Terry Logan, musician
Local writer and storyteller, George Murphy interviews local characters and personalities
After performing at Hebden's Happy Valley Pride Weekend, Mytholmroyd's dynamic soul, reggae, folk musician Terry Logan explains how she developed her music during lockdown. Looking back, Terry describes how her mixed heritage has influenced her song writing. Local fans will have watched Terry perform as part of the dynamic Logan and Manley duo, their music was described as 'a celebration'. Now, post lockdown, Terry's career is about to take a new turn.
In this interview she talks about her background, the role of Emma, her wife and manager, her job as a Lead Chief Mentor and chooses some videos of her performances to share with you.
Terry Logan Q&A
Well Terry, for better or worse, we've come out of Lockdown, possibly for the last time. How have you fared?
I don't think anyone can fully comprehend yet exactly what it has meant for them, as we're still in the midst of its effects. If I had to explain, I'd start by saying that lockdown has allowed reflection and change.
Like many, the way in which I lived my life dramatically shifted. That was both an uplifting and liberating experience. On a practical level, I was unable to perform, see family or friends, or even pop down to the shops. It's been incredibly frustrating to have what felt like oppressive restrictions imposed, and I have desperately missed being able to sing in front of a live audience or be close to the people I love. At times, especially in the winter months, it was very isolating, but there was an acceptance that all of these experiences were for the greater good, mostly to keep people safe.
I'm a great believer in everything happening for a reason though, and when we are forced to stop, I think it's a clear indication to take stock and reflect on where we are and where we'd like to go, and that's exactly what I did. I took time to practise on my guitar and write about how I was feeling. I definitely made massive progress with my wig collection, for which I occasionally went supermarket shopping to great amusement. Most of all, it gave me time to see where I wanted to go in the future. I realised the music I am writing was going in a new direction, which has been an exciting journey for me. Ultimately, it has given me a greater appreciation of what is important to me, and for that I'm extremely grateful.
Chatting to you, I get the impression that your parents were very supportive. Can you tell us more about your mum and dad?
I feel really lucky to have grown up in an ethnically diverse family. My mum and dad are literally from opposite ends of the world and I feel that has given me an instinctive ability to understand a range of cultural and emotional perspectives. My mum is from Guyana in South America, and her passion for life, sense of humour and addiction to the hottest chillies in the world has rubbed off on me. My dad is from a quiet village in Kent, and his thirst for knowledge, deeply analytical nature and calm and caring demeanour have also been a great influence.
Both my parents have a massive love of music, and even met on the dance floor. I used to watch my mum dancing in the kitchen to reggae, which is an awesome sight to see. I also used to raid my dad's record collection, which ranged from classical to Celtic folk, to northern soul, to Brit pop.
Were you a happy child? Did you encounter any difficulties at school because of your ethnicity?
Growing up in Rochdale wasn't always easy. There were only two students in my primary school of a different ethnicity. It's sadly and strangely funny now to look back and realise that I probably avoided being bullied for that because I told everyone I had a sun tan. I'd like to say that things have progressed massively since then and there have been many positive changes. The truth is though, that we're still living in a world where difference is dangerous and prejudice exists. I'd also like to think that the conversations around the negative isms in our society have matured and the viewpoints have become much more balanced and reasoned.
Looking back at your early musical education, you've described yourself as 'a bedroom performer'? Were you singing to a hairbrush, were instruments involved? Did you have any musical heroes back then?
Even though music is a huge part of who I am, for as long as I remember, it wasn't until in my early 20s that I had the confidence to perform publicly. I started to play the piano at 12, and I used to spend hours listening to my favourite songs and trying to replicate them by ear. I didn't like the idea of lessons because I thought it would take away the sense of joy and freedom I had from music. It was completely my own world and I could escape there as often as I liked.
When I got bored with simply mimicking, I started to write my own songs. These songs mirrored what I was feeling and certain experiences in my life, because to me music was and is a deeply personal thing. For a time, it was enough to write and sing for myself. In all honesty I don't think anyone would want to listen to my streams of consciousness songs. I also had no confidence in my voice. It was only after listening to an India Arie album, called Acoustic Soul over and over again that I wanted to share what I wanted to say. So you could say that she taught me how to sing.
As a student in Leeds you performed with a hip hop band?
I was told through a friend that a hip hop band in Leeds needed a singer, so I went to the audition (after a sip of brandy) and got the gig as it were. We had so much fun in the 3 years I was with them and it really taught me how to play with rhythm and beats and how to ad lib on the spot.
