Quite a common question people ask me is where do I get the ideas for my songs.
So I thought I'd try and shed a little light on what is probably my favourite song from my latest album Climb That Tree.
The song is called The Cat Came Too, and is essentially about a cat and a dog who are best friends and go everywhere together. They were based on my Mum and Dad's pets they had when they first met. The Cat was called William, named after Prince William, as the day my Mum got him was the same day Prince William was born. The dog was called Toby, which was short for his kennel club name 'Tobias Cinamon'. Together they were usually known as 'Toby and Wills'.
I was only one when Toby died, and I was eight when William died, so sadly I have no memory of the former and very little of the latter. However I grew up hearing stories about Toby and Wills and how when they took Toby for a walk, William would follow, often for long distances along the canal path in Shelton Lock in Derby where they lived. They also used to share baskets together and get up to all sorts of mischief. As far as a cat and a dog could be best friends, they were.
One day I was I was wandering round Sainsbury's doing the shopping, and a tune popped into my head. I still have no idea why, but for some reason the words that best fitted that tune were:
"We've got a dog named Toby, his best friends our Cat called Will."
I thought it would be fun to write a song about these two animals that clearly held such a special place in both my parents hearts. It took a long time to finish the song and to work the lyrics into a coherent story. Quite often the songs I write are snap shots - they sum up a moment or a feeling. But with this song I knew I wanted to tell a proper story.
When it came to recording the song, I knew from the start that I didn't want to use a proper posh grand piano all perfectly tuned and fancy. Instead I used a slightly old and battered upright piano that was sitting in the studio. It had that wonderful warm tone, or full of imperfections and character.
When I listen to the song, I like to think of my Mum and Dad with Toby and Wills starting their lives together and all the adventures they had.
You can listen to the song in full here: