Swansea, Wales (March 30th 2021)— Recorded in both Swansea and The Qube Studios, London, and mastered at the legendary Abbey Road Studios – ‘Photographs From Mars’ is the debut track from Lee’s upcoming album due for release on 30th March 2021. The track features Lee on the vocals and piano, alongside the stunning vocals of Mandy Taylor-Haynes. Kevin Taylor-Haynes featured on the drums and Drew Martin gives us the incredible electric guitar.
Lee’s upcoming release tells the story of how he went off the rails when he was in his early twenties, and uses the symbology of being placed on another planet. Using humour to tell the story – Lee features his 89 year old grandmother, asking him to come back to Wales. “What are you doing on Mars? Come home, it is much better for you in the valleys and I will make you a nice cup of tea”, she says in the song and video – echoing the feelings she had whilst Lee was on his downward spiral.
“The fun and adventurous nature of my youth is still in there though. It was a time of adventure, of risk taking, of self-discovery and of course MIS-adventure!”
Wanting to give an honest, unabashed expression of that particular time of his life – Lee has written the song to enable others to relate to him and feel a sense of belonging. Even though we might feel miles away from what our lives should be – there are people who genuinely care about all of us and who have our best interests at heart.
“When we are young and grabbing the world with both hands, it may be easy to forget this. It is often when we are older, that we see the treasure in what was once very familiar and overlooked. There is often more love residing in our past than our youthful perception enables us to comprehend.”
Meet Lee Michael Walton – pianist, organist, vocalist and composer. Integrating his extraordinary life experiences, spirituality and training as a psychotherapist into his music – Lee is certainly a force to be reckoned with.
Growing up in the close-knit town of Ystalyfera within the Welsh valleys with his parents, Lee was blessed with the opportunity to experience great traditional music in his native Welsh language. After being mesmerized by the hands of Organist, Susan Davies, Lee has always had a connection with music. He fell in love with the range of sounds that the instrument made – becoming engulfed in the sound.
Following the unfortunate divorce of his parents when he was just 9 years old, he and his brother moved away from the valleys to a town where hardly any Welsh was spoken at all – leaving Lee feeling alienated and as though he was in another country. The dynamic of the town was completely different too; Lee went from being familiar with everyone around him to just knowing a few people.
After enrolling into a new school, Lee’s headteacher quickly spotted Lee’s musical gift, and he soon went on to winning a scholarship for music lessons at his local Cathedral alongside the highly esteemed organist, Christoper Barton, and the respected pianist, Christopher Knott.
At the age of 12, Lee’s relationship with his mother took a turn for the worse – things became hostile and abusive – which led to Lee moving in with his father. Left feeling disturbed and disorientated – Lee was in deep pain, and felt worthless due to the rejection from his own mother. Self-hatred began to take over, and Lee soon felt that he would never be loved by anyone and his self confidence hit the floor. After self-disclosing that he was gay at 16, the relationship that he had with his father also broke down – leading to Lee being housed in the Swansea Young Single Homeless Project until he was 18.
Lee went on to start working at Brangwyn Hall in Swansea, writing programme notes and press advertisements for concerts held – alongside working as a pianist in a local restaurant and for private events. Gradually, the events increased in size and he eventually performed as a soloist in the Grand Theatre and Patti Pavillion on several occasions and he appeared on Welsh radio and TV.
Deciding to relocate to London at 21 – Lee was excited by the diversity and opportunities that faced him. As a young and timid Welsh boy, the prospects of what London could offer excited Lee and enabled him to seek a greater life experience. Continuing with his piano and organ studies, Lee found a renewed passion and depth in all genres – specifically classical music, reflecting his growing depth within. It was during this time that he met piano teacher, Jonathan Greatorex, who remains a great support for Lee – and he also entered into psychotherapy.
Realising that people were very dismissive of Lee and his music – he didn’t have the confidence to market himself properly and found himself escaping into a world of excessive drinking, causing him to fall into a state of depression. Then at 24, Lee was diagnosed with the terminal illness neurofibromatosis type two – a disorder that is characterized by the growth of noncancerous tumors in the nervous system. Told that he would become disabled, possibly lose his hearing and have a shortened life expectancy – Lee thought he would only be able to live until his early thirties.
Going on to spend two years travelling the world on cruise ships – Lee took on the role of performing for audiences onboard and entertaining the guests. This was when he truly realised that he has a lot to offer with his musical talent.
Upon returning to London at 27, Lee found out that he had in fact been misdiagnosed, and went on to change his life. Feeling liberated – he quit drinking, enrolled on a counselling course and also began teaching piano lessons. Just one year later, Lee was diagnosed with Chondrosarcoma – an extremely rare bone cancer in the nasal septum and he had a large tumor growing. The only option was to go for radical surgery. Overall, Lee went through three drastic operations – one of which lasting 21 hours – and he had the roof of his mouth removed and rebuilt with the skin from his leg. This groundbreaking surgery from the NHS saved Lee’s life – and he is eternally grateful for the care he received.
Going through recovery was highly challenging. It took at least three years for the swelling on Lee’s face to go down – and as a young man this took a great toll on his self-confidence. It was during these tough times that he rekindled his relationship with his father, giving Lee an extra support throughout. Whilst feeling this uncertainty in his life – music became even more profound for Lee – “It transcends me, yet it is woven into the very fabric of my being.”. Acting on his unconscious desire to gain self knowledge, Lee went on to gain a BSc degree in psychotherapeutic counseling, a diploma in hypnotherapy and a separate diploma in past life-regression therapy.
Six years after his groundbreaking cancer treatment and following a profound cataclysmic event with his own psychotherapist, Lee suffered a nervous breakdown and a suicide attempt. Experiencing this terrifying ordeal took Lee to a place where he truly believed he couldn’t survive. Finding great support and love from his friends, Lee battled through and has grown incredibly since this time of his life. “I was awarded with many treasures in the recovery process, not least my understanding that at the depth of my selfhood, I might have needed an experience of my greatest fears coming alive, in order to know myself as a survivor.”
Going on to experiencing deeper spiritual insights after his recovery, Lee met Kenny Mammarella-D’Cruz (College of Psychic Studies,‘The Man Whisperer’). Since meeting Kenny, Lee felt the boost and elevation that he needed – and has since worked on his upcoming album, ‘The Beginning Is Here’. A culmination of many life experiences and lessons, Lee hopes that we can all find commonality through his music and use it as a vehicle for self expression. The polarity of experiences, which we endure, can be found here – as can those moments of joy, which transcend definition.
“It has been important for me to celebrate the love I have received and learned to enjoy. This too shines through the music and lyrics. Music itself is the ultimate means through which the most extreme and profound experiences can best be expressed and it has been a constant in my life, unrestricted in its capacity to move me and I find I am unable to relinquish its hold over me. I completely allow music to take me on a journey. I would like to share with you my journey home with the wish that it will magically guide you on your emotional and spiritual journey home.”
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