IT’S a rare move in the music industry. Switching from drummer to solo singer and acoustic guitarist is not a career path trodden by many.
But Holmfirth artist Stefan Melbourne is one of the few to make the brave move.
And while he’s missing the Holme Valley countryside the 24-year-old is loving his new life forging out a name for himself on the Manchester music scene.
Stefan found himself in the Red Rose county when the members of Northern Beats all decided to relocate there.
They renamed the band Blacklight and were hoping to push on, but things soon went sour.
He said: “We all came to Manchester with these pre-conceived ideas of making it in the big city but it became a lot harder than we were originally thinking.
“Everyone’s ideas started moving slightly and people were moving in different directions.
“So, that kind of fell apart, so last September I decided to pursue the solo acoustic route and it seems to be developing really well.”
Stefan said the split of the band had actually been a blessing in disguise for his desire to write and perform his own material.
He said: “For a long time I was just writing songs in my bedroom while I was playing in the band.
“I was just a member of Blacklight but it was quite hands on. I’d always try and have an influence on the songs and did some backing vocals and harmonies.
“I wasn’t the sole songwriter by any means but it was definitely something that I had input in.
“But once that fell apart I thought I might as well try and get out there, do a few open mics and get myself heard.
“I’m really enjoying being a solo artist.
“I can turn up to a venue with just my acoustic guitar and play rather than having to lug a drum kit around, it’s a lot easier in that aspect.
“It’s a funny one, you’ve got a lot to hide behind when you’re a drummer and it’s all loud and you can’t hear if there are any mistakes.”
Stefan said Manchester was proving to be a good market for his folk meets Bluegrass sound and said he had met some good contacts.
“I’ve developed a bit of momentum and I’m getting a bit of interest,” he said.
“I’ve played down at the Eden Project in Cornwall for Manchester Aid for Kosovo, which was pretty amazing.
“They set up a stage right in the middle of one of the domes, so that was pretty amazing.
“I’ve also supported JP Cooper, an up and coming singer songwriter from Manchester at his EP launch at the Comedy Store.
“There’s a great scene over here and there’s couple of artists that I’ve managed to get in with like JP, a girl called Rae Morris and Karina Francis.
“I’ve had the pleasure of supporting them and it’s been great because everyone knows each other’s songs.
“It’s good when you’ve got an artist that you admire that complements your work.
“I just want to keep on recording new material and getting the gigs, but it’s still really early days, I’ve only been going since last September.”
Next week music fans will have a chance to hear Stefan’s work when he performs at Bar 1:22 for the first time since the release of his debut EP.
Stefan said he was looking forward to heading back over the hills and showing everyone what he could do.
He said: “Bar 1:22 used to be my local haunt when I lived in Huddersfield, so I’m really looking forward to getting back.
“I know the guys down there and they just got in touch with me and asked if I’d like to come and headline a show.
“I’m hoping I can bring a guitarist and a singer but it could just be me solo.”
Stefan Melbourne’s debut EP, Before The Sun Sets, is available from his website www.stefanmelbourne.co.uk