West Sussex country singer explores the way men open up... or don't

Mitchell Kersley, a country artist from Pagham, releases his third single this month (October) in aid of mental health charity MIND.

Mitchell Kersley
Mitchell Kersley

I Only Cry When I’m Drinking taps into a typically male way of coping, explains Mitchell who works as a teaching assistant at Muntham House School at Barns Green.

“It is about being so masculine that you don’t open up until you have been exposed to copious amounts of alcohol and then it all comes flooding out and then in the morning you are saying ‘I didn’t really mean what I said.’

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“It’s obviously not everyone, but it is a common issue that gets discussed quite a lot.”

Mitchell has found success with his two singles so far. The first had almost 30,000 streams on Spotify. The second reached number five in the country charts.

“Weirdly, I have just always loved country music. I have always really been into it. It’s the story-telling in country music that I really love.

“I went to Nashville last year, and it was just an amazing experience.

“It’s like the best place on earth. The live scene there is just incredible.

“There is the main drag where you have got all the bars, and there are three or four storeys to each bar and in each someone is playing. Everybody is really happy and just playing.

“It is very, very, very competitive but there is such a music community that you would not be able to tell that from the outside looking in. It is an amazing place.

“I am hoping to get back there next year if Covid allows.”

For the moment Mitchell has got physical copies of his first EP Dusk available from his website.

He expects to release it digitally within the next few months.

As soon as he was big enough to hold a guitar, Mitchell began learning and writing songs.

In his teens, he dedicated his time to the study of music at both college and university. It was here that he really honed in on his brand of country sound.

Mitchell became profoundly inspired by the likes of Brad Paisley, George Strait, Chris Stapleton and Garth Brooks.

A trip to music city in 2019 for the CMA Fest cemented his passion and lit the fuse for the creation of Dusk.

Mitchell describes the EP as a mixed bag of songs, from upbeat outlaw country to slow acoustic ballads.

The premise of the EP is a reflection upon his own life and musical journey, he explains.

“I write all my stuff myself, the music and the lyrics.

“And it is pretty much recorded at home, just me plus my guitar.

“And then I play extra bits using computer recording software and then I send it off to the producer.

“The songs vary to be honest (in terms of lyrical content). The songs are not particularly linked.

“The writing is about how I feel at the time, what comes to mind. I just get it down on paper and thrash it out and then the song comes.

“Lockdown gave me the opportunity to finish the EP.”

In fact, lockdown gave Mitchell the chance to get ahead.

“I wouldn’t have had time before to do things as quickly as I have.

“But in lockdown I was writing all the time and recording all the time.

“It gave me the chance to smash through it all.

“It was a blessing in disguise in a way.”

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