All About Henry Priestman
In 2009, after over 30 years in the music business and with a credit list longer than both your arms, Henry Priestman reinvented himself as a singer-songwriter and finally released his debut solo album – having not sung since 1981! Entitled The Chronicles of Modern Life, it’s the sound of a man who’s seen the music world explode from punk (his band Yachts supported the Sex Pistols in ’77 and supported The Who on a European Tour in ‘79) through to pop (three million albums sold by The Christians; a top five single for Mark Owen) through to the digital age (soundtracks for James Bond/Xbox, BBC’s “Wildlife on One” and “Natural World”, and writing/producing with the likes of singers/songwriters Jason Donovan, 10cc’s Graham Gouldman & Amy Wadge) – and he still has something worth singing about.
In 2009, Island Records (home of Amy Winehouse and Sugababes) picked up Henry’s album from Stiff, making him, at 53, the oldest-ever artist to be signed to a major label for a debut solo album! The track “Grey’s The New Blonde” was playlisted at Radio 2 and performed on BBC Breakfast:
Henry Priestman’s “got form”. A founder member of 70’s cult band Yachts (described in Gene Sculatti’s U.S. book The Catalog of Cool as “Cole Porter Punk”!), Henry’s “previous” also includes Bette Bright’s Illuminations (alongside Suggs and Sex Pistol Glen Matlock), It’s Immaterial and The Christians (writing all songs on their 1987 triple-platinum debut). He shared a mic and a number one single with Paul McCartney, composed the title song for London West End musical “Dreamboats and Petticoats” and co-wrote/produced 3 songs on Graham Gouldman’s 2012 “Love and Work” CD – to say nothing of a roll-call of sessions for fellow North West luminaries including Lightening Seeds, Johnny Marr, Ian McCulloch, Echo & The Bunnymen, plus vocals on Jools Holland/Tom Jones’ 2005 CD.
Henry’s School Visits
Henry usually works with musicians/writers and students in music colleges.
His visits are for primary school children (usually aged 9 – 11), obviously, not all 9-11 year olds are not necessarily going to be proficient enough on an instrument to enable them to write both music and lyrics. A way round this is for Henry to pick a song of his own (e.g. his latest single) and get the kids to re-write the lyrics (many lyricists can’t write a note of music!).
To begin the day Henry delivers a light-hearted interactive illustrated/audio lecture that can last anything from 30-60 minutes, showing how, through his passionate love of song-writing (and performing), he has managed to write music and songs in so many different genres and work successfully in the music business for over 30 years. Following this introduction Henry can deliver workshops to single class groups (30-35 children).
Henry has been working on inspiring students to come up with lyrical themes to tie in with the Olympics (team-work, determination, dedication etc), but this could easily be another subject: team-building in general, anti-bullying, “say no to the logo”, confidence-building, or another current topic.
He generally divides children up into teams of around 5 or 6, in which they can create new lyrics. Then, throughout the day, Henry goes from team to team, armed with his guitar, encouraging them to think about rhyming, scanning and of course, telling a story. Then at the end of the workshop, Henry performs each team’s song, with the kids hopefully singing along (or hitting percussion if they’re too shy to sing!). Usually these performances are videoed by/for the school.
Henry’s aim is to give the children an enjoyable and fulfilling experience whilst embodying the core basics of working as a team, cooperation, self-expression – and ultimately turning all these into a song. Some schools have even talked of performing the finished songs at future schools’ concerts!
What facilities will Henry need when he visits your school?
Henry will bring a laptop containing many photos, videos and songs for his initial presentation. He will need a projector to plug into the laptop (connecting via a square 15 square pin VGA connector), a white screen and ideally a PA system (or a decent set of speakers so that everybody can hear the songs he plays during the presentation) to be connected via his laptop’s headphone socket. Please let us know if the latter cannot be provided, as in an emergency, he can bring a small sound system. Henry will not need a microphone or amplification for his guitar. He plays and sings acoustically, if a percussion box is available, this would be most useful (shakers, tambourines etc). All students will need is a piece of paper, a pencil and their imagination.
Recommendations & Reviews
“Henry Priestman: Best one yet!!! Henry was a joy to work with and the students had a fantastic time writing Olympic songs.” Mrs Sam Mallett – Specialist Science/Community Co-ordinator, Wrenn School, Wellingborough
Henry’s critically acclaimed album “The Chronicles of Modern Life”
“A master of the rueful observation.” *** The Daily Mail
“…. he is a fine songwriter with an acerbic wit when it comes to his take on relationships, work, life and how some of us are getting slightly older but not quite ready for it yet….this all adds up to make “Chronicles….” a very good album indeed. What helps make this release standout is that Henry deals with issues that affect our everyday lives & it is easy to relate to the subject matter of his songs and thereby this release comes highly recommended.” **** Maverick
“A solo album full of wit and love and disappointment and vitriol… perfect pop decorated with spikiness and anger.” **** Rock n Reel
“A set of home-made, ramshackle pop songs…a welcome addition to a varied and charming back catalogue.” *** The NME
“A one-man musical battle against banking greed.” The Independent
“Folk-pop songs … filled with wry observation.” Birmingham Sunday Mercury
“Outstanding from start to finish, it provides a vibrant vehicle for Priestman’s distinctive voice underpinned by great songs, great musicians, and great arrangements. Highly recommended.” Folk Northwest
“It really is a fabulous album…gorgeous.” Janice Long, Radio 2
“…It’s just great, it’s real…got great songs on it.” Johnnie Walker, Radio 2
“it’s absolutely brilliant…..he’s found his voice!” Bob Harris, Radio 2
“Don’t you love that!?…fantastic….really good..” Terry Wogan, Radio 2
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Henry Priestman, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please email Trevor Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on 01535 656015.
Further information about Henry is available on his website: www.henrypriestman.com