The Skunk-Boy Project
Nate Swettenham is a singer and songwriter who goes by the name of The Skunk-Boy Project. A lot of people in Leicester remember him as ‘the one who plays the Ukulele.’ That is his hallmark instrument. Tonight (18th March 2016), he was at The Cookie. Supporting his headline set were Felix M-B and Leicester duo The Aurora. See our March page for more details of the show.
Nathaniel Swettenham started his music career in 2012. Originally from Melton Mowbray, he is now based in Cardiff. Singer and song-writer Nate has established himself as a popular and much-admired artist on the Leicester music scene; having conquered Leicestershire he is now rising to attention on the national scene.
Nate is a very gifted artist, both as a song writer and as a performer. He comes from a talented family. His sister Elle was in band I liked with singer Tom Francis – Nazarene. Sadly the band disappeared but I for one have not forgotten how good they were.
The Skunk-Boy Project started his set tonight with a song from this established repertoire and the thing you notice first about him is that he an act with character; a personable young artist whose work is full of colour and vibrancy. His songs are appealing and he delivers them with a delightful sense of humour.
On his Facebook bio he writes
I’ve been playing instruments since I was about 7 or 8, I began on the piano, moved to the bass and only picked up the ukulele in my teens, my first twenty songs were all probably sub-par love songs to the same person, very few to none of these I imagine remain in my sets to this day but you’ve got to begin somewhere.
I remember seeing him at the Summer Sunday festival in 2012 when he sang Three Good Men, which you see on YouTube.
His jaunty rhythms, clearly articulated songs and charming stage presence, make him stand out as an artist. Catchy beats, engaging lyrics – this is what we like about this singer. Nate then moves across to the Keyboard and performs his song I Do It For Your Love. “I wrote it when I was teenager”, explains the 23 year old singer. With its rapid-fire lyrics and energetic delivery, it is a song that goes down well with the audience. In between songs, Nate was particularly good at holding people’s attention with his comments and chat as he introduced each of his songs.
I remember putting him on at the Singers of Distinction shows back in 2013. Writing about his performance that night I said
He opened with his hall-mark Ukulele. An artist of outstanding originality, Nate captivated the audience with his unusual music style and ear-pleasing songs. Nate’s career has gone from strength to strength as recognition of his musical talents has grown. Nate played at the Summer Sundae festival in 2012, has appeared on Dean Jackson’s The Beat programme and in the Unplugged series of shows for vocalists; he has been aptly described as ‘a little bit of musical sunshine.’
[Music in Leicester magazine]
Arts in Leicester magazine’s review of the show at The Musician on 5th July 2012 said:
From Melton Mowbray, singer Nate Swettenham performs under the name Skunk-Boy Project. He first came to our attention when he performed at the OBS Unplugged series of shows, held earlier this year at The Musician. Nate opened his set with a briskly paced song, accompanying himself on his hallmark Ukulele. His lyrics have an amiable quality and he delivers with them with a clear, rich voice. He is an unusual and distinctive act and gave the evening’s line-up a vibrant and enjoyable start. Slowing the pace a little, Nate’s second song showed us how deft he was in the use of his vocal abilities. His work is highly original and he was won many new fans on the occasions that he has performed in Leicester. A creative songwriter and fine singer, we were delighted that tonight’s show began with such a spirited start. His distinctive and original songs are in a niche not occupied by many other artists. Nate’s rich voice and lyrics imbued with humour made his performance immediate and enjoyable, laden with charm. Nate performed Dear Lord, “… a conversation with God” with its jaunty melody and memorable chorus Lord Make My Life Easy – to which God replies with wisdom, making this one of Nate’s remarkable songs. Moving over to the keyboard, Nate demonstrated his impressive musical talents, delivering some of his “love songs and anti-love songs” and finishing with “a song I wrote this morning.” Brilliant.
Friday 4th January 2013 gave us another chance to say good things when he performed at the obs unplugged show
Singer Nate Swettenham (aka The Skunk-boy Project) is another artist with an odd stage name but again he is someone we have seen live on many occasions and have always enjoyed. He sings and plays with a ukulele, an instrument that provides a minimal accompaniment to his rich, robust voice. Now established as a well-known artist, Nate has appeared on a variety of festival stages including last year’s Summer Sundae, and once you have seen him, you are unlikely to forget his highly distinctive and original act. No safe, mainstream, comfortable material for him; he has carved out a niche for himself and revealed just how creative an artist he is. With his set of striking and amusing lyrics and highly characteristic songs, Nate raised the bar for this series of shows. His style of act competes with the likes of Carlos Stein and Jonezy (different, unusual) but it’s a warm and entrancing style that will capture the mainstream audience and not just those who crave something on the fringe. After completing one set of songs with just his ukulele, Nate sang to backing tracks whilst also playing his instrument, adding a vocal layer into songs to offset the minimal feel of just the ukulele. Superb.
There is a deepness and richness to Nate’s lyrics. So, if you put all this together – entertaining songs, magical stage presence – it is clear that in TS-BP we have an outstanding act (Andrew Lloyd Webber has written worse lyrics). If Nate wrote a musical am sure if would become an outstanding success.
The Skunk-Boy Project is an experience not to be missed.
Listen to The Skunk-Boy Project on YouTube:
and there are many more
The Skunk-Boy Project plays at Gideon Conn’s Acoustic Festival at The Wonder Inn Manchester on Saturday April 9th and supports Luke Daniels at The Cellar Oxford on April 21st.