Gareth Edwards

Growing up in Manchester, there are only two choices: football or music.

I am a very average footballer.

Luckily for me, my parents were both musical and encouraged me with piano lessons. Even at a young age, music was first and foremost a refuge. A magical place to get happily lost in composition and melody.

It was during my quarter-life crisis in my mid-20s that music and songs took on a healing dimension. My first 'gigs' were in the day rooms of the psychiatric wards I was sectioned in during the summer of 1999.

After moving to Aotearoa | New Zealand, kiwi legend Johnny Matteson (the original 'Mad Musician') took me under his wing and gave me my first public performance at a MadPride celebration. I opened with my spoof song Psychiatric Blues that I wrote on those wards. The hoots and cheering let me know there was a hunger for music that fed the soul and celebrated the light and shade of life's journey.

I've stuck with MadPride and run songwriting workshops and gigs, along with performing my songs and recovery story at mental health services and conferences. After playing at the Mason Clinic (a locked-down, secure forensic mental health facility) I realised the aspiration for a life worth living is universal and decided to take my message of hope to a broader audience.

My debut MadLove show at the Nelson Fringe Festival won the Best Solo Show and Best Show awards. I've recorded two albums, an EP, a Christmas Single and featured on the iTunes and NZ charts.

  • "Bluesy, reggae, country, relatable, encouraging, humorous, serious, happy songs."
    A fan with discerning ears

  • "You’ll enjoy his take on life, love, happiness. You probably haven't heard anything like this in a while."
    Graham Reid | Elsewhere Magazine

  • "He creates music as food for the happy soul inside of you."
    Pat Armistead | Joyologist

  • "A singer-songwriter who puts his heart where his mouth is."
    Johnny Matteson | Mad Musician

  • "Mellow meets melody, music like an old friend that you can lie back and relax in a hammock with."
    Michelle Bunt | Self Love Medicine

  • "Songs about the human condition told with a funny, gentle, kind acceptance that is his gift to us."
    Tracey Cannon | Activist

  • "Messages of laughter, light, belief and hope that we all need to embrace our wonderfully imperfect selves."
    Dan Allan | Body in Space