FHTE transcript from An Evening With Stuart Brayson
15 July 2019
I was low and close to quitting the music business. A profession I’d been in pretty much since I was 16 but in truth since the first day I picked up a guitar at nine years of age.
It hadn’t been easy. No one in my family was exactly a port of call. My dad sang in working men’s clubs for a few extra bob my sister and brother were both exceptionally gifted, but no one wrote songs or played an instrument. We were not poor like starvation poor but we were not flush. Everything was tight and music was an indulgence not a job.
I wanted to be a pop star. Who didn’t? We lived for top of the pops when I was a kid, but it was all a fantasy, a far off dream wasn’t it?
Didn’t happen to people on my street. They were milkmen, or plumbers or at best teachers or civil servants. Now you’re talking.
So at 16 to leave school, I’d left years earlier really, at least in my head, and go chance my luck as a pop singer was plain stupidity.
If I was the age I am now I wouldn’t have put money on me to make it. I would have said to the younger me what my dad said to me, frequently. You’re hitting your head against a brick wall. He was right of course. But you don’t want to hear that at 16. You’re not listening anyway.
I’ve been hitting my head against a brick wall all my life dad…
But somehow I learnt how to play the guitar and later the piano and begin to do what I’d always dreamt of doing. Capturing the songs I heard in my head.
The pop business back then was brutal. It was a time when talent wasn’t top of the list but a pretty face, well, I’ve a million stories I could tell. Perhaps one day I will. But unlike many friends and competitors I knew at the time, I refused to succumb to the sex games and perhaps a leg up or leg over to the top.
I thought I had something to say. Brave or stupid. I could look myself in the mirror. I still can.
Flip forward a lifetime and two musicals in the bag as composer and I’m close to the end of the line. I’m going nowhere. The wall is hitting back
It was then, no longer a pretty face, I found an idea that changed my life. I wrote From here to eternity. As a musical.
Probably as dumb an idea as I’ve ever had. Certainly as ridiculous as wanting to be a pop star at 16.
Who the hell did I think I was?
With not a pot to piss in I was still living in fantasy land. That I could take on the big boys and write a west end smash.
But, somehow it happened. From the toughest of circumstances. With no money, tools or a hope in hell. The songs poured out of me. Something that never fails to surprise me. No matter what shit I’m in or whatever state I’m in the songs come. The songs always come.
In this sense I’ve never had to work a day in my life. I just flip the switch and the light comes on. I pluck them from the sky and I never question it. I never worry about it and I never work at it.
I’m my own biggest critic and my own biggest fan. I’ve never doubted me. Where did that come from?
From Here To Eternity went first to the Bridewell theatre. I want to publically thank them. To be offered an opportunity to work in the legit theatre and my songs to be taking seriously when I had almost given up hope this would ever happen was life changing.
And I learnt a lot. I’m always learning. Never find a formula. Always do it differently. Never do it twice.
I wrote a pop song a long time ago called once is never enough but twice is to much. I stand by that.
And so the journey began. From Here To Eternity has given me a voice and a chance. It came at my lowest ebb and has opened the door to another world. Its given me silly highs and driven me to despair.
And now when people ask me how its done. The secret code, I always ask in return what do you really want to do. As crazy as it sounds most can’t answer me.
I always knew what I wanted to do.
And every day I wake up start again and find something else that I want to do more.