2011 in Review

The time has come to reflect on the blur that was 2011.
Once again, it is hard to believe how fast the year raced by and to immediately recall all that went on. Before starting this year’s review I looked back and read through my summary of 2010. It was a hard read in places as it reminded me of how shit things got (in my mind) last year. On reflection, this year seems like heaven and I will try to get as much of this junk out of my head down for you.

2011 began in Australia with a month-long tour and as usual some great times. Most notable was getting caught up in the devastating floods in Brisbane as well as the great time I had with my friends Paul and Pippa in Victoria. It is actually pretty sad to think I won’t be there again this January coming. The positive to come out of it is I won’t be away from home for New Year and all of the month, but it does mean I will miss the glorious Australian summer and all the madness that has brought for the last few years whilst there. I already miss all my friends so much.

I actually just spent 30 minutes doing a summary of everything that is already here on the site, then I deleted it. If you want to actually know what happened month-by-month then start here and read back through the newer entries. There are some pretty daft blogs as well as one or two serious ones all joined by my weekly radio show, most of which are still attached for you to listen to again.
I have included a highlights section at the end of this if you prefer.

The first thing to stand out for me, aside from a couple of interesting debates on music and nights out, is the Facebook Hacking Scandal. Back in April I had my Facebook account deleted and all my subsequent pages removed, losing me 5000 friends and almost as many contacts on my ‘fan’ page. At the time this didn’t bother me in the slightest but it was to be the beginning of the end for my label Sounds of the Booth. In all my years as a DJ/producer/presenter, I have never forced myself on anyone. I do go out of my way to share the music with all who care to hear, yes !  I have never been one to take everyone’s email addresses from those mails that show all the industry heads contacts, I don’t spend hours on end adding people to my mailing list. Anyone that follows me does so off their own back. So once my contacts were all removed off Facebook I had no means of backing them up and it definitely affected the sales of the next release we put out, the whole purpose of the label was to increase exposure for artists.. but with that out of the window I’m not sure there is any need to release new material.
The best thing to happen with my getting hacked ? It was like a hard reset of my “true” friends and now I know that everyone that follows me is there for the right reasons and I move forward, happy in that knowledge.

I made a conscious effort to remove all the dick heads from my life this year and can happily say it worked like a dream !  I did have one or two people let me down which did upset me temporarily but I learnt several valuable lessons in moving forward.

The radio show continues to get a lot of love and my podcasts continue to get good numbers. I have touched on it before, I don’t have tens of thousands of fans around the world. I used to think that mattered however as time goes on I realise (this actually dawned on me a long time ago) that it is definitely QUALITY over QUANTITY that concerns me.  Those of you who follow my blog posts are in the minority of people who go out of their way to actually open them and read what I write.. that means a hell of a lot.  I don’t have an inflated ego or delusions of grandeur, sometimes I may write some madness on here but it is always to share my thoughts and hopefully one or two people gleam something from my words.  No more, no less.

I do get frustrated from time to time when, regardless of how many times I repeat information on here or on the show, I still get people whom I think would know ask me things which I make readily available.  It goes to show, both for myself and anyone else trying to reach out to people, that you can never repeat things too many times… if Coca-Cola feel the need to still advertise, then you can be sure we all need to do what we can to drive the message home (now you know where the “Get yourself noticed” blog came about!)  I actually stopped worrying about sharing things too much.  As I already touched on, people follow me through their own choice and can just as easily stop following me, all that concerns me is sharing the good vibes with those who want to feel them.

I am REALLY pleased with my new Mobile App.  Since launching this a couple of weeks ago I now have over 350 people using it on a regular basis, in 30 countries, with thousands of page views and actual usage.  While that may seem insignificant to many other big DJs, to me it is phenomenal and it is this support that drives me on.  **edit – it seems that the app provider maybe having issues so bear with us as the glitches get ironed out !**

When talking of support, I obviously immediately think of the Vocal Booth Weekender. Over 500 people showed their support this year by joining me in Spain and that figure looks like it could easily be surpassed next year, although tight limitations will be in place to make sure it never gets too big. That wouldn’t be good for the event. It is the VBW that has dominated most of my year and kept me sane when the actual DJ gigs were in short supply. I have actually been busier this year than in 2010, although there were still a lot of gaps in the diary.  I have thoroughly enjoyed almost every gig I have done, I think there were just two shit ones out of all of them, which isn’t bad going.

I think the abomination of this thing we call House hit rock bottom in 2011. Some of the absolute garbage that dominates most dance floors and radio shows in the guise of House has made many of the world’s big names realise how far off the path they had veered and also forced the best nights back underground. There seems to be a new generation of clubber getting into the Deep House sound, I’m not sure if it’s me (who has this thought) but people seem to be taking more happy drugs again which is having a positive affect on the scene? I am sure there is a close correlation between the music scene, drug consumption and world recession but I am nowhere near qualified enough to comment although it does all strike a resemblance at the moment to the beginning of acid house/rave culture.
Remember – Drugs are Bad !

I am not about to try to jump on the bandwagon or be seen to actively pursue this switch in interest, I feel I don’t have the energy for that anymore, although the natural progression in actually enjoying a deeper sound myself and wanting to create this kind of vibe may lead onto something… time will tell ! Either way I am in a great place musically right now and look forward to getting back into the studio with fresh inspiration.  I have always followed my own path and been fortunate enough to have one or two follow me along the way and I intend to carry on in the ‘right’ direction from here on in.  My vision is clear !

