences such as Janis Ian and James Taylor, jazz and fusion.Having to ‘settle’ down in several countries throughout her life, her lyrics often reflect struggles and challenges when starting from zero in a new environment, creating new bonds and finding a community to belong to. Jana’s musical journey started in her native Slovakia where she studied classical piano and flute. She went on to study flute in France and continued to pursue the career of a classical musician auditioning for orchestras. She was a member of progressive rock outfit ‘Persona Grata’ that received a lot of praise from Mike Portnoy (Dream Theatre) who invited the band to play at the ''Progressive Nation At Sea " in Miami, USA. Following her childhood dream of becoming a singer, she took a leap of faith and moved to London in 2014, not knowing anyone there. In 2019 she released a debut EP 'Lanterns' and her ability to fuse genres like folk, Americana and country was praised by UK blogs and magazines like Maverick, Prog Mag, Folk and Honey and more. 
James and Stef talk to Greta Valenti & Robin Davey | musicians, audio producers, film producers and all around creative entrepreneurial energy fields with their own bands: Well Hung Heart and Beaux Gris Gris, based in Orange County, California.Greta Valenti is an American business woman and artist. She is best known as the lead singer/songwriter of American Rock band Well Hung Heart & swamp pop/blues band Beaux Gris Gris & The Apocalypse, producer of television show Live From Daryl's House, Multi-ward-winning documentary director and founder and CEO of Grow Vision creative studios. She is also a consultant in the world of cannabis!Robin Davey is an English musician (youngest inductee into the birtish blues hall of fame), record producer, multi-award winning documentary filmmaker. In 2006 Davey directed the documentary The he Canary Effect and was awarded the Stanley Kuurbick Award for Innovative Filmmaking by Michael Moore. Davey became a part of GROWvision Studios in 2008, a creative development and production company with partner, Greta Valenti. In 2012, Robin began Directing the TV Series, "Live From Daryl's House" Hosted by Daryl Hall of Hall & Oates.
James and Stef talk to Greta Valenti & Robin Davey | musicians, audio producers, film producers and all around creative entrepreneurial energy fields with their own bands: Well Hung Heart and Beaux Gris Gris, based in Orange County, California.Greta Valenti is an American business woman and artist. She is best known as the lead singer/songwriter of American Rock band Well Hung Heart & swamp pop/blues band Beaux Gris Gris & The Apocalypse, producer of television show Live From Daryl's House, Multi-ward-winning documentary director and founder and CEO of Grow Vision creative studios. She is also a consultant in the world of cannabis!Robin Davey is an English musician (youngest inductee into the birtish blues hall of fame), record producer, multi-award winning documentary filmmaker. In 2006 Davey directed the documentary The he Canary Effect and was awarded the Stanley Kuurbick Award for Innovative Filmmaking by Michael Moore. Davey became a part of GROWvision Studios in 2008, a creative development and production company with partner, Greta Valenti. In 2012, Robin began Directing the TV Series, "Live From Daryl's House" Hosted by Daryl Hall of Hall & Oates.This is first of two podcasts, tune in next week for the second part!
Stef and James talk to esteemed rock and roll photographer Rob Blackham. Rob has photographed some serious names - Eric Clapton, George Ezra, Van Morrison, Slash, Michael Kiwanuka, Sir Tom Jones, Georgie Fame, Robin Trower the list goes on.Rob also turns out to be ace producer and guitarist, who knew? He's funny, frank and full of stories.*Apologies for a small amount of audio echo on the podcast.
Stef and James talk to Vin Goodwin, purveryor of excellent nights out in the form of Vin's Night In  and Vin's Veg Out.We had a lot of fun talking to Vin about his many working 'hats', musician, composer, theatre writer and creator of communities. We also heard about Vin's other job as an access and inclusion officer for buildings which is super fascinating.
