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Freelance musician calls for more support for the arts

With the government under criticism about the lack of funding for the arts, especially for freelance performers, we talked to one aspiring artist trying to breakthrough.

Thomas Gonzalez, also known as his stage name ‘Skippy Gonzalez’ is a young musician studying English at the University of York.

From playing the guitar and singing since the age of ten, it was around nine years ago when he first put pen to paper and created his own music.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak was recently criticised for saying ‘people might have to retrain in light of the pandemic’, including those working as musicians and performers, and the lack of funding.

Skippy said: “I think it’s very ironic, It seems like the arts always get shoved further and further to the side of the plate when the going gets tough.

“The irony is that, when we all had to stay at home, people were consuming an outrageous amount of TV, film, video games and music. It keeps people sane. It keeps people grounded. It opens discussions and allows people to learn stuff about themselves that they previously didn’t. Even on a purely fiscal and financial level, the arts are as important as any other sphere. I just don’t understand where the government is coming from. But then again, I don’t think they do either.”

This week Skippy celebrated the release of his first single on Spotify ‘Love Me Still’.

The future for this aspiring artist may be unknown, however the promise for further music is on the horizon for this young performer with an upcoming EP.

His main goal has always been to “write somebody’s favourite song, as it’s surely the highest compliment possible to have something you’ve created hold a special place in someone else’s heart,” he said.

During lock-down with the lack of venues open, Skippy turned to playing a few online gigs as well as recently one in-person gig.

He talked about missing performing live to crowd “Playing to people live really is a drug in itself. I get up on the stage and, to reference Joey Diaz, I feel so much adrenaline and so many nerves all over my body that my two choices are to either scream ‘HJEUUĮAAAGKLTAAAAAA!’ or something along those lines, or to play my set and sing my songs.”


Further music from Skippy Gonzalez