One of the questions I’m asked most often is “How did you get started with Alfie” – so I’ve blogged about it!
March 2012 and after an evening at the theatre, watching Michael Ball in Sweeney Todd, I googled Les Miserables and came across the Jean Valjean quartet at the 25th anniversary concert. The sublime voice of Alfie Boe absolutely bowled me over and utterly changed my life. I joined a fan site, bought my first concert tickets (Proms in the Park 2012) and then bought every available Alfie Boe music I could find. I had always wanted to write but had never found the right outlet and so when I read yet another interview with Alfie in which the interviewer had not even done the most basic research, I thought I could do better.
Alfie was then extremely busy with live shows both in the UK and USA and there were umpteen interviews published weekly and it seemed to me that most never scratched the surface of Alfie, his music or his fans. On one memorable occasion I found myself yelling at my laptop when yet another mistake glared out of the screen and I resolved then and there to do better. My first blog, The Trials and Tribulations of an Alfie Boe Fan was published on 17 July 2013 and after building up a steady following amongst fellow fans, I launched my own self hosted site nine months later.
It was at this point that blogging became an occupation that brought joy back into my life. I was shortly to turn 40 and rather than life beginning, I felt as if it was passing me by. Single parenting whilst holding down a totally unfulfilling, stressful job and trying to write a fan blog – something had to give and after what seemed like the last straw, I left work on a Friday and never went back. I can honestly say that blogging turned out to be my saviour from the big bad world of stress and depression. Writing, researching, editing and publishing stories and opinion pieces gave me a reason not to retreat into a shell and hide every day, but instead to engage with the world and find that it was actually a pretty good place. Of course some difficult months followed but I ultimately came out of them a much happier, more settled person and four years on, I can really say that life does indeed begin at 40 (it just took a while to get going). At this point I should say that writing is not the cure all for depression, but for me it does help to keep the worst at bay.
Through Thoughtsofjustafan – now the official Alfie Boe fan blog – to interviews with, amongst others, John Owen-Jones, Laura Wright, James Morgan (Morgan Pochin), and nine former Jean Valjeans, including Alfie, I’ve become the turn-to person for all things Alfie. Managing digital fan channels was a natural progression and I went on to administrate the Official Alfie Boe Facebook group, quadrupling the engagement in under two years. I also worked on several promotional campaigns, helping to achieve two sell out UK tours, two number one albums and two Classic BRIT awards. In all three instances, fan campaigns were instrumental in the results. Things don’t always run smoothly. Fans fall out, links fail just as special offers for gig tickets go live and occasionally I get misquoted, but I’ve met hundreds of wonderful people and their support meant that my first eBook, How To Create A Fan Blog,became an Amazon bestseller on publication in 2017.
Through all this, thanks to Alfie Boe‘s encouragement to listen to something fresh and different – I’ve been introduced to new, exciting music from extraordinarily talented musicians too. That’s where life is turning next. As Alfie said, tongue in cheek, when we talked at Kenwood, I’m leaving old musicians for new ones. I’ve been headhunted to the team at Angry Baby Ltd, one of the fastest growing new music platforms in the U.K. It just shows what can happen when you take up your own challenge.
But I’m not leaving Alfie – or you – behind. Just involved in more music (another thing I have to thank Alfie for) – so if you like discovering new music, why not join me and subscribe there? Click here to do so.