LAKES singer-songwriter Adrian Ventura has been biding his time before putting out his debut release.

The songs have been there for some time, but the Bowness-based musician has been working up the courage to commit his tracks to tape.

"I’d always wanted to do an album but was too scared of recording studios," he says.

"I do live music, and this was alien to me."

Since moving to Cumbria from his native Zimbabwe aged 16, Adrian has been looking to make his mark on the live circuit.

Teaching himself to sing along to Queen's Greatest Hits I-III, and learning guitar at home, he got into gigging when his friend Matt Lidiard used to allow him to perform during his breaks at local pub shows.

Originally it was all acoustic covers, but as more of his own material began creeping in, he found his own sound, and six years on, he's just put out his debut EP, Diaspora.

"I’ve been playing some of the songs in my set for a while, but half of them are brand-new, unheard tracks - Your Way Out was written during the recording process.

"Writing songs is always a mix of fun and frustration. I wanted each of the songs to have a story behind them or a message for the listener.

"South Sea Prayer for example is a song about the weekends I went surfing with friends while living in Cornwall for a year. The water was always freezing but we made the most of it.

"I usually find it very difficult listening to my own recordings. I’m very fussy, so usually only hear mistakes I’ve made.

"However, I love how these songs have turned out - they sound like something in the charts, quality-wise."

A recording studio opening on his doorstep helped him take the leap of faith. Heavy Rain Sound Studio, in Windermere, has been welcoming local artists since last year, and its founder, Andris Kiss, stumbled across some of Adrian's home recordings online and offered his services.

Andris Kiss and Adrian Ventura "I was terrified at first - I’d never been in a proper studio environment before," admits Adrian.

"Andris was very reassuring and professional, so I quickly relaxed into the process and it was a lot of fun. He has a great way of bringing out the best in me when recording.

"After that I wasn’t so scared of it, and we ended up recording five more songs to make the EP.

"Each song has its own identity, incorporating different elements from the music I like - we have some dubstep drums, metal drums, reggae delay, pop vocals - I’m rather proud of them.

"People at my shows always compliment me on my eclectic mix of songs, and I think I really wanted to incorporate that dynamic into my recordings. Andris was a great help with this too, bringing his own influences to the table.

"Feedback so far has been very humbling - just great responses to the songs."

Ambitious Adrian has big hopes for the record, not only to showcase his music, but to send a message that there is plenty of talent in this part of the world.

Some of the musicians he regularly shares festival bills with have gone on to make an impression beyond the North West - and Adrian hopes that his music reaches far beyond that too.

"I want Cumbrians to be proud that this record was made right here, and I want Zimbabweans to be proud that it was made by someone of their diaspora.

"Grassroots music is the best. We have some great bands in Cumbria - Molly Warburton, Paper Cranes, Late Night Fiasco - but people seem more concerned about X-Factor and Britain's Got Talent. People often tell me that if I go on either of those shows they’d vote for me, which is nice, but I think they’re missing the point.

"I truly hope that this record shows that you don’t need to be on one of those shows to make music that moves, relaxes, or inspires people.

"I’d just like people to check out, not just my music, but all local acts. I’m constantly amazed how much live music there is, even in the most rural parts of the county.

"I think people will be surprised by the quality of the sound created by Heavy Rain Sound Studio, and from a local musician.

"Hopefully it will inspire them to support their local music, rather than the latest fad on TV."

Diaspora, by Adrian Ventura, is available from all major digital retailers now.

  • Catch Adrian playing live at Ruskins, in Kendal, on Friday April 21. Music starts at 8.30pm and support comes from Hayden Sorrenson