Ange's Story

A photo of Ange Hardy working at Samuel Taylor Coleridge's writing desk

I was born into a family in rural Somerset as the last child and only daughter of Liz and John who already had two boys waiting to welcome me to the world. Steve (4 years older than me) and Richard (2 years older than me).

Life started in their little house in Lydeard St Lawrence and spent every possible free moment on my Grandfather’s farm in Raddington just outside Wiviliscombe.

When I was 5 my father left the family, leaving my mum to bring up three children on her own. Dad made no contact again until I was 10 when, one by one, all three of us children left Lydeard St Lawrence to go and live with him. We were promised a lot more freedom, not always a good thing, and a world that it turned out wasn’t really his to offer.

When I was 11, Steve, my elder brother, died of Meningococcal Septicaemia (Meningitis) and was taken to rest near the farm. His death was one of the most shaping experiences in my life. By the age of 13 the ground beneath my feet had become unwalkable and I ended up in a foster home. I was later moved on to Trull children's home in Taunton.

A series of events at the children’s home resulted in me running away and finding myself hitchhiking around England and Wales, eventually a driver offered me a seat in a truck across the waters to Ireland. I took it. For four months at the age of 14 I lived homeless on the streets of Ireland. Firstly in Dublin, on the doorstep of a shop called Envy in Grafton Street, and then later in Galway. This was where I found the love of music.

I was given a guitar as a chance to busk for a living instead of begging. The only problem was I had no repertoire as I’d had little time for music before this point.  Life was just too busy so I knew only what I knew from a few primary school piano lessons and my brother’s music playing through the walls. I had no idea how to play a guitar. So, with all the time in the world, I taught myself and made up the songs as I went along, drawing from the one thing I did know plenty about... life. Music became my councillor.

After returning from Ireland I lived in Exeter where I scrambled through my teenage years finding numbness in drugs, clubs and alcohol and completely forgetting the freedom I’d once found in music. I found myself pregnant at 18.

My first child Amy was the turning point.

I moved away from the destruction that had led me in to the daze that I’d been living and spent a few years embracing motherhood to the full, in those years I bought a guitar and spent many, many nights sat in front of an open fire on my patio working through the path that had led me there.

By this point in my life I'd lived in more than 40 different houses.

After getting involved in the open mic scene in Taunton I soon realised that my creativity could reach so many more levels than I could have ever imagined and “the dream” had been born in me.

I met my husband on - laying bare my whole life in front of a man I’d had met only once I declared to him how my life was going to change, and he told me just how right I was. Rob carried me through my career; encouraging me to write, record and tell my story, something I did through my first ever tour 'Story in Song' which was the platform for my debut album 'Windmills and Wishes'. I dragged Rob to church and we both found faith. Alongside my soul mate I was baptised on the morning of our wedding day. We were then married and have now added a little boy, Luke, to our home near Watchet in Minehead.

My mum, brother and I have worked hard to repair our relationships, and I’m now close to my mum in a way I would never have believed possible before. I turned up one day to give my dad his fathers day card in 2006 and he wasn’t there. The last I heard he’d moved to China. I haven't heard from him since.

After Windmills and Wishes I decided music wasn’t a sustainable career . I took a few years out and tried to do other stuff. But I was never happy when I wasn’t writing or singing. Music no longer needed to be the councillor it once was, and I discovered that my roots were in writing stories. Once I realised being a musician wasn’t something I could switch off I wrote Bare Foot Folk. Which led to everything else.

Music is and has always been at the core of my life. Writing does not come from the body, the mind or even the heart, but from the soul. It is an 'out of body experience' and an incredible gift.

Ange x

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