CAVAN MURRAY: A LOCAL SUCCESS STORY
When the Friends of Chislehurst Rocks set up Chislehurst Rocks back in 2011, we wanted to create not just a free community music festival for everyone to enjoy, but also to establish a new platform for local musical talent. We particularly wanted young performers to have the opportunity to perform on a professional stage with an experienced and well connected sound and stage team.
Now 7 years on, we have been told time and time again how helpful Chislehurst Rocks has been for its performers so we thought we would interview one of this year’s young performers, Cavan Murray, to find out just what a difference it has made.
This year, thanks to the generosity of The Chislehurst Society, we were able to have an extra stage at Chislehurst Rocks, the Community Stage. It was on this stage that Cavan performed a short set of his original music and a cover to a large audience on what was one of the hottest days of the year. We talked to Cavan about his background in music and what he got out of the experience.
Cavan is very much a Chislehurst boy. Age 19, he was educated at Red Hill and then Coopers, both local schools. He credits his grandparents and also his teachers at both schools for the encouragement they gave him in awakening a passion for music and then to follow his dreams. His first introduction was in Year 4 at Red Hill when a guitar teacher came into school to encourage pupils to take up lessons. Inspired by the teacher, he began lessons initially in classical guitar but then moved on to more chord playing. By the time he was in Year 9 at Coopers, staff and friends also encouraged him to sing and from that moment on he also started writing his own music. Once he had reached the 6th form, where he was once again greatly supported by his teachers, he was in a band performing in school and also in a Busk in London competition where he got to the finals and performed at Westfields in Stratford. On the back of that he also supported a couple of acts at The Beaverwood Club. Currently in the 2nd year of his degree studying songwriting at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, Cavan has, however, not performed on a public stage since. The opportunity to do so in his home town at Chislehurst Rocks this summer seemed too great to miss. Cavan applied and was one of the lucky ones selected.
So how did he find the experience? Well exciting but also nerve wracking, he says, even surreal. However, he found everyone involved, the stage and sound crew, and particularly the audience, incredibly friendly and encouraging and sums it up as a fantastic experience that has re-ignited his passion for live performance. Inspired by Ben Howard, Ed Sheeran and early Cold Play, Cavan describes his style as pop indie. Having written about 15 songs that he is happy with, the difficulty may have been which ones to choose to perform but Cavan quickly settled on “No Man’s Land” and “Back Up”. He is now getting his catalogue copywritten and looking at putting them on to the main public platforms so that he can reach out to a wider audience. For now, here's the link for his song "No Man’s Land" on YouTube - https://youtu.be/i6vuY-O6ALE .
The main things that Cavan says he got out of Chislehurst Rocks was a confidence to go out and perform live on a regular basis, introduction to other local musicians and a greater profile on social media. The Chislehurst Rocks team introduced him to Daniel Russell and Tom Monks who in turn have introduced Cavan to the Open Mike circuit; he now performs every other Monday at the Iron Horse in Sidcup if you want to see Cavan perform again. He says he would not have had the confidence to do this without the encouragement given to him at ChisRocks. Going forward, Cavan is hoping to have his own sets at local pubs – so come on Chislehurst pubs, snap him up!