Rebel with a cause gives students a music masterclass

Steve Harley apex
Steve Harley apex
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Musician and singer Steve Harley visited West Suffolk College to talk about his experience of the music industry.

Harley, who topped the charts with Cockney Rebel in 1975, took part in a 90-minute question and answer session with music students.

The musician made a big impression on the students, including Alex Sangster, 16, from Sudbury, who is studying a BTec extended diploma in music technology.

“Everyone was impressed,” he said. “I just sat there in awe.”

Harley, who lives in Suffolk, close to the border with Essex, said the music world was “a different world to the one I entered in the early 1970s”.

“We went on tour losing money and sold albums to make money,” he said. “Now we play a lot of live shows to make money.”

He said he loved touring, although many musicians could not take it because they spent a lot of time in airports and it was quite a lonely life.

The pop and rock singer, who has released 140 songs, said he was not a fan of free downloading, saying: “It’s our copyright and our livelihood.”

Chris Shaw, 17, from Great Barton, who joined Alex in putting students’ questions to Harley, said: “It was really interesting to me as a songwriter,

“I got a lot of insight into how he writes and where the inspiration comes from, as well as where you can go and what to do with it.”

Harley told the students not to go into the music industry for the money, but because they were passionate about it.

He also took his guitar along and gave an intimate performance.