Back in the day, I used to frequent a music website called PeopleSound (as mentioned in this previous post). The site no longer exists anymore, but I used to enjoy visiting it and using its search tool. By inputting the name of a band or artist that I liked, it would recommend something to me. Not something obvious that I might hear on the radio, but something new from an unsigned or just-signed artist that regarded my chosen band as an inspiration.
During one of my first visits, I was basking in the back-catalogue of Tears For Fears, so I naturally asked PeopleSound what it could offer me. One of the first results was a guy called Dean Freeman, and his song How Does It Feel?. After listening, I soon downloaded a couple of other tracks he was offering, then found his official website which had one extra track on offer.
Today, his website no longer exists. I can find only a couple of references to Dean and his music that aren't just within a list of mp3 files. His career as a musician, it seems, was shortlived. I recall that he was also involved in production and so perhaps he continued to walk down that avenue instead.
Really, I shouldn't mourn that he didn't release any other music. There are hundreds of thousands of musicians that release good stuff and yet never "make it", or fail to be discovered by the right person, or decide not to pursue that particular dream, or just lose motivation and allow it all to fade away. It's a fact of life in the music industry: only a very, VERY, tiny percentage of people ever approach a point where they might call themselves "a success".
But as for this guy...
Dean Freeman was one of the first artists that I listened to away from the radio, or from personal recommendations. His music represents one of the first times that I felt I was discovering something for myself and, at that time (potentially anywhere between 1999 and 2003), that was a big deal for me. I tried to find out as much as possible about his music but, naturally, found very little. In my somewhat childish naivete, I started to set up a fan page and contacted Dean by email requesting the possibility of conducting an e-interview. From what I remember, his reply was understandably cynical; asking what form my website was going to take, and what I intended. I saw sense in the end, and didn't proceed with the 'project'.
My fan-website never saw the light of day and, unusually for me, I don't think I have any old floppy discs with the files on it. His own website no longer exists. All that remains is a couple of old references on websites such as EmoSonic (2008) and The Muse's Muse (2007).
So here I am now, talking about a musician that very little people have probably ever heard of, that never really made it, and that doesn't really seem to exist anymore. And yet, somewhat amusingly, his music actually means something to me because it represents a period in my life when I started finding music with a little more independence. Perhaps then, this is my eulogy for his career as a recording artist.
His one release which was available digitally and as a physical CD (which I stupidly never purchased, so I guess I'm as much to blame for not fully supporting his endeavours!) was his EP: Give Me Time.
Give Me Time EP
1. Give Me Time
3. Something I Can't See.
[currently seems to be downloadable at EmoSonic and CampFame, amongst others]
Curiously, the first track that I ever heard, and my favourite, is How Does It Feel?, which doesn't actually seem to feature on the EP. It definitely had the production values of both the early and revived forms of Tears for Fears, some nicely distorted background vocals, and a confident guitar. From the EP, the title track stands out above the others , but Something I Can't See is notably different due to a piano taking control. If you were to pressure me into making a comparison (which, to be honest, I'm generally quite happy to do) I'd draw a strong parallel with White Ladder-era David Gray.
Maybe someone else out there also downloaded the mp3s like I did, and still enjoys them the way I do. Maybe there's some CDs of his EP still floating around in the world, regularly listened to by someone else who wishes there could have been more.
Whether an artist "makes it" or not, their music still could have something to offer.
Thanks, Dean. You were one of the first important steps along my own, personal, musical road.
Sadly, there's no YouTube video I can link to, no SoundCloud widget to play his music. So I shall reiterate that the Give Me Time EP can be found to download at a couple of places such as:
"Dance to the movement of the stars. Sing till the walls around us ring. Pray that it never fades away until we sleep" - David Gilmour