Tony Bramwell

Tony Bramwell has come to Moville for every BeatlesFest since 2010. He came over for a DylanFest one time as well.

He also came over as a judge for our two Songwriter Contests as well.

One of the times he was over we got some of the best local acts to perform for him in the Sean Ti. Tony gave a speech telling them how to progress their careers as singers and musicians.

Tony’s History

As well as being the Beatles road manager, Tony was also Joint Head of Apple Records, the Beatles label. He went on to become head of Polydor Records with Brian Eno and Roxy Music, The Jam, Slade and the Bee Gees in his stable amongst others. He discovered James Taylor and Eva Cassidy and put on Jimi Hendrix’s first ever major gig.

He was responsible for the music for Grease and Saturday Night Fever (the Bee Gees) and 5 Bond films, including Live and Let Die which his school chum Paul McCartney did the song for.

So, he knows what he is talking about as regards the music business.

The Henry Girls

At a previous Songwriter Contest Tony had been a judge alongside Karen McLaughlin and the Henry Girls who got up and sang with her sisters in Rosatos for him. Tony liked them so much that he took them on a tour of England and got them radio play there.

So, when he got up to speak the eyes of the young music acts were on him. They wanted to know how to progress their careers and how to open doors.

Good Advice

The first thing he told them was “Just continue doing what you are doing. Keep practising, keep playing, keep getting better and your time will come.

“Whatever you do, don’t enter one of those TV talent contests. I feel sorry for those that enter them. They are used. The show’s owners suck them in and spit them out when they are no further use to them.

“Just be like the Henry Girls and keep getting better and better at your trade and you will surely get there”.

Lil’ Chris Hardman

That was wise advice.

Today we hear of the death by suicide of Lil’ Chris (Chris Hardman) at the age of just 24.

He was in a talent show called Rock School which went to a school and took te best talents in the school and made them into a band.

Lil’ Chris was one of those who made it.

Success Came Early

Life seemed great.

He had a Number 3 hit with his song What’s it All About circa 2006.

He was only 15.

The world seemed his oyster.

He released a couple of albums. He went on world tours.

Career Over at 17

Then at 17 the machine spat him out. The novelty had worn off.

His career was over.

He had left school early to pursue his music career so there was no college education to fall back on.

He fell into depression.

Those that used him, and lauded him, no longer wanted to know.

Yesterday he made his final act by taking his own life. He saw no future at the age of 24.

Prophetic Words

 Tony Bramwell’s words seem prophetic now.
Those that took him out of school so young should have taken more responsibility for him.
What we see on those talents shows is only the bright lights.
For every one that goes onto fame and fortune there are countless others whose dreams have been crushed at an early age.
We don’t follow their lives when they have been cut from the show.
Even many winners of the shows have only 15 minutes of fame before they plunge back into the wilderness with the peak of their lives having happened at a very early age.
As John Lennon once said at the age of 29 “What do you do with your life after you have been a Beatle?”
He found something to do – but Lil’ Chris did not.
Soul Searching
It makes us all look at ourselves. After all, these shows only exist because we watch them in great numbers.
Indeed, it goes further for me as I recommended some acts for the recent Busker Abu show on TG4 every Sunday at 8:30pm which is a contest to find Ireland’s best busker.
Spring Tides, Debbie, Geraldine and Aaron, Jack Craig from Derry, Siobhan Barber from Buncrana and Michael Thomas from Portstewart, who plays the Saturday night of the BeatlesFest in Rosatos every year, were all accepted after I recommended them.
Am I in the circle too?
Busker Abu
Probably not as I don’t think that the winner of TG4’s Busker Abu is going to spring to international fame (although you never know). The prize is €1,500 and there is no record contract.
Also, Debbie & Geraldine are involved in 3rd level education and the Spring Tides guys are all quite level-headed.
Lil’ Chris’s death would make me think, though,  if TG4 came back to me again next year for recommendations.
Would I recommend a really good 14 or 15-year-old in Moville to them?
Maybe and maybe not!
Tony’s Career Talk
I did at least bring Tony Bramwell over to give local musicians a talk, warning them of the dangers of these shows and warning against applying to them.
It’s a shame Lil’ Chris didn’t meet Tony Bramwell when he was 15.
It’s too late for him now.
I’ll certainly be a little cautious in the future!