Bristol based musician TE Yates released his latest EP in November 2021, before promoting it on a short tour before Christmas. Entitled Strange Weather, the six tracks take a canter through the sound of Americana, immense danceability being a key feature.
Lead track ‘Condition‘ is a very personal look at being neuro diverse and some of the difficulties life can bring. The simple yet effective lyrics tell a story of lonely playgrounds as a child and words that must surely be used all too often to others:
It’s a condition, not a sickness, Both a blessing and a curse
The accompanying video features Yates’ artwork, often used on stage, as well as that of Bristol based artist Jeffrey ‘Big Jeff’ Johns. Made with the Different Voices Collective, the ‘Condition’ video also includes Stephen Clarke and Michael Smith, as well as neuro diverse friends of Yates. It’s fun yet powerful.
‘Fierce Horses‘ tells a similar story, with the difficulties faced by neuro divergent people in communicating, in this case, within close relationships.
My favourite track of the six is ‘Fairy Tale‘, a raucous romp through the happy ever after fantasy of many fairy tales to the view that “love is just a fairy tale that never comes true”. It’s hugely catchy and you’ll be singing it for hours after just one listen, even if you are secretly dreaming of a knight in shining armour or finding a frog of your own.
‘Jack of all Trades’ is a jaunty catchy penultimate song, before ‘Mystery Window‘ ends with a song straight out of the 1960’s. Having just watched The Beatles’ Get Back, I can picture it as a song for Ringo Starr. It’s beautifully British.
TE Yates’ advice for aspiring artists is comprehensive, covering many things but always coming back to being true to yourself:
“I’d give my younger self a big hug and say that everything is going to be ok! I’d tell my younger self to keep being me and to believe in my abilities. To shrug off the bad reviews, negative comments and criticism and not take it to heart. Or to take a breath, learn and address this positively – whilst outright ignoring the negative feedback which isn’t intended constructively. Listen to the people you love and to the artists you admire and respect. Cherish the wonderful friendships and be grateful to the many amazing musicians I’ve had the privilege of working alongside. Savour the incredible artists whose work I have been fortunate enough to have had the pleasure of experiencing.
Always remember that music is a fundamental, intrinsic part of the fabric of my being and also one of the great joys that life has to offer, so not to lose sight of this and to remember that, even when times are hard, things will improve. Enjoy the good times. I know it’s much easier said than done when things are going wrong, but stay positive. Find vitality in life through creativity. Don’t compromise your artistic vision or water down what you want to do with your life in order to appease others – particularly those with negative views – as, deep down, you know your own destiny. Don’t wait for permission to move forward with your work and your life. Take care of yourself and feel good about your achievements.
Never stop learning and developing, both as an artist and as a human being. Be curious. Feed your imagination. Although don’t become frustrated when not making progress as quickly as you want to – be patient. Everybody learns and develops at different speeds. As someone who is geared more towards quality and precision over quantity and speed, play to your strengths. Don’t be so hard on yourself – we all make mistakes along the way and we learn from them.
When you feel invisible, know that the rest of the world will catch up one day. Don’t dwell – keep your head down, keep working hard and respect the dedication that you give to your craft.”
Strange Weather was released on 12 November 2021. Get your copy here.
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