From Lancaster with love, two recent graduates abandon the typical lifestyle for one of music and photography. The creative partnership of Alex Carrington and Suzy Wimbourne show how it’s done in making a dream become reality. A year on from its inception, Kinwah (Contemporary Cover Band) and Suzy Wimbourne Photography have built promising foundations and travelled the length and breadth of the UK with a successful busking tour. Check out their websites at http://www.theadventuresofsuzyandalex.com/
Where did the name ‘Kinwah’ come from?
SUZY – Kinwah is our phonetic interpretation of the wholefood: Quinoa. We thought we had something original, but Google told us we’d be competing with a Chinese restaurant in Hawaii.
Tough competition indeed, so how long have you been making music together?
ALEX – Since 2011, when Suzy returned as a seasoned understudy, after shooting weddings in San Francisco and I had returned from having walked 500 miles in a soul searching escapade. Suzy was straight out of Lancaster University and I had only just quit my grad job, one year out of Lancaster. In Manchester I had been busking which led to the two of us performing throughout the Christmas period, come New Year after the success of a few further bookings, we decided to jump right in to officiating ourselves as Kinwah in January 2012.
Has working together musically led your private relationship to be stronger?
ALEX – Suzy initially came to Manchester to build up her wedding photography business, but as both revenue streams took off, music definitely brought us even closer together. We think if the relationship you’re in is the right one; it can only go from strength to strength. We are very humbled that we’ve got shared passions, and if you can look past any projected stereotypes such as the Von Trapp family, Eurythmics or Sonny and Cher, it’s a pretty sweet deal making music together.
Do you write your own songs as well as performing covers ?
ALEX – During my time at Lancaster I was writing and performing with a few bands and performing solo at open mic nights in Manchester – it was a hard slog without the financial incentive provided with Kinwah. For now we focus on what we have, so that in the future I can pursue my ultimate goal of being a songwriter or singer/songwriter. As a side note, I’ve found another outlet for my song writing where I’m currently writing and performing on an album signed to dance/electronica label “Get Physical”.
Any songs you’re particularly proud of?
ALEX – I’m a perfectionist. My own songs come in batches of about five and for every new batch my old ones seem so out of fashion. Ask me this question again in five years – I hope to have something to talk about then.
How did you decide that you wanted to form an independent entertainment industry and was it easy to do so?
ALEX – We realised that together we have a niche and that we could earn handsomely if we managed to get gigs and refine our sound. Like anyone starting their own business: it will swallow the whole of your life, for an indefinite amount of time, and certainly most of every day. The setting up is the easy part, but making it happen takes persistence – by no means have we “made it” but we are on the right track to making both our businesses a way of life. It’s taken getting our product finely polished, finding good agents and practicing diligence.
Any tips for aspiring musicians?
ALEX – One secret to our growing success is undoubtedly busking. It may not work for everybody, but for us, whether we earn £30 or £130 in a day from busking, this self promotion tool is great for new opportunities because so few people who are professional actually do it.
Suzy – how do you balance your photography career with your musical one and do you find that they feed into each other?
SUZY -Music and Photography for us go hand in hand. We share the workload with photography, the difference being that I am the expert and Alex is the apprentice; although Alex is getting quite good, he is still no match for my editing! We work by advanced bookings so neither will ever clash and the best part of this summer has been that we have been able to combine the two via our blog: http://www.theadventuresofsuzyandalex.com
What do you do if you have writer’s/artist’s/musicians block?
SUZY – Rarely would I imagine this to happen simultaneously for us both and therefore we’d always have each other to re-inspire, motivate and tell the other when to have a break.
Do you have any plans for an album release?
SUZY – We were thinking about sending our friends a Christmas album this year, complete with this awkward couple photograph for an album sleeve.
Live the dream.
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