People often ask me how I got into the music industry - how I ended up with a successful music blog, with press passes to festivals, with PR campaigns and artist relationships and a not-entirely-insignificant online following to my name.
Honestly - sometimes I ask myself the same question.
It's not like I'm a musician. I can't play an instrument and I can't carry a tune to save my life. I'm not in a relationship with an artist, I didn't grow up being friends with them - in fact, the ones I consider my closest friends today weren't even acquaintances before the pandemic blindsided us all.
But to understand who I am today, you have to know who I've been before. And that means taking you back to the hairy days of the early-to-mid nineties, with questionable hair and even more questionable fashion. Specifically, we're in 1995. I have frizzy curls and I'm obsessed with my cassette Walkman. I am gifted my very first camera: a red plastic point-and-shoot from Boots. It replaces the Walkman. I go through roll after roll of film, lining up my dolls for photoshoots and snapping my parents, grandparents, anyone who will stand still and say 'cheese'.
In 1997, just two years later, I wrote my first poem. It was a little macabre. Taking photographs and telling stories with words have always been part of my life.
I grew up listening to BBC Radio 2 - home of Sir Terry Wogan, of Pirate Johnnie Walker, of country music's favourite Whispering Bob Harris. During these childhood years, I longed to be on the radio. I'd queue up my favourite songs on my favourite CDs (Fresh Hits '98 and Shania Twain's 1998 album Come On Over, for those wondering) and I'd introduce them in front of the mirror in my bedroom.
Fast forward (pun intended). When it came to choosing a degree. I went through quite a few different options. I wasn't a terrible student, but I wasn't a fantastic one, either. I'd struggled with illness during my teens which set me back an entire year and ultimately cost me a high school experience. In the end - out of a mix of desperation, a love for music and a chance to follow in my father's footsteps - I chose a sound engineering path.
So, the girl who was told she'd never get any GCSEs graduated with a degree.
Fast forward a little further, and we find ourselves staring down the barrel of a global pandemic. Having just been furloughed, and being clinically vulnerable and shielding indoors, I decided - on a whim - to start a blog. I chose a name, made a logo in Canva, bought a domain and made a new Twitter account.
Country music was - and still is - my comfort blanket. It's the one I always turn to and return to; it's the constant in my life. And, since I love to match songs together and make playlists and mixtapes for people, sharing them online was a no-brainer. Even though I'm practically tone-deaf, I knew music was what I loved. I knew I could write. I knew I could interview, share things and even promote artists.
But I only knew the big chart names, so I did some Twitter searching and went on a following spree.
A day later, I had an email from someone called Rachel, asking if we could set up some interviews for some artists she was managing at the time.
You could say the rest is history. I call it my story. The story of a girl who grew up telling stories - through photographs, words, and the music that spoke to her soul. It's been a long journey, and not always an easy one - but it's brought me here.
I'd say it's been worth it.