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Episode #276 : A.V.A Live Radio Behind The Music with Jacqueline Jax
GETTING TO KNOW VERNON FULLER
by Jacqueline Jax host of A.V.A Live Radio
My dad was from New Orleans so…
I guess that’s where my love of jazz comes from! I used to go out dancing and clubbing to music by James Brown, Funkadelic, Parliament and Rufus amongst many others. The songs on my “Music of my Youth” CD mirror a lot of the music that I love and loved before I ‘branched out’ into a love of Jazz.
My wife has been my greatest encourager, champion and critic. Recently, quite a few independent broadcasters have been very supportive too.
I started out playing guitar and singing vocals with reggae and funk bands in London, playing upstairs at Ronnie Scott’s jazz club. I have also played at Birmingham Jazz Festival with the Bean Machine. Since moving to the Northwest in the UK, I have played regularly in several bands; Afro Blue, Twin Frets, So What Now, Funkus Monkus, T-razz and as a solo artist, most notably was a featured artist for Jazz FM. I also played support for Courtney Pine CBE, Geno Washington, Acoustic Alchemy, Snake Davis and The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. My playing is influenced by the playing of Wes Montgomery and George Benson and the vocals of Al Jarreau, Bill Withers and Stevie Wonder. I love to deliver a heady cocktail of smooth jazz with a hard edge and has released several albums to date, mostly cover versions of songs. I ams a regular performer at Southport Jazz Festival, Nantwich Jazz & Blues Festival and Marlborough Jazz Festival, and have been featured and/or appeared on Jazz FM, wa12 radio, Thisisthecat radio, Itmattersradio, BBC Radio Merseyside and Siren FM.
See That Girl
The song is about when I was in my teens and I became infatuated with a girl. I recorded the song in 2012 as part of a full album of songs that I wrote when I was a young man but had never recorded. The album is called ‘What will You Do?’ : Buy the song: https://play.spotify.com/album/1klpKamMJiff23akzjuRys?play=true&utm_source=open.spotify.com&utm_medium=open
I would define my music as being…
Funka Latino Soul Jazz Reggae Blues! Fun, funky, soulful and jazzy. One Guitar with One Voice = Groove Merchant
Music is one of the really important aspects of my life…
It’s difficult for me to imagine a silent world. It’s an expressive way of communicating, telling a story and having an impact on emotions. The best thing in music is… connecting with the audience, making them laugh, smile, cry or dance. When people get excited over my music, it is… Rewarding, thrilling… knowing that my song(s) have moved someone in some small way is humbling.
Many of my song themes are about love! I believe that true love of all kinds, like loving your partner, your kids and grand kids if you have them, brothers and sister etc, is, a much more powerful emotion and catalyst for positive action and a better (more enjoyable rewarding) life than more negative emotions like hate or bitterness. So, I am constantly drawn to love as a subject. When I consider some of the great people of the world who have helped create the greatest change, it has been those that responded in a peaceful (dare I say loving, even though they were fighting injustice) way. Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King Junior to name just two.
I live in a small industrial town in the north of the UK called St Helens…
I am originally from London. It’s a great town. The music scene is good for rock and blues music but not so good for soul and jazz. I love to visit the Scottish Highlands (in Scotland) as they are absolutely stunningly beautiful!!
There are more and more people working to get a piece of a much smaller pie. The ongoing debate about streaming and whether artists are receiving appropriate remuneration, so it is huge challenge for musicians. But, yet, there are so many more opportunities for creative people, not just musicians to get their art ‘out there’ that it is exciting!! We are no longer reliant on a few ‘key’ record executives who ‘decide’ futures. I continue to grow a group of music lovers who include my music in what they love. That is humbling and rewarding!!
can be such a great way of lots of people connecting, supporting each other, developing strong relationships and also for ‘growing your brand’ whatever that is. So, I am mainly positive about social media, however, the accessibility that it offers, also means that a brand has to be unique to rise above so much material that is now available.
Singles vs an album…
I’m not sure if there is a great deal of difference these days compared to in the past. However, I have just self-released a double-sided (in the digital world) E.P. called ‘Let’s Run To A Place’/Thank U 4 The Funk’ that I am promoting. The first song is a retro style smooth love song that I wrote earlier this year. The other ‘side’ of the single is a funky good time blues that I also wrote this year!
I would love to have 5 minutes alone with…
with Stevie Wonder!!! He is a musical genius who has also written social commentary songs and campaigned, successfully for change!! I would ask him what are the three most important things that he thinks we all should be aware of and/or do.
Do you find that there is too much emphasis on being current and trendy…
Yes, I think that the emphasis is on being young and current if you are a ‘new’ or ’emerging’ artist. I try to be myself which includes having fun and trying to encourage others to have fun too! Whilst I can be serious, I like to help or make people smile.
I am most afraid of…
For me, it says in the Bible, that ‘Perfect Love Casts out fear’, so I try to live my life in an ongoing relationship with Jesus, and therefore hand any fears over to Him.
My personal definition of success is..
1) Having at least one of my songs played regularly on various radio stations and
2) Performing my songs at music festivals nationally and internationally. I am proud that my song ‘Love isn’t love’ was played on BBC Radio Merseyside this year and the DJ was blown away by it!!
My over all goal for my life & career is…
Good health for me, my family and friends. Great contacts and opportunities to help people feel better about their lives.
3 Ways that I challenge myself and how each one moves me forward towards my goal.
1) Kill the giant of procrastination. So, do it today, don’t wait for tomorrow!
2) Don’t compare myself unfavourably with others! We all have something to bring.
3) Keep trying to make people smile, and so, help to make their lives a bit better, even if it is only for a moment.
Website: www.vernonfuller.co.uk & www.vernonfuller.com