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  • Writer's pictureChristian Anderson Smith

Lessons From A One-man Band Singing Sensation*

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

Prologue- A Beginning -Oslo House, Hackney Wick, London After fifteen years of being, Mayor McCa- one-man band singing sensation I found myself at a standstill. I had just finished recording my sixth album which was complex, silly, heavy, depressing and above all, manic. Like all my songs, it represented my life at the time. I'd just moved into a warehouse/ living space with the woman who would become my wife. I was still deeply confused about the suicide of my youngest brother, Marc. I'd made a career that would take me to places that I never thought I'd go and I was writing better songs than I ever had. Yet, I still struggled to make a living from making and playing music. And as time went on I realised I was no longer loving what I did, anyway. I knew it was time for a change but I really didn't know what. No one seemed to want to put my record out and I was getting drunk most gig nights just to get through the monotony of one-man banding. In short: I felt lost. About a month previously my old friend, Christopher Mills and his girlfriend, Gaelle LeGrand came to London to make a video for Canadian country singer, Jim Cuddy. It was shortly after the London riots which started, a couple of neighbourhoods over from where I lived and spread across the city. Christopher needed someone to take him around to where the burnt out buildings, graffiti-filled walls and remnants of the riots, remained. We made a deal, that if I could take him around for a day, he'd take some footage of me and make a little video for one of my new songs. It was an unnecessary gesture as I would have done it anyway but of course, I jumped at the chance to have another video made by such a talented director. He asked if I had any songs that were kind of down and dark so I suggested my song, '”Depression”. We spent a bit of time filming and concluded the day with a lovely dinner and conversation. We bid each other farewell and sent them on their way with the footage from the day and a copy of my new, yet-to-be-released album. About a week later, I received a Facebook message from Christopher:

"Christopher: Dude, seriously, this record is killing us. Am I allowed to ask a well intentioned professional type question? Me: I'm really pleased to hear that. So few people have heard it and it's been so long I wonder if it's still good. Ha! Christopher: Have you ever thought about releasing something as "Christian Anderson Smith", or "C.A. Smith" vs "Mayor McCa" (tell me to shut the fuck up if this is an annoying question) (PS- it brought Gaelle and I to tears (literally) the first time we heard it - mostly from it's honesty / beauty...) Me: Wow man. That is awesome. Ya, I have thought about that. In fact, this might be Mayor McCa's last album. It's just hard to put something you've worked at for 15 years to rest, ya know? I was thinking about calling my new new project, "Someone You Love". Don't tell anybody. Good name eh?" There was message-silence for about twenty minutes. Then Christopher got back in touch: "Christopher: What's the most honest, real, most simple, basic and pure, "you". C.A. Or Christian Anderson? I think that's got a be it- you tell such a good truth with these songs- they're so honest...that's what's so beautiful about them. It'd be equally beautiful if they came from this person, more so than this great idea you've had for 15 years.... I dunno - some people educate themselves to become doctors or lawyers or philosophers etc for 15 years and they leave the education behind them to become something else...maybe that's one way of looking at it... is hard to leave things behind, sometimes - but sometimes that's also exactly the reason to do it. You certainly made the trip out there to London and got to re-invent th wheel a bit while there - maybe this kind of thing is an appropriate final step? Dunno - these are just my ideas that come while listening to these songs and thinking about what I know about you... I know that creative-world is a place with too many cooks and lots of folks with 'advice' . Don't let me be one of those obnoxious ones, okay. Obviously it's your gut and your art that's most important, here....but I can't help but wonder if it's time to leave the 'act' behind and let the 'beautiful person who wrote these songs' to be at the front of the line.... Whaddaya think?" Respectfully, CM And with that, I made the decision to stop being a one-man band. I spoke to my girlfriend and colleagues and friends Eric Warner and Danny Keir, all of whom thought it would be best to put my beloved Mayor to rest. I have not a lot to show from my fifteen years as a one-man band but the art, itself and the lessons I learned along the way. I’ve got a kid now and a bit of distance from my former life that I'd like for him to know about one day.

I considered writing a book but let's be honest: that it would surely be a vanity project with a nostalgic and very small audience. So I’ve decided to present this would-be-book in essay form for free as a blog. I’ve entitled it, “Lessons Learned From A One-man Band Singing Sensation”. Alternative titles can be found here. I hope you'll enjoy this excercise. Stay tuned for new chapters soon. Sincerely, Christian Anderson Smith Mayor of McCaland *alternative titles considered: How To Become An Indie Legend That No One Remembers The Gratuitous Name Dropping Blog

How To Never Make It In The Music Business

The Self-Proclaimed One-man Band Singing Sensation

394 Mayor McCa Voters Can't Be Wrong ReplyForward

348 views2 comments


May 26, 2023

I couldn't stop reading. I was right into the story, even seeing it unfold in my head. I'll be waiting for more!


Paul Gresch
Paul Gresch
May 24, 2023

Hope you're well, CA. Will look forward to hearing this record.


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