Open Mic Night Comes To The Courtyard

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By Jamie Oliver

All over Manchester there are open mic nights happening all the time. Packed with fresh talent, these events are THE place to find up-and-coming artists performing everything from comedy to spoken word poetry and music.

I caught up with some of the musicians and songwriters that recently performed at the new open mic event at The Courtyard Pub.

Ben Henderson studies songwriting at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute (BIMM) in Manchester and is also a guitarist in the band, Corella.corella

Who is your biggest musical influence?

It differs depending on what I’m listening to. If I’m listening to bands then it would be the likes of Maccabees, Foals, Little Comets and Catfish and the Bottlemen. I listen to a lot of other stuff, but I would say these influence my work the most.

Do you write or hope to write your own material?

I write my own music, usually with a vision in mind of those artists. I imagine their style and usually try to write in that direction. Playing with Corella is easy to write with as we all know how we want it to sound and have the same image.

What keeps you inspired when writing?

What keeps me inspired to keep playing is the satisfaction of the music for ourselves and the people listening. It’s always fun to produce the noise that you can share with people and they enjoy.

Check out Corella’s Facebook page or you can listen to their new song ‘People’ on Soundcloud

Joel Gardner is a musician based in Manchester:joel gardner

What songs did you play on the night?

I played a cover of ‘Call Me the Breeze’ by Eric Clapton and Friends, and an original called ‘Made Me Believe’.

Who would you say influences your work?

I’m influenced by people like Andy Mckee, John Mayer and Frank Turner.

Your Facebook page features your YouTube videos of you playing guitar, what would you say you like about playing?

I’ve been playing guitar for years but definitely my style is kind of built around finger style guitar music with some blues influences thrown in there!

Check out Joel’s music on his Facebook page

Tayo Weekes studies Professional Musicianship and Vocals also at BIMM, Manchester.tayo weeks

Which songs did you play on the night?

I played ‘Brother’ by Matt Corby, and my own original song called ‘We Matter’.

What would be the perfect album to relax to?

My perfect album to play to relax would have to be Keke Wyatts self-titled EP called Keke, her music really makes me think and her voice is impeccable, it really puts me in a creative state of mind for my own progression as a singer.

Which artists would you say your musical taste embody?

I’d probably say Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley and Whitney Houston are my biggest musical inspiration when it comes to my music, growing up listening to them truly made me want to start a career in music.

Do you have any upcoming projects or gigs?

At the moment I’ve pulled back from doing gigs to work on my upcoming EP. I will be releasing my first single ‘On the Line’ in a couple of weeks.

For more information about Tayo’s music, see his Facebook page

The Courtyard is planning another Open Mic event soon. For more information, see the venue’s website.

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aAh! Magazine is Manchester Metropolitan University's arts and culture magazine.

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