Once I had the chance to perform in front of people, I've loved it ever since and I haven't looked back. I still get really nervous though because I love to perform, but those nerves are like an old, welcome, but annoying friend.
When did you and the Chris Manley become a duo?
I have played with so many extremely talented musicians and playing in Logan and Manley is a wonderful example of those experiences. I first met Chris at a Hebden pub 6 years ago and as soon as we played together we knew that our musicality was a good match. I was lucky to find that he's a really nice guy as well, so working together has felt easy and natural.
We've had some amazing times, as well as getting to support real legends, such as the late Lee Scratch Perry, Natty and Chris Helme. We recorded two EPs and toured across the UK and abroad. Highlights were selling out the Trades club for our EP launch, opening the main stage at the Beat Herder festival and performing at Ronnie Scott's.
Over lockdown, we both realised we were heading in different directions and wanted different things for our futures. Chris had gone back to university to study and train as a counsellor. It's something he's always felt a calling for and I'm sure he is going to develop into an extremely talented practitioner. The whole experience of Logan and Manley has been one of joy and celebration, and I will always look back on that period very fondly.
Your website described your act as looping 'a sonic landscape of dynamic vocals, guitars and electric drums'. Can you please choose a Logan & Manley video performance to share with fans and readers?
So what are your future plans?
When I think about the future and the possibilities, I feel great. Most simply, I'll get to play live again, but there are some exciting developments on the horizon. I have been developing a solo set and I've been collaborating with a number of different musicians, with some fantastically talented female friends, so watch this space.
OK, Terry, what's your favourite food?
Apart from everything, I'd have to say chillies.
The Colour Purple by Alice Walker. I've loved this book since I was a child and I also felt quite sentimental about the film too.
Favourite artist at the moment?
That's a difficult one. It would have to be between Michael Kiwanuka and The Black Pumas.
How do you keep fit?
My favourite thing is to go walking anywhere I can. It clears the head - and I love nature too.
What makes you laugh?
Mostly the ridiculous things I can do and say sometimes, I come from a healthy line of people who see the necessity of being able to laugh at yourself.
Please can you choose another of your songs for us, captured on video?
Tell me about your new role with Happy Valley Pride.
The position to become a Youth Engagement Officer was advertised last year. Fortunately, I was selected to take on the very necessary task of developing awareness of diversity and inclusion within a range of schools and age groups across Calderdale. I feel extremely proud and lucky to take on this role, especially working with Happy Valley Pride who are such an exceptional organisation and who I've supported and known for years.
It's been really rewarding to work with young people in this context because I believe that helping to create a space where they feel safe exploring who they are and expressing that in creative ways is absolutely essential for growing up in a healthy way. Next year we are aiming for activities and events to expand even further and it'll be exciting to see what happens.
You've just performed as part of the Hebden Bridge Pride Weekend. What's it been like getting back into performance mode?
After not being able to perform to a live audience and not not being able to celebrate our wonderful differences together, being part of this year's festival was really special. There was a total feeling of joy, solidarity and family everywhere you looked, and I don't think I have seen that many happy faces in one place for a long time. Not only did I get the chance to perform my own solo set, I had the massive honour of getting to sing with Legendary Horse. It's a moment that will stay with me for ever, and the great thing is, she's a genuinely lovely person.
I also felt so proud of the students from the project I have been running who came along to talk about some of their experiences. i'm sure that everybody who was there that day felt like we'd all finally come home.
You've been married for six years. I believe Emma is also your manager? Can you describe her role behind the scenes?
In all honesty, I don't know what I would do without Emma. I certainly wouldn't be the person I am today and my musical journey would definitely not be as well developed. She not only helps with organising gigs, promotion and honest feedback within the writing process, she is also crucial to the inspiration of my art and my heart. I'm grateful for it all.
You've said that you've changed your approach to songwriting recently, partly inspired by the poetry of Maya Angelou?
With the writing process, or any process, it's absolutely essential that it continues to grow as we grow. If it doesn't, it means we are not reflecting this change within us or, more saddening, we're not allowing ourselves to change. I feel like the sounds and even the way I'm writing is changing.
One thing I've noticed is me getting inspired by one of my favourite poets, Maya Angelou, and writing a song around one of her poems; something which I've never done before. I'm also experimenting with different instruments, and recording platforms too, and it feels exciting and liberating.
Time to choose a final video for us please!
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