I grew up in a family where Jazz music was the focus. My father was a trumpet player in the Royal Artillery Band and played at the Coronation in 1953. I grew up listening to Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Julie Christy, Judy Garland, Eydie Gorme, and Sarah Vaughan.
I took piano lessons from the age of 9 and started singing lessons at 15 with a graduate from The Royal Academy. I began to perform locally in amateur musical theatre productions. During this time, I dreamed of making a career as a singer, longing to travel. I auditioned for bands and productions far and wide in the UK, whether appropriate or not, for me! I was just so keen to sing!
At 19, I auditioned for The Swingle Singers from an advert in The Stage and began touring with the group - my first trip was to Spain. Sadly it was cut short as my grandmother died while I was away and so I flew home alone to attend the funeral.
After this short tour, I was called to see the musical director. He was concerned that I didn’t have the credentials needed to perform the classical contemporary repertoire of The Swingles and although the regular jazz based show was fine, I was sacked.
Although a blow to me - I realised that if I could learn how to do this other, more classical and contemporary style of music, I might have more versatility in my career… So while thinking of this, and wondering what to do, I continued to practise singing and audition and found a job with a four part harmony group who were jazz based and working a summer season in the UK holiday camps. Promise of Eurovision entry…hmm, I wasn’t sure but took the job as had nothing else! I worked with them for a few months and soon realised I needed to go to London to music college to learn more about music if I were to be taken seriously. Although huge fun, this line of work was not my dream…
So, I auditioned for The Guildhall school of music and drama. Was introduced to Trevor Brown, Musical Director by The Swingles and he put together band parts for me to audition for the Jazz course.
I got in and spent the next year studying on the post graduate course, singing, jazz piano, arranging and harmony. I also started working around London doing small Jazz gigs with my quartet. I loved it.
Around 6 months after leaving The Guildhall and wondering how I was going to earn money in this industry, I got a call from The Swingles. Their first soprano was taking some time off to have twins and they wondered if I would like to do a 6 week tour of the US and Japan to cover for her ? WOW!! Yes, of course, I was thrilled. To go and earn some money, and sing and travel. My dream was shaping up nicely…
Once I began touring and working with the group and with my new found knowledge of harmony and arranging, the classical contemporary pieces were less daunting to me and with the help of a fellow soprano in the group, Micaela Haslam, it was clear I was now capable. Hard work followed while touring, but I managed it.
So, I stayed on and toured for 5 years, recorded 6 studio albums and travelled the world! I really couldn’t believe my luck.. my sight reading was tested and thankfully as I’d played piano, it all helped.
In my heart I had always wanted to be a jazz singer…That said, I was now in a more classical world and enjoying some varied work. Seeing where life took me.
On leaving The Swingles, I started a company with my fellow soprano from The Swingles called Synergy Vocals. Specialising in Contemporary classical music - The very thing I had found so hard at the start. In hindsight, this was not really my dream musically, but it was born out of requests for the Swingle girls to Perform a piece at The Barbican by Steve Reich. They recognised a niche in the market for small tailor made groups of singers who would turn up rehearsed and slick. I am always up for a challenge so learnt the most wonderful piece I was then to perform all over the US and Europe - Tehillim. Written for four girls, highly complicated and sung in Hebrew!
Five years went by, I got married and was now touring with Synergy Vocals. Pieces by Steve Reich, John Adam, Louis Andriessen and I was lucky enough to perform at Carnegie Hall, The Lincoln Centre, and in Tokyo with The Chicago Symphony, Brazil, and throughout Europe. Performances at The Southbank with Recordings on Radio 3. I couldn’t quite believe how I’d got from amateur dramatic shows in Sussex to these incredible stages?!
I was one of 3 girls who were spotted at The Barbican by Karl Jenkins and invited to record an album of his music, Imagined Oceans which had a launch with Sony at The Festival Hall.
At this time, I’d also contacted some film session fixers to get some work recording on soundtracks as I fancied the ease of this type of music, rather than the complex pieces I was battling my way through.
And so began my session singing career and to date I have recorded on over 200 Hollywood films including a trip to LA to record on TROY for James Horner.
Other work has stemmed from this, album recordings for Tony Bennett, Lesley Garrett, Bjork, Michael Jackson, Elton John and more.
I was also recommended to the RPO, LPO, BBCSO and BBC Concert orchestra by colleagues to perform with them and record on Friday Night is Music night on Radio 2. I made my first debut solo prom performance in 2016 with the BBC Concert Orchestra singing Falling in Love with Love from Boys from Syracuse.
Preparing backstage and walking out in to The Royal Albert Hall in front of The BBC Concert Orchestra was a massive bucket list moment for me!
Whilst on a cruise in 2017, I met Denis King, composer and together we have collaborated on an album of his songs - in a relaxed jazz style I have always loved. With some top flight musicians to accompany them, Dave Olney bass player and Mike Smith, drummer. I am in heaven with these guys and looking forward to a tour in autumn 2019 of our album and show LOVE IS IN THE ROOM.
This is where my heart is.
I was also asked to sing on a cruise with The Syd Lawrence Orchestra in 2018 and am now a regular with the band. An absolute honour and thrill to work with Chris Dean, musical director and trombone legend.
I am now working on delivery of lyrics, taking voice lessons from a pop/rock teacher and am loving my journey to this newfound soul in my voice. I have always loved good music and stylish singing and am now having the chance to work on that and create more of it with some of the best and most creatively stimulating people in the industry.
I'm looking forward to seeing where 2019 and beyond takes me. A wealth of experience in many fields and finally returned to my roots to develop my voice, my sound and enjoy doing it!
Looking forward to meeting you on a gig somewhere soon!