Former Worthing rough sleeper releases debut single: ‘Music has always been there for me’
A 70-year-old Worthing man who found solace in his music while sleeping on the streets has released his debut single.
John Gailbraith has played and written music from an early age, sticking with it during his darkest moments, before joining Host Recordings, a record label set up for people who are or have experienced being homeless.
At the Shoreham-based studio, director David O’Connell, with fellow musicians Nathan Marshall and Russell Gallagher, helped John write his first single, Richmond.
Rather than focus on the negatives of John’s past, the nostalgic song focuses on fond memories of happier times.
”From a very early part of my life music has been important to me,” said John.
“It’s never been about fame and fortune, I would say it’s a kind of therapy. When I was a kid and times were hard, music seemed to help me through my sadness and loneliness.
“When I was depressed, music was like a tonic. I would sing to myself for a little while and for a while I would forget all my troubles.
“When I ended up on the street I met people like myself who had nowhere to live. Some would offer me drugs – I suppose it was their way of dealing with life but I knew that was not the answer.
“I have had a lot of sorrow and heartache in my life but music has always been there for me.”
The single was released today (June 7) on music platform Bandcamp and will be supported at a number of events over the summer.
John will be appearing at local festivals including the Worthing Big Busk and Beach Dreams Festival.
David O’Connell, who founded Host Recordings, said John was inspirational to work with.
He said: “John is an incredibly life-affirming musician to work with – not only has he got huge talent as a songwriter and singer but the sheer fact that he has stuck at it for this long and has used music as a healing positive force is an inspiration.
“Musicians like John should inspire any songwriters out there who think they are ‘past it’ – as John demonstrates whenever he plays or writes, any musician who sticks to their values, stays creative and never gives up on their music is never past it.”