MY INSPIRATION: A Nation Rising | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Solo studio project A Nation Rising, formed in 2008 by Simon Lee, releases his new single, Like Nobody’s Watching. Described as a discussion of sorts about the TikTok/YouTube generation, it’s an upbeat, dancey number. Here, Simon tells us more about the inspiration behind the track.


Like Nobody’s Watching came about, lyrically at least, when I was driving home from work one afternoon. There were two girls – mid teens, probably – filming what I assumed was a TikTok video near Darlington town centre. They were in the middle of the pavement, dancing away – one of them was filming the other – and no matter what expressions happened to be on the faces of other pedestrians or passing motorists, they just didn’t care at all.

And that got me thinking about the prevalence of self-filmed videos. They’re everywhere! You just can’t go on Facebook or Instagram now without their algorithms bombarding you with people desperately hoping to “go viral” with their escapades. Whether it’s “this is totally real, honest!” car park or shop confrontations, or just people dancing or lip-synching (badly, usually!) to a song, the internet is absolutely rammed with people just crying out to make it big and seemingly not caring what they have to do or who they have to offend to make it happen.

As I am rushing towards ‘middle aged’ faster than I care to admit, it makes no sense to me. Maybe there’s an element of “I’d never have done that at their age!” or perhaps just some form of shyness, but it’s just the most bizarre thing to witness. It’s a literal ocean of videos like this nowadays and the likelihood of the vast majority of them making any sort of impact is, well, nil. And that started the lyric writing process for me. I already had the entire song recorded musically but I couldn’t think of a lyrical theme. I like my songs to tell a story and, luckily for me, these two amateur dancers in Darlington provided me with a story to tell. Well, them and the rest of the internet!

There is, of course, the comparison between ‘amateur dancers’ and ‘amateur musicians’, and that irony isn’t lost on me. They’d like people to appreciate their efforts and, frankly, so would I, so there’s at least part of a tongue firmly in my cheek as I’m singing! I have the idea for a video for the song in my head, and it’s an idea that pokes a sizeable amount of fun at both me and the concept of the song, but it remains to be seen if I’ll ever find the time or money (mostly money) to actually make it or not.”

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