 

On the whole, my year has been dominated by Vocal Booth, good friends, great parties and the wonderful support of my family. Despite feeling sorry for myself at times throughout the year when things were a little tight, I have since learnt to stop and look at all I have and to be truly thankful for leading such a blessed existence.  It was a horrendous year in relation to death and destruction which in itself should make me feel lucky for all I have.  The very nature of the business I am in makes it a roller-coaster journey and with an empty diary ahead of me now into 2012, I plan to make the most of a lovely Christmas and New Year with Michelle, Drew and Mikey.  Michelle, the soldier she is, continues to shine bright in her job meaning I can spend all day dossing and I owe everything to her !

I’d like to think you know how grateful I am to have you read this, but I’ll tell you how much I love you again anyway !

Seriously.. make the most of every day of your life and surround yourself with only the best people. If you are not ‘in a good place’ then do everything in your power to make changes and remember how lucky you are !!

Until 2012 – I’m outta here !

P.S – I put this together over the course of a week or so. From starting it to now, I have realised I am starting to go bald.  I take back everything I said.  My Life is over !!!!

Remember – check out my end of year radio show for more reflection on 2011.

2011 highlights

15th Dec Vocal Booth Radio Show by andyward

Enjoy that ?

10 Comments

  1. Your end of year blog is always an interesting read. I hope you and your family have a blessed and merry christmas. Big love to all the VB family, stay safe and keep the vibe alive.

  2. Wardy
    Sorry i not been about but all my money & time gone into my new shop which i opened in April 2011 has been a mementous year for me ! Great thoughts & true honest words love to you & your family & wisshing you a great 2012 !

  3. I’ve been quite recently on the music front due to reasons you are aware of, but our catch up in Ibiza was a great one (Even our pissed up heart to heart in the apartment got a little deep and became a true eye opener). As always your blogs give incite onto the daily goings on and in a sense a struggle into the life of today’s musicians. I’d like to congratulate you on how The Vocal Booth is growing from strength to strength with every year and has become many peoples highlight of the year.. Each year! The family ethic you have gone by has meant there are truly some great people around you (many of which i have got to meet and i hold praise for every single one of them) and in support of the scene in general. I’d like to wish you, the family, and the vocal booth family a very happy Christmas and new year. As i raise a glass to each and everyone of you, here’s to 2012.

  4. Hey Wardy

    I have been MIA for a couple of years since VBW 2009 and I am also encouraged to have you affirm what I thought I imagined; namely, the appreciation for REAL House music and the fact that many djs and producers have ditched the cheese and come back home to serve us TRUE House lovers. It makes me want to come back to the scene, as i did fear it was all going a bit too David Guetta for my liking everywhere !

    You are very lucky to have such a good wife to stand by you and keep the fires burning through thick and thin and so blessed with happy, healthy children too x

    Let us all hope for more peace and contentment, health, new friendships and renewing old friendships that may have gone a bit awry x

    C & P x

  5. Another great read Mr Ward..I think you can look back at 2011 and pat yourself on the back for all the hard work you put into VB. I think you truly should count your blessings for having a great circle of friends who practically worship you and a wonderful wife and kids to boot. I am reflecting over the past 12 months myself and even though I do realise that I also have a great bunch of pals and my family that is always there for me, I’m hoping 2012 is a better one for me. A failed weight loss operation, no job and the prospect of having even less money than this year its not a great outlook at the moment. The one thing I do give thanks for is the music which has given me my highs as in the great gigs i have attended with the Pressure family and of course VB. It definitely kept my my spirits up when I hit rock bottom. I wish you all the best for the coming year and I know that your projects will go from strength to strength.

    Much Love & Blessings.

    Weezy. x

  6. You know Andy you said to me what you do is about good people and undoubtedly that is what you do. True music lovers with the true feeling and emotions that real house music intends, good vibes and positive messages. You and Michelle and your children and VBW and the radio show are a reflection of that not in any generic way but in the way that shows you care and have super enthusiasm for what you do and provide. It is unique and special. You should be very pleased at how much happiness, joy and positivity you give people. Bless you and yours for the future and looking forward to even more good times Big Love, Jeff and Jules xxxxxx

  7. Well, what can I say, great read Andy.
    Hacking, playing, dj’ing, traveling, balding?
    What an eventful year all round.
    As you mentioned the world recession has hit hard and for some this year has been life changing. Work lives, health, breakups. Makeups, house moves, new jobs etc etc. Hard times but with magic moments.

    There have been a few times over the last year where I’ve been ‘at one with the sofa’ with the ‘poorlyness’ and haven’t been as able to attend the events that I would normally be ‘in amongst it’ I therefore must make reference to ‘Pressure Radio’ having caused the corners of my mouth to head upward and keep me from slipping totally into ‘house withdrawals’. ‘Sounds of the booth sounds quite amazing whilst on morphine.

    One of the high points for me this year was certainly the vocal booth weekender. (making it there) Not only the weekend but the build up to it. The group created on facebook was what I can only describe a genius. Getting to know the names and faces of those attending and share the excitement.
    I don’t think you can imagine just how it has become a land mark event in the year. Something that people now automatically pop in the dairy as though a public holiday, along side ‘important things’ such as SPW & Christmas. When planning the finances, car tax, house insurance, ‘VB flights’ are up there with water rates and TV license.
    For me this year it was so uplifting. The music, the poolside laughter, the people, the poolside sets and titans. All of which were fantastic. Having arrived at the airport some 11 hours prior to my flight (just in case I slept in) and I certainly wasn’t in any way disappointed.

    Here’s to a wonderful, healthy happy 2012 for all the vocal booth family, music lovers young and old. Even bald blokes.
    Drugs are bad.

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