Stef and James talk to Leo Appleyard - Jazz Guitarist, Electronic Producer and Educator. Leo talks about his journey through music, going from jazz guitarist to electro producer and how to collaborate with people.Over the past decade Leo has played/recorded with various artists - both in and out of the jazz idiom - including; Derek Nash, Jim Mullen, Duncan Eagles, Neil Yates, Max Luthert, Louie Palmer, Sam Leak, Paul Jordanous, Ted Carrasco, Simon Allen, Cat Delphi (BBC Radio 2 and o2 Islington) Gold of My own (Ronnie Scotts, The Barbican, North Face Festival, Larma Tree Fest), Mr Little’s Noisy Band, Will Gibson Ensemble, Redtenbacher's Funkestra.  Aside from an active sideman/peformance career, Leo produces electronic/downtempo music under the moniker "Urchin" from his secluded island studio in South West London. The latest release "Take Time" (01.03.19) features Grace Walker (vocals) alongside long term collaborators Paul Jordanous (Trumpet), Chris Nickolls (Drums) and Holley Gray (Bass).  "...checks everything on the hypothetical, “what makes a perfect song” check list." Rural Sounds 
James and Stef talk to Scott McKeon - guitarist, maker of fine fuzz pedals and ultimate blues man. Scott talks us through his journey from picking up a guitar at aged 4 - to having the Fender Master Builder replicate his beloved Stratocaster.This is only 30mins of an hour long chat we had with Scott, stay tuned to hear more from our conversation.Scott’s love of the blues set him on a path to discover Texas musicians such as Freddie King, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Doyle Bramhall Sr and Jr, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds. This led Scott to listen to artists including Jimi Hendrix, Albert King, Eric Clapton and BB King, all of which were influences on his playing in these formative years.
James and Stef talk to modern-blues singer/songwriter Ben Hemming. In something of a backward nod to the ways of a bygone era, its fair to say that Ben Hemming didn’t so much find the blues… as the blues found him.  It was during a particularly troublesome period in his life, stuck in a dead end job, and having watched his girlfriend walk out of his life, that he decided the only option was to seek change. Big change. Leaving all of his emotional baggage behind, he embarked upon a musical pilgrimage around America that eventually would come to define not just his sound, but also his own identity. Picking up an old guitar in a pawn shop along the way, he played his way across the southern states in the tradition of the delta Bluesmen before him. It was Hemming’s way of paying his dues, and of understanding a cultural heritage. Yet in moments of brutal self-reflection, he himself knew that more than anything, this was about escape.
In this episode of the Masterlink Podcast James and Stef talk to Jade Like The Stone, artist, singer and songwriter. Jade talks about how she grew up in a Welsh village with a notable career in Opera seeming to beckon until the tragic death of her drowned brother, led to a re-evaluation of her life plans and aspirations, spawning a renewed need to follow her own wants and wills, rather than ceed to the expectations of others."You have a superstar voice. Your voice sounds like a logo - like Jennifer Hudson’s voice is a logo, like Beyonce’s voice is a logo, Kate Bush’s voice is a logo. You have that uniqueness to your voice !" - Will.i.am
Stefan and James talk to Hollie Rogers, artist and singer-songwriter. Hollie speaks about her journey from teaching to having a full time career in music and all the pitfalls and fun that come with it. Hollie is funny, candid and also wrote a song about porridge that got her a free holiday. Listen in to find out how she did it.Hollie Rogers is a London based singer, songwriter and guitarist with an incredibly powerful voice. Her live performances consistently receive outstanding reviews, with regular reference to the level of candour in her lyrics. With the backing of BBC Introducing and two stunning studio albums under her belt, Hollie has supported acts like Suzanne Vega, Midge Ure, Paolo Nutini and Ralph McTell. Often playing with a full backing band or as a duo with double bass, she is no stranger to festival stages at Glastonbury, Black Deer, Cornbury Festival and more. Hollie is also regular performer at events curated by Whispering Bob Harris.
