Young Promoter review – While and Matthews, Crosby Ravensworth Village Hall

Our Young Promoter Suzanne, is working with the Highlights’ team for her work experience week and is a student at Kirkby Stephen Grammar School. She was at Crosby Ravensworth Village Hall on Sunday, to see While and Matthews perform. Thanks to Lynn Barnes our Highlights Promoter, for welcoming Suzanne to the hall.

While and Matthews put on an entertaining performance in Crosby Ravensworth village hall. They included songs from their most recent album ‘Women of the World’, all about the power of women, discussing difficult topics, and more light-hearted songs about joyful experiences.

The pair are at their happiest on stage with their confidence and easy conversation with the audience. They sang about subjects they knew about and didn’t try to make things up. Their songs were put to catchy melodies, engaging the audience to subjects they wanted to raise awareness of, for example, a woman giving children Nokia phones to educate them, as girls in the Middle East do not have the same privileges that we in this country enjoy. This was a perfect example of how they gave a back story to every song, making the audience feel they understood where the songs were coming from and what message was hidden within. This made it all the more interesting to watch and listen to.

Both Chris and Julie gave detailed anecdotes on the reasoning behind the extremely personal songs, an example being the loss of Chris’s mother. They also explained songs about their friends’ stories, for example, when Julie told the story of the ‘lost generation’ using some of the language past generations attempted to breed out, demonstrating that it is still in use, proving that you can’t take people’s history away from them. At the beginning of the show, the story behind the song ‘Starfish Thrower’, discusses how people in social care try to make a difference by helping one person at a time.

Talking to Chris While after the show, I asked a few questions about her favourite parts of her job as a performer and a singer-songwriter. Chris said she particularly enjoyed the communication with the audience and the response to songs where they join in with their music, making it all worthwhile.

I asked her about the process the two of them went through in creating the original songs, and how they put them to catchy melodies. Listening to each other’s writing styles and taking on board how they individually work was an important part of the process, she said. She emphasised that she learned from other musicians, but also that the songs that came out the best were those that were based on personal experience.

My final question to Chris, was what her advice to young people wanting to enter the music industry would be? She told me it is so important to ‘know your worth’ and ensure no one takes advantage of your talent. She also stressed the importance of knowing your way around social media, as today if you don’t advertise yourself online you won’t get anywhere, no matter how much of a talented musician you are, as it is such a competitive industry.

I found my conversation with Chris While helped me understand the music industry as a whole through her detailed, thoughtful responses. I found discussions around the meaning behind her songs and her creative process particularly inspiring. I personally think that While and Matthews are an extremely talented duo with inspirational messages behind their songs, trying to make a difference and join people together through music. Read more about their work HERE.

Article by Suzanne Nunn, May 2024










photos by Suzanne Nunn

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