Sandy Beales of One Direction talked to aspiring young Helen Foundation musicians at JJ’s Arts Academy, Newton Abbot, this week, alongside similarly super-motivated students at JJ’s.
A bass guitar player, Sandy specialises in electric, synth and upright bass. From their first tour in 2011 until their Hiatus in 2015, Sandy toured and performed all over the globe with the worldwide phenomenon One Direction.
The tours spanned the world’s biggest Stadiums and arenas such as Wembley Stadium and Madison Square Garden. His time with them led him to perform on numerous international TV shows and award nights, including Saturday Night Live, The Late Late Show and the X Factor.
Currently, the bassist is teaching and mentoring students taking music degree courses in London, as well as continuing his career as a sessions bass player, particularly for the amazing performer, JP Cooper. His highly-rated and motivating talk to the young musicians ranged over popular music, being self-critical, selling oneself effectively in auditions and “putting it out there". “It’s tough!” he said. He stressed the importance of preparation, good time-keeping, being versatile and being personable and approachable.
Sandy demonstrated a variety of musical techniques using technology to enhance performance, and emphasized how your equipment must be up to the job of creating a great sound on whatever stage you perform on. He happily took some excellent questions afterwards by the truly engaged young audience, and willingly replied to all of them until time ran out.
Helen Foundation trustee Annie Kirk was an invited guest at the event that Joanna Walling, Director of JJ’s Arts Academy, hosted on behalf of Yamaha – part of the music company’s outreach to young people. The audience contained a goodly number of current Helen Foundation bursary holders and Helen Foundation Award winners.
“It was really inspirational!”, said Annie. “Hearing it – warts and all - from someone who has been at the very top of a super-tough profession was so important for these keen young musicians eager to make their own way in the music business. It was a vital reality check. It’s certainly no bed of roses… but as Sandy declared, so worth it!" Sandy Beales wrote afterwards to THF to say: "It was an absolute pleasure, I’m so glad to hear that everyone enjoyed it, and the fact we have managed to inspire some young musicians makes me very happy." Pictured is Sandy Beales, Joanna Walling and Annie Kirk