I've completed five UK tours in the past. For three of them I've had help from Jazz Services and for the other two, I've been fortunate enough to receive an Arts Council award. My last UK tour was at the end of 2009 where I promoted my latest album, Licorice Kiss. Although up to now I've mainly concentrated on writing, performing and recording my own original songs, my latest project is going to concentrate mainly on jazz standards. I've called it "Inspired: Celebrating the Divas of Jazz" and it will feature new arrangements of songs from the jazz singers past and present who have inspired and influenced me. I'll also include specially written songs alongside those of the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Norma Winstone and Cassandra Wilson,
So... to get you up-to-date, here's a short summary of what I've been up to over the last few months:
- Called up various promoters throughout the UK to ask if I could send them info about my new project
- Checked availability dates with my band (can be problematic - especially if like me your band is comprised of excellent in-demand musicians!)
- Sent an email with a few paragraphs about the project and proposed dates with an attached mp3 of the band
- About a week later, followed up the email with a call to see if they've had a chance to listen (at this stage, barring a couple of exceptions, most of them hadn't)
- Another follow up call 10 days later. Tried to get an idea if they were interested and attempted to get either a booking or a pencilled date if they were.
- And repeat... and repeat... and repeat...
- Filled in my Jazz Services touring support application form. (Important to get this in before the deadline and to read guidance notes carefully.)
- Waited to hear decision about grant...
- Got news of successful application. Yay! I didn't receive all the money I asked for as funds were very tight and quality of applicants very high but it's great to have help to make this tour happen!
- Confirm pencilled dates and confirm dates with band
- Write press release for tour
- The music! Never as much time as I would like for this but need to write some new songs and work on new arrangements with my pianist George