A debut album represents a major landmark for 18-year-old Midhurst singer-songwriter Ed Goodale after years of struggle with autism.
Ed will be launching his album The Same But Different at the South Downs National Park Centre, Midhurst on Friday, February 6 at 7.30pm, with tickets available via his father Simon on firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s the culmination of three years of remarkable progress since Ed announced – to his dad’s horror – that “with a really old, bad, cheap guitar” he was going to take part in an open mic event.
Ed admits he was nervous, but it was the starting point he needed.
He’d started writing a year earlier, and now the album brings it all together.
As he says, Ed writes about things that have happened in his life, a brother going off to serve in Afghanistan for instance: “I have also written a couple of love songs.”
In February last year, Ed addressed his own condition directly with an EP: “I wrote a song called Symptoms, things a lot of people don’t know about autism, about how you cope with it. We have had a lot of positive feedback.”
Ed admits he finds new places difficult and that he struggled in school; music has proved his way forward. In fact, the National Autistic Society picked up on the song Symptoms.
“I am just really saying in the song you are not alone, that hopefully people will know there are other people out there with the condition.”
Now comes the album: “I am over the moon with it, really pleased with it. I like the structure of the songs. There are ten on there, and there is no weakness in the songs on the album.
“There is also a good mix of up-beat and quieter songs.”
Ed is already gigging two or three times a week and is pleased with the increased confidence that comes with more and more appearances. He has already supported Three Daft Monkeys at Ropley village hall; at the end of February, he will support Phil Beer at Bognor’s Folk on the Coast.
Dad Simon is well placed to see the huge difference music has made to Ed: “It has been quite a journey. It has been tough through education, fitting into normal day-to-day life. But now he is much more confident. He is much more able to say ‘I can do this! I can be creative!’
“In a short space of time he has gone from stepping onto an open-mic stage singing a fairly-rudimentary song to now releasing his debut album.
“And the thing is we have met so many fantastic people along the way.
“We have started to hatch ideas about bringing all these creative people together, to find a way to give people on the spectrum hope they can achieve great things.
“There is a lot of help out there. There are a lot of parents groups, but that tends to be to help people get by day by day. What I have seen with Ed is he has had tough early years, but he has now found his music and he has gone on to really achieve things.
“It is a story of hope I would love to think other people might share. When he first said he wanted to do the open mic, I was thinking ‘Are you sure?’ but he has done so well. Now, with the album it is ‘Wow! He has done it!’”
The album is available from the online shop at www.edgoodale.com and from all digital download sites such as iTunes.