So for those who don’t know, could you describe your sound please?
Hugh Gunningham: My sound… Well, I’m a soloist, mainly acoustic, but I also do electric, I have an electric guitar with me today and I’m gonna do an electric set. My sound is quite Poppy, quite Folky with a little bit of blues in there as well.
Who would you say are your major influences?
HG: There’s a little bit of [Bob] Dylan in there, but also people like John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Andy McKey, Newton Faulkner, that kind of thing. I’m also interested in the American-English emphasis; so you have people like John Mayer, whose roots are firmly in the blues genre, whereas, the English scene is much more Folky at the moment, especially with soloists.
So how do you feel you place amongst contemporary soloists, such as Ed Sheeran?
HG: Well, I suppose having Red Hair, I do get unfavourably compared to Ed Sheeran, but I love Ed Sheeran, his first album was great. However, the comparison is levelled a lot, but I don’t mind.
How open do you feel the music public are to singer-songwriters? Given that you do have figures like Dylan, Mayer and more recently Sheeran, but they only really come round once in a blue moon.
HG: Well, I think Ed Sheeran makes for a good example, he’s done very well for himself, but there’s definitely a rarity to singer-songwriters. I think the charts at the moment are a difficult place for a singer songwriter, which is unfortunate. If you’re lucky you can make significant success for yourself if you try hard enough, such as Ed Sheeran.
So what made you want to play at Summer Party?
HG: Well, I earned my place at Summer Party by winning a competition called Discovery, which is run by Joe Wann, I think it’s the second or third year. And basically I saw that it advertised that the winner would get a slot on the Main Stage at Summer Party, which I thought was a nice opportunity. I entered and here I am.
So what do you have going on, in terms of material in the future?
HG: Well, over the Summer I’m going to use the time I have on my hands, and begin writing and recording an EP. It will be composed of all my own songs and will hopefully come out when I get back to University in either September or October.
Out of interest, what are you studying at Nottingham?
HG: Mechanical Engineering.
As I understand it, that takes up a large amount of time. Have you found it difficult to manage degree work and artistic work?
HG: Well yes, it is a juggle between the two, but I’ll have to dedicate more time to studies next year, but after that I should be able to focus more time on music. I’d definitely like to take a further look into how far I could take music.