Roz Firth explains how her YouTube channel has surpassed 1.5 million views with her innovative acoustic looping style.
Roz has performed at the London Acoustic Guitar Show and supported Fairport Convention while promoting her album ‘Passing Eyes’.
What drew you into the world of YouTube?
I thought it’d be interesting to put my own stuff up and get some feedback from people around the world that weren’t my biased family & friends!
How did you reach a larger audience?
A few of my videos were shared because they had percussive guitar elements in, which some people hadn’t really seen that much of. I deliberately chose a popular song to cover, which had been dominating the charts at the time, purely because people were more likely to click on it. This also boosted the views of my original songs which I care more about.
Most important lesson you have learned about social media?
It’s the perfect way to get constructive feedback from a random audience. It’s crazy to think that someone on other side of the world will take the time to listen to the music you’ve made.
A tip on performing in front of a camera?
I naturally and pretend I’m just practicing without any cameras. I think if you’re doing solo performances, it’s important to have more than one camera so you can switch angles every so often and make the video a little more interesting.
What equipment do you use?
I usually use a Canon Legria HD camcorder and a GoPro Hero3+. Sometimes I’ll use my phone too. I usually record the sound separately, simultaneously into some recording software to get a clearer sound.
What tips do you have for people who don’t have that equipment?
As long as you can actually see and hear what’s going on, it doesn’t matter too much. It’s worth saving up and getting something decent though – people are more likely to click on the better quality videos.
What obstacles have you had to overcome for your love of singing?
I’ve never had a powerful voice so I’ve always chose mellow songs to sing. I enjoy belting out certain tunes and really going for it, but then I find I’m concentrating so much that it’s hard to play any intricate guitar parts!
A performance FAIL?
One of the most embarrassing things that’s happened to me live was when I was performing a loop song. I’d set my loop pedal ready to record but then I accidentally scuffed my foot and the pedal picked the sound up and started recording too early so everything was out of time! I stopped and started again. As I was nervous of this happening again, I recorded the first loop way too quickly. By the time I’d realised that everything was 4x faster than usual, it was too late to go back and I basically had to rap the lyrics! On top of that, I couldn’t hear the main riff playing back through the monitors so I kept bringing the chorus back in (on the loop pedal) at the wrong times!
A few ingredients for a memorable vocal performance?
I love building up harmonies, which is why I enjoy looping so much! If you can build a song up gradually with vocals – keeping it minimal in the beginning and adding volume or texture towards the end– it can really add to the performance.
Tell us about your favorite singers?
I love Kelly Jones of the Stereophonics for his lovely gravelly voice. The same goes for Ray LaMontagne. I also like Jay Kay from Jamiroquai as his voice is so versatile and his songs are really fun to sing. One of my favourite bands is Everything Everything. I find their singer mesmerizing with how raw he sounds, especially live. I like Imogen Heap’s voice and how atmospheric her songs sound. I love KT Tunstall’s style of singing/playing.
Roz Firth combines fingerstyle guitar playing with exciting percussive techniques & sublime vocal lines. Influenced by artists such as Jon Gomm, Andy Mckee & Don Ross, she has incorporated her own unique style and evocative lyrics to create performances of such vitality and passion.