When I first started gigging I was flying solo. Just me and piano. But because the kinda songs I was writing were influenced by jazz and ska, I knew that I wanted a bigger sound when I was on stage. I’ve always wanted a band because I love the team spirit you get when you’re on stage. My biggest inspiration is Louis Prima and his band ‘The Witnesses’, I love how they interact with each other. They look like they’re always having a laugh and that’s exactly what I wanted. So ‘Plan Band’ commenced, and who knew what or whom would be around the corner…
A few months into gigging I auditioned for musicians and formed a trio consisting of me on piano and vocal, a drummer and a bassist. Our first gig together was in October 2015, and me being naive thought, “Ahhh this is it! I’ve found my band! We’ve made it!” Then after Christmas my bassist quit, my drummer moved to Australia and forgot to tell me, so I was back to square one. I kept going by myself for a bit, meeting good musicians, crap musicians ‘session’ musicians and egotistical musicians. ‘Plan Band’ just didn’t seem to be happening, so in the meantime I focused on the songwriting. By April 2016 my family and I were offered London Palladium concert tickets by a guy I met through a singing competition who managed the support act (it’s not what ya know it’s who ya know). At the concert I was introduced to TV and radio pluggers Jeff Chegwin and Mike Grocott, and gave them a CD (networking is keyyyyyyyyyy people). A week later they got back in touch. They liked it! Voila! Maybe things were about to turn around.
During my first meeting with Jeff and Mike at The BBC Club I was telling them about the struggles of forming and keeping a band together. At that time I was struggling to find a good double bassist and Jeff said, “How about doing a session with Jools Holland’s double bassist?” Ironically I had booked tickets to see The Jools Holland RnB Orchestra later that year as a present for my parents. Knowing full well how much I loved Jools, I laughed in his face thinking he can’t be serious. He said, “Seriously, his name is Dave Swift. I’ll send him a CD and let you know if he likes it.” Me screaming on the inside. In a massive YOLO moment I thought what have I got to lose? So they sent Dave my single ‘The Girl.’ When he came back and said that he loved it, again I was screaming on the inside. Jeff then put us in touch with each other. We booked a recording session at The Premises Studio in Hackney. This was in July, and by this point I had found a drummer, an incredible pianist, and the sassiest brass section going. ‘Plan Band’ was just starting to get good.
When the recording day came we offered to pick Dave up from his house. When we arrived Dave was standing outside with his double bass looking cool in his dark shades. My first thought was ‘OMG this man is a tree.’ Whenever I meet new people, all topics of conversation vanish from my brain and the awkward silence makes an appearance. But not only was I meeting a new person, I was meeting somebody that I had watched on tv for years playing alongside so many of my musical inspirations…what if he was a bellend?! So on the trip to the studio I feared the dreaded silent car journey. Thankfully, Dave is a talker and not bellend-y in the slightest. One of the first things he said to me was, “Darling, you’ll realise by the end of the day that I’m a delightful person.” And from that moment I thought, ‘I like you, I think we’ll get along just fine!’ All day he told amazing stories about his career and his crazy long CV, whilst asking about me and my story.
The recording session was amazing. I was starting to get the hang of this ‘band’ thing. We recorded 4 tracks with Dave Swift all live. On the months building up to this recording session, I had expected Dave to be an extremely talented bassist, but I didn’t expect him to be such a humble, funny and likeable person. So the recording session was over, I thought it would end there. But we then ended up going out for dinner with him and his girlfriend (now fiancé and mother of his first child) Lucy.
After that amazing day Dave and Lucy would surprise me by turning up at my gigs. And now whenever Dave isn’t busy touring with Jools Holland or Alexander Armstrong, he gigs and records with my band ‘The Vintage Youth.’ AND NOW Lucy joins in on backing vocals alongside my saxophonist’s girlfriend Bridie. How’s that for support? ‘Plan Band’ has finally evolved so much so we have dep musicians that can fill in when needed that are familiar with the arrangements. It just keeps on growing. Not only do I now have a band, but I also have a new bunch of friends, which I like to call my little Vintage Youth family.
Speaking of families, I would like to finish this post by congratulating Dave and Lucy on the birth of their little baby boy (born on the 11th March 2017). A beautiful baby with beautiful parents. I know that Lucy will be an incredible mother and that Dave will be the coolest dad in the playground. Here’s to a very happy future for everyone…
FOR MY BLOG READERS – here’s a treat for you to say thanks…
Click here to be taken to an exclusive link of Dave Swift and myself performing an acoustic version of one of the nation’s most favourite Motown songs. Filmed by Rechord Productions behind the scenes of our latest photoshoot. And if you like it, why not sign up for some free stuff.
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