Manchester Head Teacher with Long Covid Swaps his Desk for a Recording Contract


Phil Mellen, alias BlackSheepLad, took redundancy from a 25-year career in education after Covid isolation led to a sudden bout of song-writing.

MANCHESTER, GREATER MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, UK, March 31, 2021 / — Phil Mellen had been working in education (as a Headteacher and a senior local authority officer) for 25 years, when he fell ill with Covid in March 2020. This led to an extended period of illness caused by the ongoing health issues of “long Covid”. So he made the difficult decision to take redundancy in August.

During the time spent recovering, and in lockdown, he spent sleepless nights binge-watching zombie films, which led to a bout of song-writing inspired by love, lockdown, mortality and zombies!

The collection of recordings that emerged, attracted the attention of Accrington-based indie label Wobbly Music who offered him a 5 year recording contract. The current single “Zombie Romance” is attracting a lot of media interest.

The next release, due out on April 30th is called “She Makes Me Me”. It is a joyful celebration of Phil’s love for his wife, Clare. Soprano and bass ukuleles combine with brass sounds to create an upbeat song that makes you want to sing along. The lyrics compare how great this wonderful woman is with a variety of lovely things, ranging from “a great game of Monopoly” to the “storage power of Tupperware”! This is coupled with a much darker song called “Black Shuck”, based on the East Anglian legend of an enormous black hound that haunts the marshes of the east coast. Phil says “I grew up in Suffolk and heard the story of a fire-breathing dog that attacked travellers and broke into a church on the marshes at Blythburgh and killed the vicar. I thought the legend would make a great song; and tried to reflect the dark elements of the tale in the sound of the music.” The result is a building menace of minor chords, a pounding beat, and a swirl of wailing guitar; capturing the menace of this haunting myth.

Phil sings and plays guitar, drums, keys, bass and various ukuleles. His influences include John Bramwell, Prefab Sprout, Doves, Badly Drawn Boy, Ben Folds, Elbow, Cherry Ghost, Lloyd Cole and Neil Finn. He is looking forward to releasing some more singles, and his first album on the Wobbly Music Label in 2021.


“Songs on this EP should be those that have the longevity to push BlackSheepLad beyond anything you can imagine. I can see these songs being used many times and for many things. I use the songs to just relax and the same time put a smile on my face”
Electric Music Magazine, November 2020

“This is wicked! Top song and video! Love it” Badly Drawn Boy (on Zombie Romance)

Lynn Monk
Wobbly Music
+44 7826 730314
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