Play to win

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

With the launch of Gigs, London's biggest ever street music competition, we hear from last year's winner Robbie Boyd...

As we launch Gigs, London's biggest ever street music competition, we hear from last year's winner Robbie Boyd.

Today, I'm playing on the platform at St Pancras to launch Gigs: big busk, and later I'm taking the Eurostar with two of my band-mates to busk in Paris, along with last year's runners up Ze Trio.

I decided to be a professional musician about three years ago after doing a songwriting diploma. I took to writing songs pretty quickly and started taking it seriously from the outset. I played my own songs in public whenever and wherever I could, on the streets and at open mic venues across London, from Shoreditch to Ealing, Angel to Balham.

I formed the Robbie Boyd Band in July 2010 and things started to happen quickly. We got a gig at the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, had some tracks played on BBC Radio 2, supported The Kooks on the Main Stage of Harvest at Jimmy's, and I won the Big Issue Big Busk, which enabled me to play at Get Loaded in the Park. We won Gigs 2011 at the Southbank Centre in front of loads of people.

I believe you make your own luck, the harder you work, the luckier you get. If you're thinking about entering this year's Gigs, I would say don't think, just do. You've got nothing to lose and you never know what can come from it.

I differ slightly from many other buskers in that I usually play my own songs, which I believe has helped me stand out. I may be a singer-songwriter, but playing the occasional cover is always good to get people's attention.

I'm really excited our first single 'I Won't Let You Go' is coming out in April. Here’s the music video. Also my song 'Oh Alaska' has made the final of the International Songwriting Competition in Nashville, and the judging panel consists of such luminaries as Tom Waits and Jeff Beck!

With loads of gigs and festivals lined up this summer, I'm just keen to play as much as I can to as many new people as possible. I can't wait for all that's to come.