Homeless Shakespeare is a musician, producer, writer, artist and promoter based in Leicester, UK. The concept behind the name is to represent ambitious and hard working musicians and artists on the grass roots level, where the art would be at its rawest, most unique condition.
Homeless Shakespeare began as a solo artist in 2013 to escape the musical pigeon hole of band life and start afresh with an ‘anything goes’ approach to songwriting. Based in Leicester, the heart of England, Homeless Shakespeare has developed and showcased his intuitive live performances and eclectic music across the country, self producing all of his released along the way.
Songs of struggle, loneliness, lights in the dark and illusive romance delve into poetic lyrical dimensions, with dynamic guitar work and musical arrangement.
A repertoire of 40+ original songs, experience performing in venues, festivals and private parties, recording and producing music, idiosyncratically drawing and illustrating, puns, and of course the quirky character that is the man, all adds up to one Homeless Shakespeare.
“…the seriously underrated Homeless Shakespeare, who as I recall we first came across at the Western Park Secret Beer Club in 2016. He is a joy to watch, but I won’t ruin it for you with descriptions – you’ve just got to be there. Hopefully one day he’ll get his own TV channel and then I can just tune in to him whenever I want.”
Born as Joe Doyle, Homeless Shakespeare grew up in Leicester and started playing music at 14. First picking up the bass and joining indie-rock band The Weekend Schemers, Joe went on to only study media and music based courses at college, including music performance, music technology, performing arts and media studies. This educational experience set him up to self-educate himself further in music and technology.
It was in college that Joe started picking up other instruments, including guitar, which has been a main focus of improvement for him since.
Joe continued to play in bands, and does to this day. With experience performing hardcore/death-metal, grunge and blues-rock, experimental rock and many urban musical styles as a bass player and musician, Joe has incorporated as much as possible into his musical productions.
Homeless Shakespeare started as a project relentless to break down the barriers between musical styles, while also promoting local music and small venues.
During the early days, Joe would often visit Leicester town centre on the weekends, touring the bar scene asking people about their musical preferences, and whether they ever supported live music, using his extensive knowledge of Leicester’s numerous music scenes by pointing people in the right direction to find something to suit their palate.
“…followed by Homeless Shakespeare – a.k.a Joe Doyle; I was intrigued by his name, which he explained that it defines “any artist playing anywhere”. His dark jokes and promises of “a pun per song” was a fantastic way of involving the audience. He was very down to earth, especially with his experimental, electro-acoustic and quirky songs and covers.”
The first album (Politicalility, 2015) was used as an experimental production to translate the lack of authenticity to contemporary music. The songs ranged through blues, reggae, gypsy-jazz, psychedelic rock, rap and folk. The tracks were recorded bit by bit, with electronic drums and other instrumentation. The idea to overcook and distort the mixes came from Joe’s personal intolerance of his own voice at the time, and later became an aptly purposeful remark.
The album acted as the first lap of the artist development track that is Homeless Shakespeare, which saw him supporting a wide variety of acts including Baskery, Cohesion, Midnight Wire, The Summer War, and many more.
The launch night saw Homeless Shakespeare put together a backing band for his hour long set, the first time he performed with a pre-prepared band, unlike the spontaneous collaborations at occasional gigs. The CDs each had unique pieces of art and illustration on them, considered to ‘increase the artistic value’ of the physical product in a digital age.
Since releasing Politicalility, Joe has honed his songwriting and recording skills considerably. Releasing singles along the way of writing, recording and producing second album ‘WAVES’, Joe has built up enough of a repertoire of original music to suit most styles of shows.
“Homeless Shakespeare (aka Joe Doyle) brought his unique musical moments of unorthodoxy to the gathering in the Basement. The avant-garde singer/songwriter from Leicester is noted for his Pirate Song.”
Arts In Leicester
It was with the songs from WAVES that Joe’s music became a more prominent sounds in Leicester’s music scene and got him further afield into London, Nottingham and other cities.
It was with these songs, including Hide & Seek and Fantasy, that Joe featured on BBC Radio Leicester, got him onto the main stage of Riverside Festival 2017, and had him support more niche acts like The Undercover Hippy (rap) and The Brandy Thieves (Gypsy-punk), as well as consistently gaining a following with his eclectic sounds.
2017 saw Homeless Shakespeare release his WAVES CD illustrations, which people loved enough to reserve specific designs. Although fully recorded, Homeless Shakespeare is adding finishing touches to the 12 track album at his studio at Stayfree Music over the summer, and looking to launch the album in November.
Over the next few years, you will see Homeless Shakespeare release music much more frequently now that he has found his footing. And if you’re not from Leicester or the East Midlands, don’t fret! Homeless Shakespeare will be touring with his music and unique merchandise soon enough.
Having recently found a saxophonist (George Mitchell), you can expect to see a full Homeless Shakespeare band over the horizon too!