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When did you start playing your instrument/singing and why?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been singing and its kinda gone from there. I have romanticised, hazy memories of my mum singing me lullabies in a vain attempt to quiet me, whilst I was singing along and harmonising with her. I always enjoyed singing and would often mimic my favourite artists, but I think the moment of realisation that it could ever be potentially more than just a hobby was when I was watching Sister Act – the bit at the end, when they’re all going for it, and the quiet little nun does some craaazzzyy add-libs. I walked around the house singing those at the top of my lungs. Mum and Amy (my lovely, ever-encouraging sister) were a little taken aback by the intensity with which I was singing. I started having singing lessons at school and have been encouraged to pursue it ever since!
What’s your musical background, broadly speaking (bands you’ve been part of in the past, formative listening)?
My parental influences have had a huge impact on the music I grew up listening to, from the dulcet tones of Don McLean and John Denver, to the spine tingling vocal talents of Freddy Mercury, and practically anything from the 50s and 60s pretty much sum up my early musical exposure. This eclectic mix was a great starting block for me to explore new genres of music, and even now there is very little in the music world that I dislike. I am also a member of a few different bands, each very different to the others. This contrast of musical styles and approaches definitely keeps my on my toes!
Which artists most influence the way you approach the TGB and how?
I would say basically any strong black female vocalist. I love love love the tone and power singers like Beyonce, Aretha Franklin and Etta James perform their songs with. Their soulful vocals can be smooth as chocolate or powerful and gritty as hell, and that’s what I love about it. If I can channel even a teeny bit of their influence through my contributions to the band, then I’m happy.
What’s your favourite memory of being in the band so far, musical or otherwise?
There have been so many good memories, its way too difficult to pinpoint just one! I think the overall affect of being in a band that is so open creatively is something amazing. We all have our different quirks, influences and musical styles. Playing with such talented musicians and knowing every single member of the band has got your back musically, as well as personally, is a beautiful thing. General memories of delicious dancing, silliness and so many dry jokes and accompanying laughs!
Out of the gigs you’ve done with the band, which was your favourite and why?
I loved Bingley Bonfire. There were so many people there! It probably wasn’t the best gig we’ve ever played as a band, but the atmosphere was electric. Every member of the audience seemed to be paying attention and enjoying our music. It was so muddy, so cold, so dark, but oh so brilliant.
Favourite TGB song to play and why?
Argh! Tricky. I can’t pick one. I can just about narrow it down to 3 – so I’ll be brief.
Dead in the Morning – New and exciting! The full on band attack at the beginning of the song sets it off superbly, then the huge dynamic drop for the verse. Tom’s choppy vocals and the sassy BVs make me very happy!
Superman – Such a brilliantly uplifting song. I love that every member of the band gets to show off what they can do a little bit. The gospel harmonies and dynamics of the song are just delicious. Every single memory I have of performing this song live includes bigger and better vocal add libs, more energy, and the audience absolutely loving it!
Thinking about You – It’s quite unusual for me to have a slower/more mellow song as a favourite, but this song truly is one of my favourites. Its such a feel-good song! I love the brass at the beginning, and throughout the entire song in fact. Our brass boys have a knack for writing both subtle complimenting lines for the background and amazingly catchy hooks for the forefront. I also really love the BVs in this song, the harmonies work beautifully and I’m totally smug about them. There’s just so much texturing and layering to the song, I hear a new part every time I hear it.
Favourite part of the process? (Writing, rehearsing, gigging, recording, etc.) and why?
I love the writing process with this band. The general format is that someone will have an idea to put on the table, we all state our opinion and suggest improvements if needed, then it’s just a massive jam session! Everyone has his or her individual strengths and influences to add to the mix. Personally, I like to take a very natural, organic approach to writing vocal sections. I listen, then jam along with some made up vocals, play with the first melodic idea that comes into my head, and then scrap it completely and change it to something different. As my logic dictates, if I came up with it that easily, chances are someone else could too. So I want to make it a little different, less easy to anticipate. I like a challenge!
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