Stephen Fry tweets guitarist past 2m views with a 'wow'
A RELATIVELY unknown guitarist has been inundated with offers after getting over 2 million hits online thanks to Stephen Fry, the actor, who recommended him on Twitter with one word: "Wow."
Jon Gomm is a Leed-based guitarist who turned down a place at Oxford University to be a professional musician and has been sleeping on sofas and the floor at friends' houses to enable him to play up to 200 gigs a year.
However, after Mr Fry tweeted "wow" to his legion of online followers, Mr Gomm's latest single Passionflower has been viewed over 1.1m times on YouTube and almost the same amount via Reddit, the recommendations website.
His previous gigs include playing in a car park in Barnsley, but this year he will be touring Europe and Australia as and he has received offers of work from around the world.
In the coming months he is scheduled to appear on national television before millions of people in Holland, Portugal and Turkey.
Much of his appeal is down to his ability not only to play the instrument, but to detune and retune it while playing, and to hit different parts of the guitar's body to produce the sounds of a percussion section.
Many fans who have heard the music and watched the YouTube clip say they cannot believe the multiple strands of music are being played by one person simultaneously.
He said: “My previous life - of driving from my home in Leeds to Vienna to play a concert - has suddenly changed dramatically.
“So far I've been invited onto national TV in Turkey, Portugal and Holland and this year, will be touring in around 15 countries on three continents, and my CDs will be finding their way into stores from Germany to Japan.
“It's been crazy, but I felt lucky enough before, just being able to make my living as a musician, so anything more is a bonus.”
Yet, despite his international success, he remains far from a household name in the UK.
Part of this is his independence and refusal to sign for a major label and his willingness to give away his music, available for download for a voluntary payment, for free.
He has been described as "the future of acoustic guitar playing", “one of the world’s most gifted guitarists” by Acoustic Magazine and, after his Twitter success, was even contacted by David Crosby, of Crosby Stills and Nash.
Mr Gomm first began playing at the age of two but his parents could not find one small enough so gave him a ukulele instead of a guitar.
He wrote his first song at the age of six, and was soon accompanying his father, a music critic, to gigs in his hometown of Blackpool.
Touring musicians would often stay at his home on the understanding that the boy would get a guitar lesson, meaning he had one-to-one instruction from blues players as Walter Trout and Bob Brozman.