Friday, 24 June 2011

Lost Arts, Rural Touring and New Shoes!

Lost Arts

I felt very pleased to be asked to take part by giving a short speech at the Lost Arts launch event on 15th June on behalf of the Musicians' Union.  I have to say I was probably more nervous that I have EVER been in my life.  It's funny - I don't normally feel that nervous before a gig but I was scared absolutely witless!  Those pesky little butterflies that normally start fluttering around my tummy just before I take the stage for a very important gig decided to do their impression of a raging tornado.  When I realised that my speech was going to be slotted between those of the Shadow Culture Secretary and actor Maggie Steed, the butterflies threatened to cause internal combustion!  But I DID IT!  It was polished and it certainly wasn't effortless but I'm really pround of myself for achieving something that was so difficult for me.  Read all about this incredibly important initiative on the Lost Arts website.

Maggie and Me (You can actually see the relief on under the patina of perspiration on my face!)

Rural Touring

I've just received booking confirmations for my first rural tour!  Yay!  Many years ago I did a Radio 3 interview with Claire Martin after releasing my first album.  Unfortunately, the interview never saw the light of day as I was bumped for something or somebody more newswothy (sob!) but I remember when asked what my plans were that I said I'd love to do a tour of village halls and other rural venues.  It actually took me eight years to discover the National Rural Touring Forum and I applied last year to be included on their lists.  It's a long process but I'm so pleased that I'll finally be performing once again in the Northumberland area.  I loved visiting the area for the first time earlier this year with my Celebrating the Divas tour and can't wait to go back! :-)

New Shoes!

And on a totally frivolous note...  I've been buying rather a lot of shoes lately.  Oops!  My new favourites are these Melissa for Vivienne Westwood shoes.  They're made from eco-friendly mono materials that can be easily disassembled and recycled, as well as being completely cruelty-free with no animal products.  Production is 100% efficient, with 100%-of-materials-used and no excess waste.  Unsold shoes are just melted down and remade!  But most of all they're just absolutely gorgeous.

AND they're called Ultragirl.  I feel like a superhero when I'm wearing them!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Songwriting, Woodshedding & Rubbing Shoulders with Jazz Royalty

May was a quiet but productive month.  For the final week I made my flat into a songwriting prison and banned myself from going out in an attempt to force myself to devote some serious time to songwriting.  It was tough!  Especially at the beginning.  Although I didn't leave my flat I managed to find a new diversion and probably watched around 10 films on the internet!  (I highly recommend Donnie Darko.)

The good news is that I've now completed three songs and another two are part written.  So I didn't do too badly.  :-)  I'm looking forward to more writing and hope to have a full album's worth before too long.

But before my self-imposed incarceration, I attended the Parliamentary Jazz Awards at the Houses of Parliament.  A good time was had by all and I got the opportunity to rub shoulders with Jazz Royalty.  Here's a photo of me with three of my favourite singers:  Christine Tobin, Norma Winstone and Dame Cleo Laine!

Norma Winstone,, Cleo Laine, Juliet Kelly & Christine Tobin