Do you remember the first record you bought?
Yes I do – it was Pass the Dutchie by Musical Youth. I actually wanted to buy hits of the 30’s as it had pictures of Duke Ellington and Fred Astaire on the front, but my parents were concerned about my obsession with old black and white films and so told me I had to buy something ‘modern’. Musical Youth had appeared on Blue Peter the week before so I went with them.
Women being unrepresented in jazz seems to be very much a topic under discussion at the moment. What has been your experience?
I’d like to think that my being a woman has had no negative effects on my career. I would urge any young musician or singer female or male to take it upon themselves to learn as much about the music business as they possibly can, in my experience knowledge is power and the more informed you are the less likely you are to make mistakes or be taken advantage of.
What would be your advice for young women entering into the music business?
The biggest piece of advice I would give to young women or men starting out is to believe in themselves and to focus on their talents. Listen to what you’re doing and be absolutely sure of your skill sets and focus on what you do well.
Who are you most proud to have worked with?
Actually, I’m proud to have a job where I get to work with incredible musicians all the time. A massive highlight in recent years has been working with Sir Van Morrison. I was invited to record a duet with him and was thrilled that we recorded together in the same room with the band. He would only sing it once, which gave me the confidence to continue recording in this way.
You are on a mission to bring big band and swing to music lovers everywhere. What can people expect from Big Mini Big Band?
Our Big Mini Big Band is a big phat blast of beautiful noise. Great songs, wonderful musicians, fabulous arrangements. I urge anyone who has yet to experience the thrill of a big band to do so at their earliest convenience. Standing in front of a big band and having the sound it creates explode around you is almost a physical experience. These bands were designed to excite audiences into a dancing frenzy.