Despite his reclusiveness, English musician Keaton Henson has managed to charm his way into people’s hearts — even if it was never his intention to do so. Henson wrote over 100 songs before putting out any content for the public. It was a friend who encouraged him to upload tracks online. Since then, Henson has accrued a cult following. His rise to fame may have been accidental, but I would say his success truly stems from pure talent.
Due to stage fright, Henson rarely puts on live performances. Fortunately for me, I had the chance to see him at the Chapel on Valencia St., on Oct. 9. The venue was very intimate and resembled a small church. In fact, the building served as a mortuary in 1914.
The set-up of the show was unlike anything I had ever seen. There were chairs lined up, and ushers seating guests; it felt very formal and serious. I also thought it was fitting since Henson’s music has melancholic tones that hit the core of the human soul. His songs are about heartbreak, loss, and death: beautiful music that requires one to just sit down and absorb it all. With the haunting feel of the Chapel and Henson’s emotive tunes, the performance was a memorable one. Even with his stage fright, his trembling voice and guitar playing made the music — and the experience of watching him perform — all the more raw and pure. I got the chance to speak with Henson before the show, and he added a rather interesting twist to our interview. Rather than the traditional Q&A, Henson responded to my questions in illustrations (another talent of his).
Foghorn: We can listen to your new album “Birthdays” (2013) but what does it look like in an image?
Foghorn: On the rare occasions that you do perform live, how do you prepare yourself to be in front of an audience?
Foghorn: What makes a good day? A bad day?