A regular performer at various Jazz Festivals from Southport to Nantwich to Marlborough, musician and songwriter Vernon Fuller has also appeared at the legendary Ronnie Scott’s Jazz club in London. But his music is not just Jazz: it is reminiscent of Motown, has a little Latin or a little Reggae thrown in here and there and some R&B and Funk for good measure. While Fuller’s sound clearly explores the spectrum of music possibilities in various genres, it is firmly grounded in Soul.
Vernon has played support for Courtney Pine CBE, Geno Washington, Acoustic Alchemy, Snake Davis and The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and been featured and/or appeared on Jazz FM, wa12 radio, Thisisthecat radio, Itmattersradio Jazz Juice Radio, The Spread and Siren FM.
1inmusic met with Vernon for an interview:
Hi Vernon, I’m not sure you’d agree with our description of your music. How would YOU name your sound and what makes your performance style unique?
FunkaLatinoSoulJazzReggaBlues! Fun, funky, soulful and jazzy. One Guitar with One Voice = Groove Merchant
Music is one of the really important aspects of my life. It’s difficult for me to imagine a silent world. It’s an expressive way of communicating, telling a story and having an impact on emotions. The best thing in music is… connecting with the audience, making them laugh, smile, cry or dance. When people get excited over my music, it is… Rewarding, thrilling… knowing that my song(s) have moved someone in some small way is humbling.
What shaped your music and who supports you?
My dad was from New Orleans so I guess that’s where my love of jazz comes from! I used to go out dancing and clubbing to music by James Brown, Funkadelic, Parliament and Rufus amongst many others. The songs on my “Music of my Youth” CD mirror a lot of the music that I love and loved before I ‘branched out’ into a love of Jazz.
My wife has been my greatest encourager, champion and critic. Recently, quite a few independent broadcasters have been very supportive too.
When did you know you were going to make music professionally?
I have been doing music professionally on a part-time basis until 4 years ago. I started off ‘auto-didact’ and had some formal music training later on my career. I think that a mix of both can be beneficial.
What type of music do you listen to?
I listen to… Music Styles: World Music, Jazz (All sorts), Soul, Reggae, Blues & Funk. Artists: War, Anouar Brahem, Pat Metheny, George Benson, John Coltrane, Stevie Wonder. I listen to both lyrics and music..
Who, to you, is the most undervalued music artist?
Bjork. Also a band that I used to jam with in London years ago called Kandidate. They appeared on Top of the Pops but their music that didn’t chart was so much better than the music most people at the time, heard.
How do you prepare for your performances?
Prayer and ad-hoc practice if solo or with Twin Frets. Proper practices when playing in the larger soul or jazz band.
What ignites your (song) writing flow / what gets you writing songs??
Usually a “good” chord sequence or rhythm.
What do you do when you don’t do music (creative or otherwise) and that you are passionate about?
Jesus (runs through all that I do including the music). And, encouraging others to fulfil their potential. I love encouraging others.
I run community singing groups, choirs, teach guitar and facilitate Singing For The Brain sessions for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Music is an expressive way of communicating, telling a story and having an impact on emotions. If I didn’t write and perform, I’d probably be a bit of a show-off trying my hand at acting. I used to love acting in my youth. I’m just beginning to learn to cook/bake.
Success to you is…
1) Having at least one of my songs played regularly on the radio and 2) Performing my songs at music festivals nationally and internationally.
Any upcoming projects?
1) Recording a single “Let’s Run To A Place” which will be released later this year.
2) Form a Blues Guitar trio bass, drums guitar/voice.
Why did you choose to do song writing and performing and if you didn’t do that, what would you have done?
It’s an expressive way of communicating, telling a story and having an impact on emotions. If I didn’t write and perform, I’d probably be a bit of a show-off trying my hand at acting.
What do you wish you have been told when you started out and that you think would help anyone who starts out?
Get professional help, someone who can ‘make things happen’ who has integrity and believes in you.
Thank you Vernon!