To finish our series celebrating the female talent at Viva Live Music, for International Women’s Day, I am delighted to interview our wonderful jazz singer, Hannah.
Tell us about what you do.
How long have you been working in the industry?
I started to do small paid performances aged 16. I always wanted to sing for a living but various people had advised me to have a back up career plan too, so I considered being a writer. In my late teens and early twenties I trained as an opera singer and was due to go to The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama but decided that my true voice and passion lay in pop singing. I started to perform more often in my early twenties and by my mid to late twenties was singing and teaching singing full time. I have made many sacrifices in order to continue working as a full time vocalist and living in London, where many opportunities exist for me.
What sort of events and venues do you work at?
A huge variety of different places from huge famous venues to tiny run down bars in villages! I have sung in 2000 seater theatres across the UK with The Rat Pack Trio and Orchestra, at Abbey Road Studios, on the sets of major feature films, on the rooftop of Cannon Street train station in London, at Two BBC Proms, The Royal Festival Hall and two cruise ships. I am known for my specialism in singing vintage styles of jazz and swing from the 1920s – 1950s, so I am booked to perform at lots of vintage and retro themed events for corporate, wedding and restaurant bookings where I get to dress in my favourite colourful vintage outfits! I am grateful for every opportunity to sing… anywhere!
What are the highlights from your career so far?
It was a wonderful opportunity to perform with jazz legend Dave Brubeck at The Barbican Centre and John Colianni, the pianist for guitar legend Les Paul (who the guitars are named after!), in New York City a few years ago. I supported German singing sensation Max Raabe (of whom I’m a huge fan) on his headline show at Twinwood Festival in 2012. It is the largest vintage music and fashion festival in the world!
I am very proud of the fact that I’ve been musical director, composer and singer on two feature films: “The Oxford Murders” and “The Riot Club” and recorded part of the soundtrack at legendary Abbey Road Studios. I was musical director for The Blues Kitchen Choir in Shoreditch for two years from 2014 – 2016 and arranged all the music. The choir performed to full houses every Sunday. This was one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever had!
I also completed a Masters degree in Voice Science at Guildford School of Acting full time whilst still performing and working as a choir director and vocal coach. I just drank lots of coffee and didn’t sleep much!
Alongside performing, I am also a very experienced vocal coach and have trained Truly Ford, a singer currently doing very well on BBC talent show The Voice UK, and coached West End and UK chart singers also including Hatty Keane, Raquel Jones and Katy Menditta.
What are your plans for the next five years?
To record some original blues and Americana style songs this year. Also to potentially record an album of jazz and swing classics with a big band in New York with John Colianni, the pianist for the late Les Paul.
I’d like to further develop the two choirs I direct and arrange music for also: B&G Cafe Choir in Crystal Palace and London Blues Choir in Hoxton.
I would love to set up my own music academy at some point in the future as I have a very inspiring friend called Dr. Trish Rooney who is doing this in Cork, Ireland, and (also influenced by Trish), I am considered doing a PhD in a specific area of the singing voice.
I aim to continue blogging and video blogging both about my performances and including tutorials on how to achieve the vintage looks that I wear to my gigs! I intend to start creating videos for my vocal coaching practice also. These can be seen in the next few weeks by viewing my website, detailed below.
I’d also like to take a holiday in a hot country for more than four days at some point too (if my schedule allows!)
Do you want to plug anything you are working on or doing soon that you’d like mentioned?
I will be doing a globally broadcast online performance for Pin Up Industry Magazine in the next few weeks (date TBC) and talking about my love of vintage music and fashions! Please see their website for the schedule and details:
I have the following public performances coming up:
16.3.17: Manual’s, Gipsy Hill, London – Jazz Trio
18.3.17: The Paxton Centre, Crystal Palace, London – Jazz Duo
23.4.17: Cromer Pier Theatre for a 1960s event – Solo
13.5.17: Bath Pavilion for a Ballroom Event – Full Pop Band
19.5.17: Tewin Bury Farm – Jazz Band
23.7.17: Eltham Palace, London: Jazz Trio
6.8.17: Eltham Palace, London: Jazz Trio