James and Stef talk to singer-songwriter Georgia Van Etten. She talks about her move to London, establishing herself as an artist and missing her family. She is open candid and funny and talks about her love of songwriting.Recently signed to Canadian record label Birthday Cake, founded by The Bros. Landreth, she continues to solidify her position on the international stage. Georgia has just released her debut album 'Deep Black Water' to much critical acclaim- with a feature in NME, music video on MTV, heavy rotation on SiriusXM North Americana (US) and a feature session on BBC Radio 4's Loose Ends. Her debut EP ‘Live at the Pool Studio’ had extensive BBC Radio 2 play with Jamie Cullum remarking “this really blew me away when I first heard it” and Blues & Soul Magazine UK declaring “Put simply, this is a damn fine EP”.
Stef and James talk to Karl Vanden Bossche, legendary percussionist and super cool dude. Karl talks us through is esteemed career - think Mark Ronson, Gorillaz, Sade, Stevie Winwood,  Gabrielle, the list goes on.Karl tells us how he figured out how best to work with people, being creative and what it's like being a percussionist in the modern music industry.
James and Stef speak to smoky-voiced, hard-working, far-touring, award winning chanteuse Elles Bailey. Elles talks about how she has become a successful blues/americana artist, touring extensively and becoming a first time mum.Elles has toured throughout the UK and Europe in 2019 and early 2020 as well as being special guest support for Grammy Award winner Mike Farris, The Kris Barras Band and King King. She also shared the stage with Beth Hart at Ramblin’ Man, The Temperance Movement at Swing Wespelaar and appeared at Nashville’s Americana Fest as part of the ‘House of Songs’ collabora]on. **Apologies for James' recording quality at the start of this episode.**
Stefan and James talk to Laura Evans, rising Welsh star and country-rock singer. Laura tells us about her life as an actor and the transition from that world into music. She describes her process of writing music and her influences (Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Bonnie Rait, Faith Hill and more),  how she reaches fans and how she met Drake.
James and Stef speak to the larger than life character that is Tony Rémy. Tony details his life as a session guitarist, the ups and downs of the music industry and gives us a run down of some of the incredible musicians he has worked with (Annie Lennox, Jack Bruce, Steve Lukather, Glenn Hughes, Simply Red, Craig David, M-People, Gary Barlow, Sarah-Jane Morris, Herbie Hancock, Pee Wee Ellis, Incognito, Jazz Crusaders, Courtney Pine, Freddie Hubbard to name but a few). He also speaks candidly about his family and how he unwinds. Tony is the cat!
Stefan and James talk to Ben Edwards from The Rainbreakers. Ben speaks candidly about his struggles with mental health and what it's like to front rock band The Rainbreakers.Although still a young band, The Rainbreakers possess a maturity and wisdom hewn from battle hardened touring over recent years. Playing to capacity crowds at iconic venues such as The 100 Club, The Borderline, The Sage, and Rock City. They've also enthusiastically supported notables like The Temperance Movement, The Kris Barras Band, Alabama 3, Devon Allman, Samantha Fish and Wille and the Bandits.  ​Further performances at festivals like the Great British Rock and Blues Festival, Wilderness Festival, Le Blues Autour du Zinc, and Ramblin' Man Fair have seen the band receive rave reviews and many an accolade, including nominations for the UK Blues Challenge and ‘Best Emerging Artist’ in The British Blues Awards, affirming Rainbreakers’ standing as a breakthrough band to watch.
Stefan and James talk to Sophie Ackroyd. Sophie is a London-based songwriter-producer specialising in pop music. She has recently completed the 2019/2020 studio residency at Spotify’s Secret Genius Studio, where she spent 6 months working at Metropolis Studios.Sophie tells us about her journey to becoming and a music producer.
James and Stefan talk to rising star Connor Selby, blues artist and recipient of “Young Artist of the Year” in the 2020 UK Blues Awards. Standing in the footsteps of Eric Clapton and Peter Green Connor talks about his love for blues music, performing alongside The Who at Wembley Stadium and shares his methods of honing his craft.
James and Stef talk to Mark Ede - successful manager of international touring artist Jo Harman, partner in consultancy firm BiGiAM, proud champion of the ‘über-indie’ artist and lover of cricket (we think). 
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