On Friday 19th October BASCA presented a Gold Badge Award to songwriter Chris Difford, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to music. Chris’ award was presented by fellow songwriter Mark Nevin and ahead of the ceremony BASCA spoke to Chris about the award and his songwriting:
How do you feel about receiving a Gold Badge Award from the songwriting and composing community?
I feel deeply honoured and full of pride, to receive this award is something very special.
What has been the most pivotal moment in your career?
Pivotal moments are like signposts, they point me in the right direction, there have been many. Possibly placing an add in a sweetshop window for a guitarist to join a band in 1973 would have been one of the most significant.
Which person has been the most influential figure in your career and why?
Elton John I first saw play at Wembley in 1974 supporting The Beach Boys, he played the whole of his new album to a hot and hungry crowd, which was brave. I admire his kindness and his giving back, his dedication to family and friends, his work ethic and his love. It’s inspiring.
What one piece of advice would you give your young self, starting out in music?
Speak up, be heard and be in the moment with everyone. Be the person you want to be and not the person others think you are.
Your lyrical style has been described as ‘kitchen sink-drama’. Where do you draw inspiration from when writing?
I find inspiration in day dreaming, listening and being that guy who writes songs for a living, he is the most important person. I try to always find inspiration in my day, it was easier back in the day, when there seemed to be more time.
Why did you set up your songwriting retreats and what have you learnt since their conception over 25 years ago?
I first went to a songwriting retreat in France run by my manager at the time, on the drive home I thought I could do that but not make it so exclusive. I wanted to open it up for everyone who picks up a pen or a guitar, and that’s what I hope to do. There is after all a song in all of us.
In 2010, you curated Songs in the Key of London, a celebration of music from, and about, the capital. What do you think about the current climate of British music?
The pond we look into as writers and singers is always welcoming another reflection, there are no boundaries and I think that’s great. The industry has changed so much since I began and I have no clue what the climate really is today. I think it’s always just about right, but we could do with a little more lyric.
Your songwriting partnership with Glenn Tilbrook is one that’s definitely stood the test of time. What, in your opinion, is the key to a successful collaborative songwriting relationship?
Good writing relationships I think depend on listening and learning, being open to change and being wrong. Knowing your boundaries strengths and weaknesses is essential. More than any of that you need a sharp pencil and a good sense of humour.
This interview was first published on www.basca.org.uk