Recently I’ve been sending my music out to a number of UK radio stations in search of air play, In particular for my band Vinnie & The Stars single “I’m not from America… I’m from Hull” One reaction from a radio station producer was…
“Honesty being the best policy - we don’t like it very much, I’m afraid. Also, the Northern thing polarises people I think.”
I find this comment quite disturbing. Then it dawned on me that a mass of my favorite bands and songwriters from all over the world have wrote songs about our capital city London, which have been filling radio stations airwaves for years. Immediately I think of “London Calling” by The Clash, Then I think of a favorite songwriter of mine Jamie T who puts endless amounts of London references from street names to tube stations in his songs. Then a few more artists who have sung about London spring to mind, and they just keep on coming… The Streets, The Kinks, Billy Bragg, Ed Sheeran, Warren Zevon, Ian Dury, Pet Shop Boys, T-Rex, Elvis Costello, The Jam, Madness, Lilly Allen, Adele, and the list could go on and on.
So why is it that we can reel song after song off about the capital city that can be deemed suitable for radio and not bring attention to a north south divide in music and people. But a radio show producer can claim that northern content in a song can polarize people.
I think of one of my favorite albums of all time ever “London 0 Hull 4” by The Housemartins they must have had reason to come out with such a title to knock the capital city and make a stand for northern music. The Housemartins claimed to be the 4th best band from Hull and the title is actually a reference to their claim there are 0 good bands from London and 4 from Hull. Did this album create the bitterness towards northern music and divide the north from the south, It was released in the middle of Thatchers reign where a great divide was also taking place in industry.
Then I think of The Beatles, They predated The Housemartins and came from the north aswel. Did their songs ever polarize people? What about “Only A Northern Song” by The Beatles? The more I think about it, I come to the conclusion that, although there are a lot more songs about London, then there are about the whole north of England, broadcast on radio, this comment about my song is simply one comment off one human being. And it just proves that even in the music industry today their still must be some kind of north south divide remaining.
But at the end of the day “I’M NOT FROM LONDON… I’M FROM HULL” so I’ll also take influence from my southern musical influences choice to sing about where they are from in their southern accents, and make it my choice to sing about where I’m from in my northern accent.
Listen to Vinnie & The Stars single “I’m not from America… I’m from Hull” and watch the music video on the website www.vinnieandthestars.com