Lonely.

We all love a damaged singer, don’t we? Maybe it’s just me.

And when a singer releases an album called “Dear…”, and I read the absolutely perfect line “‘Dear…’ makes ‘For Emma…’ sound like Skrillex”, well, it must be love.

However, my admission of love might in fact scare off Keaton Henson, a 23-year-old singer from the UK. As might my posting a picture. Let’s try anyway…

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An article from the Guardian can explain this better than I:

The 24-year-old illustrator-cum-singer-songwriter, who self-released his debut Dear… through Bandcamp at the end of 2010, has never played the usual industry games. Recording in solitude in his Richmond bedroom in London, he’s amassed something of a cult following in a rarefied indie niche. But now, signed to Radiohead’s management, and having re-released Dear… through Oak Records in April, the prospect of coming face-to-face with his public is one that Henson has to confront. And it troubles him.

A series of panic attacks plagued his childhood – this much he admits, but he won’t explain why. After a series of live dates supporting the BalletBoyz at Sadler’s Wells in 2010, he went into hiding after finding he suffered from crippling stage fright. “I’ve always struggled with live music, both as a spectator and performer,” he tells me. “I used to enjoy going to live shows, but felt a strange jealousy. No part of me wanted to share the music with which I had such a profound relationship with a room full of (often drunk and chatty) strangers.”

However, as of this month, Keaton played two gigs in London – online reviews unfound to date. However, and more seriously, this latter quote of his is key – from Henson’s own website, in a section labelled “Intrude”, are a few lines which speak volumes:

Dear unknown
I hope you listen as though it were all for you
I hope she knows it was.
I hope you can forget the fact I do both
It meant more before.
The Author

So, to me, this music was never meant for us. And how can you not love a man quoted as saying:

If I can make the audience (in spite of how many of them there are) feel as lonely as I do, using the space and situation, everything makes more sense.

From Henson’s 2012 “The Lucky” EP, I give you the utterly, utterly heartbreaking “To Your Health” – nothing but plucked electric guitar and Henson’s tremulous falsetto, and a song that in anyone else’s hands, would be bitter and scathing. In Henson’s? Bitter. Scathing. And beautiful.

I’ve also included two videos for this song as well – while as powerful aurally as visually, there’s just…something…about these.

Keaton Henson wants us to feel as lonely as he does. Who are we to disagree?

So make mine a pain in the neck
Here’s to you, you old wreck
And mine is a thorn in the side
Drink up, so we can both finally die

And I’ll have a bright yellow boat
With nothing to row
With nothing to row

So make mine an all out of luck
Here’s to you, you miserable fuck
And why did you finally leave?
’cause all you think of is me
’cause all you think of is me

To your health
To your health

So make mine a pain in the neck
Here’s to you, you old wreck

Keaton Henson – To Your Health

www: Keaton’s official website; the only existing Facebook Page, run by fans; his Vimeo page, and that’s about it, to be honest.

4 comments

  1. I’m already quite at home in a space that many consider lonely. I am more than happy to permit the melancholy bliss of Keaton Henson to share my space. He makes “lonely” sound like a coveted destination.

    Lovely write-up.

  2. Wow … to your health is a great song…i cant wait to dive into him a little more. his voice combined with the slightly overdriven guitar sounds amazing. ps. your posts are great, thanks for taking the time to write so expressively with your thoughts and opinions on the artist. makes me come back to this blog every day.

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