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It's No Big Deal - my first single

I've just released my first #original song into the world and I am BUZZING! As it goes forth on #Spotify, #iTunes, #Youtube and #Amazon etc...I find myself reflecting on it's rather unusual #journey...and mine too for that matter! Here's how & why it happened, the #lessons I've learnt and what's happening next!

Artwork: Alex Ryland Jones for Sally White Creative and Simone Craddock
It's No Big Deal Single Cover

Eight years ago, I was temping as a receptionist, (in the way that resting #actors do), in a barrister's chambers here in #London. I'd just started seeing a great guy and things were going swimmingly. I was in the ladies room, feeling rather chuffed with my lot, when I spontaneously sang out happily, "It's no big deeeal!" Worth mentioning at this point, I'd never written a song before, (that I knew of), and had no idea that's what I was doing. But there it was, (and this is how I've since noticed it usually starts with my style of #songwriting), the hook had written itself.​ Over the following days I added more and more lines to my lil ditty as I walked about chambers, more as a ​way to fill the time than anything else. No wonder they called me "The #Singing Receptionist"! ​Eventually​ I sang it out loud to said love prospect and when I got to the part ​that goes, “You’re cute, funny, single and not even bi”, he stopped me, saying, “Babe, people are gonna think you thought I was bi!” I put the song away. By the time I'd secured my next #acting job, (Grace in the UK #tour of #Annie), and left chambers, (and the ​lovely chap I'd been singing about), I'd forgotten all about #ItsNoBigDeal.

In the studio at Old Paradise Audio
Me rehearsing a take with fellow Aussie, Ash de Neef on double bass

Fast forward five years and I was temping as a receptionist between gigs again. (Gals gotta eat.) A badass #trumpeter I'd met whilst singing in The States back in 2004, Paul Armstrong, was visiting London with #TheMavericks. He invited me to their gig at #Hammersmith #Apollo. Hanging out #backstage afterwards, he asked me if I'd started that #jazz band I'd ​been heading to London to start ten years ago? I was like, "Well, I kind of got distracted by a career in #musical #theatre..." Paul was working on some original #tunes ​on #Ableton at the time and wanted to mix my #vocals into some of his #tracks. I heard myself offer him some original #lyrics to go with his #music and ​as we #collaborated​, ​I came to realise that ​ the #poems and #melodies I'd been humming in my head for most of my life were actually #songs I'd written...This was a #lifechanging moment for me, as I had always admired #songwriters and honestly had no idea that I was one myself! The last three years have been magical because now that I know I write songs, I can't stop! ​I find it a constant stream of catharsis and comfort. ​I'm always pulling ​out ​my notebook or #iphone and #recording ideas before they run away...But I digress, back to the #single I've just released! 

Raul Vallejo - Trombone, Paul Armstrong - Trumpet, Carlos Sosa - Sax
The Grooveline Horns recording It's No Big Deal at Old Paradise Audio

Paul returned to The States and mentored me as I immersed myself in jazz #jams, which led to #gigs, which led to my own #band and #concerts and more and more #writing! I dug out It's No Big Deal and gave it to #pianist, Benjamin Croft, who wrote a really clever #arrangement for it. I had always heard a #bigband shout section in my head when it went into half time feel so when I knew Paul was returning to London with #TheZacBrownBand, I asked his horn section, #TheGroovelineHorns, (Carlos Sosa - #sax, Paul Armstrong - #trumpet, Raul Vallejo - #trombone), to come into the #studio and lay it down for me. This was a pretty cool moment also, as the night before I'd been watching them smash it from the #wings of #Wembley #Arena! Watching them work was insanely exciting. They brought so much #American sass to my swinging, half #British, half #Australian #quartet! (Benjamin Croft - #keys, Ash de Neef - #bass, Tom Wright - #drums).

In his studio, Old Paradise Audio
Jim Macrae - Engineer/Mixer

We got the whole song down in one day at #OldParadiseAudio with the wonderful Jim Macrae #engineering, offering advice and #mixing like a mo tro! *Luckily for me, I became a #Producer without realising what I was doing, so I didn't have time to get nervous about that. Even luckier for me, Paul was there to assistant #produce...and with his experience of recording and arranging in various studios, with the likes of #MaynardFerguson, #DianneSchuur and #JasonMraz to name a few, I was in pretty safe hands. I’m really proud of my first single and always will be. Not cause it’s perfect - there are things I will do differently next time I go into the #studio. I’m proud of it cause it’s made me ​realise​ that it’s never too late in life to discover new #talents ​and​ dev​elop new ​#skills. It's also made me #believe ​that if you ​want something enough, believe hard enough and work smart enough, you can make it happen!

Benjamin Croft - piano, Ash de Neef - bass, me & Tom Wright - Drums
Simone Craddock Quartet (circa 2015)

So that's the story behind It's No Big Deal​. Once it was recorded, it lay dormant for some time. I joined the #WestEnd, #UK and #European #production of #DirtyDancing and contractually, wasn't allowed to gig outside of the #show, so my #music went to one side for a year and a half. I missed it BAD! On returning to the London #musicscene late last year, I hired #SallyWhiteCreative to make some #musicvideos of my band, in an attempt to drum up some more #business. I decided to make a music video for It's No Big Deal...and that, my friends, is a whole 'nother story...

Thanks for reading my first #blog! Please subscribe and stay tuned for the next one, where I'll talk about the pros and cons of making an original music video on a #budget, the #lessons I learnt, and why I'm so #happy with the end result! It’s No Big Deal is available just about everywhere! You can stream it for free but if you like it and wanna hear more of my original music, please help me record my first album by paying a whopping 99p for It’s No Big Deal here! Happy dream catching folks! :-)

*Luck: My Dad says the harder you work, the luckier you get. I also once heard that #luck is #preparation meeting opportunity. I've worked hard but Paul, Ben, Jim, Ash, Tom, Carlos and Raul helped me a helluva lot on this project cause they're as generous as they are talented. I'm one lucky gal. Thanks guys! You ARE a big deal! xx

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