Whenever I tell people that I’m a singer/songwriter, they ask, ‘What genre?’ That is a hard question. I guess my music is a cocktail of all the good stuff! Soul, Reggae/Ska, Swing…I’ve recently written a song called ‘Jack‘, which has a bit of a Bossa feel, so my ‘genre’ is very hard to pinpoint. But I guess the root of it all is Jazz. That’s the genre that I learn the most from. The funny thing is that I never grew up listening to Jazz, it was always 60’s soul and Motown. Jazz came about in my later years…
I’ve always been into Musical Theatre. My favourite shows were the Vaudeville-y ones with the big brass orchestra’s and Jazz-hand numbers. I remember going to see shows like Gypsy and Funny Girl and being blown away by the overwhelming overtures. I soon found myself booking seats at the back of the balcony so that I could look down into the orchestra pits and watch the band do their thing. Then I went to drama school to study Musical Theatre and that’s when I realised that most of the old Jazz standards actually come from musicals, written by legends like Cole Porter. That’s when I really fell in love with Jazz. Now I’m no expert on it, but I’m learning and loving it. So far Jazz has seemed to help me grow vocally and artistically.
I think that standard Jazz has quite an acquired taste. It’s definitely not everybody’s cup of tea. And there are definitely certain songs or singers that don’t really do it for me. In any genre of music, I like wordy songs where the lyrics really tell a story and the singer or musician paints the picture. So taking it back to Jazz, I like songs like ‘Makin Whoopee’ or ‘Too Marvellous For Words’. Quirky lyrics darlinnnn. In my opinion Jazz isn’t about pretty singing, it’s about the heart and soul.
So standard Jazz, perhaps not for everyone. BUT if you look at the subgenres like Swing and Dixieland…now you’re talkin. That’s where my heart lies and I don’t think there are many people who can’t warm to that, ‘New Orlean’s’ style of Jazz. Anyone who knows me will know that I adore Louis Prima. He’s my King of Swing.
What’s great about having a band is that I am now surrounded by incredibly talented musicians who are so knowledgable in these styles of music, so I’m always learning. My pianist Ollie E is a beast on the keys, and every other instrument for that matter so he teaches me a lot musically. And since working with Dave Swift, I’ve been introduced to an array of singers and musicians that Dave listens to
Speaking of which…
I have another exclusive video.
A little while ago, Dave suggested I have a listen to Anita O’Day’s version of ‘Honeysuckle Rose’ which is utter perfection. Click here to see a video of me and Dave performing an acoustic version of the song…
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