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British troubadour Connor Selby had a clear idea of who and what he wanted to be at a very young age. Upon discovering blues, soul and folk music at ten years of age, he started on a journey that has taken him into the heart of the music he loves.
Raised in an Essex village, he has already trodden a path less travelled. Spending part of his early years in Connecticut, USA, he moved back to his home county before relocating to Dubai, UAE, between the formative age of ten and fourteen, and then back to Essex. Those young eyes soaked up the travels and the changes that were passing him by. Too young to remember Connecticut, he has fond memories of Dubai, "It was quite a contrast to England. I remember going to an international school and meeting lots of different people from all over the world, who like me, had recently been thrusted into this new environment. There wasn't the division that you might expect in a community comprised of people of so many different nationalities. We all bonded over the fact that we were in this new place, that none of us really felt we belonged to. Strangely, when I returned to England, I found people to be colder and I didn't feel that same sense of camaraderie and community that I experienced in Dubai, despite being back in my home-town."
One thing that kept with him was his burgeoning love of American roots music. "I got interested in not just the music itself but the history and everything around it," he says. "I wanted to learn and listen as much as I could. The artists, their lives and their lineage. Tracing it back to see how it connects, like a tapestry. I think it's important for someone who isn't from that cultural background to treat it with the respect it deserves. You can't separate the music from its historical context."
"I love the directness, the simplicity and earthiness of it," he adds. "I love really how down-to-earth; it is both lyrically and musically. I think with the blues, it's fundamentally about very basic human emotions. Things like sorrow and pride and exploring the way we deal with everyday situations and problems. I’ve also always been attracted to the authoritative quality of the music. As a kid and teenager, I was quite shy and not very self-assured, so I think it was a place for me to find a sense of power."
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