A Sunny Afternoon with Ray Davies in Brighton

8 May, 2015

Ray Davies is without doubt one of the best-loved British songwriters of all time, so BIMM Brighton was very honoured to host a Masterclass with the musical legend. The Masterclass took place exactly 51 years to the day that his hugely influential band The Kinks played The Hippodrome in Brighton Lanes, on the brink of world fame and about to release their era-defining single, ‘You Really Got Me’.

BIMM Brighton’s Head of Songwriting, Jake Shillingford, hosted the extraordinary Masterclass, where Ray discussed his unique song writing approach and his use of third-person perspective to create characters for his carefully sketched ‘three-minute novels’.

The award-winning songwriter – whose numerous classics include ‘Waterloo Sunset’, ‘Sunny Afternoon’, ‘Days’, ‘Lola’ and ‘All Day and All of the Night’ – touched on a wealth of topics, such as the recording methods from his earliest days in music, comparing them with contemporary methods of mixing and producing. He discussed The Kinks’ musical ‘Sunny Afternoon’, currently on at the West End and winner of 4 Olivier Awards (including Best Musical and Outstanding Achievement in Music). Ray also reminisced about the summer of 1966 when The Kinks were at No. 1, sharing the charts with The Beatles and Frank Sinatra as England took home the World Cup.

BA3 Songwriting student Aaron Biggins, said:

“It was a complete honour to get the chance to listen to a legend talk about the art of songwriting, and to get an insight into how someone of Ray’s stature approaches the creative process. His words of advice will be something I’ll keep with me and apply to my own work. It was a privilege on a personal level that I got the chance to converse with him. He took a genuine interest in my question whilst asking me about my approach on the matter. It was fantastic.”

BA1 Guitar student, Bruce Mendes, described Ray’s Masterclass as

“a fantastic personal insight into one of the finest songwriters around. He came across as genuine and honest about his fantastic career and took interest and time over questions asked by students.”

Gavin Dodd, BA1 Music Production, found the technical aspect of Ray’s talk especially insightful:

“I was inspired by how Ray explained the movement of his music from demos to masters. As a production student all my work starts as a blank canvas, so hearing about his writing techniques will be incredibly helpful towards my song-writing.”

Host Jake Shillingford, who is also an accomplished songwriter and a BIMM tutor said:

“For half a century Ray has given us an insight into other people’s lives through a simple understanding of the human condition. It was a privilege to listen to him give us a glimpse into his own.”

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