Damon Albarn visited the University of Gloucestershire on Monday 8 February to work with Popular Music students on their writing and performing skills. Students were given the opportunity to perform their music in Albarn’s temporary studio at Park campus, Cheltenham, and then worked with him to mix a new song from their own compositions. A Q&A session with students and staff followed during which the Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter, producer and composer shared experiences from across a two-decade career as one of the UK’s most influential and consistently interesting musicians.
Albarn was accompanied by his studio engineer, Steve Sedgwick, and the duo were able to give the students a rare glimpse into the relationship between recording artist and engineer. Sedgwick also fielded questions from students about the technical aspects of recording music.
Dan Walton, in his second year studying Popular Music, found the day hugely productive, saying ‘Watching his working process was magical! It was incredible to see how the mind of one of Britain's great songwriters ticks’. These thoughts were echoed by all who were involved, including first year Hamish Woolley who said, ‘I had such a great day, it was such a well organised event and the staff did awesome. Getting to witness Damon's creative process behind songwriting was truly fascinating.’
The visit was organised by Mike Smith, Lecturer in Popular Music at the University and keyboardist for Blur, Gorillaz and The Good, The Bad & The Queen, among others. Mike said, ‘The day was a huge success and Damon was hugely generous with his time and the knowledge he imparted to the students. To be able to actually sit down and work with him was fantastic for the students. It shows that on every level, and whoever you are or how famous you might be, creating and playing music is a shared experience.’