Congratulations on your recent gradation from the Royal college of Music! You’ve been singing professionally and recording albums for a few years now, why was it so important for you to continue formal music training?
Thank you! As a singer you are constantly learning, your voice changes from year to year and like any muscle in your body it needs training and exercise! I had also recently left All Angels so Royal College helped me train as a soloist…it was a huge struggle to deal with the time management, but I was lucky to have such huge support from my manager, family and the record label who all respected my decision to continue my education.
Your first album ‘The Last Rose’ focused on folk music, while ‘Glorious’ was more of a diverse crossover collection. What would you like to explore with your next album?
That’s a good question!! I’m so excited about my new album, I cant spill the beans just yet but lets say this repertoire has been a passion of mine for years as well as by popular request from the fans! I’m also working on a creative side project which I’m very excited about as it’s enabled me to work with some artists and producers from other genres.
You recently performed at ‘Opera in the Park’ and called it a highlight of your summer. Do you have any ambitions to pursue roles in opera or musicals?
I’m now at an age where I can take on some smaller roles in operas, however i would miss my concerts and fans too much! I love being able to choose the ‘best bits’ from operas, shows, musicals etc and putting them on an album…you get the best of both worlds!
You paid tribute to beloved favorites with your first album, but have also set lyrics to classical material and performed contemporary music. What do you think the importance of new material is to a fairly new genre such as crossover?
Like all musical genres, they are constantly evolving and changing. We will always have an enormous amount of classical material to perform but I feel passionate about allowing new composers to grow and make their mark on the classical industry too. This new material will be seen as ‘classic’ in years to come, so its important.
If you could work with any classical composer from the past who would it be? How about the present day (classical or contemporary)?
I would love to work with John Tavener, I remember hearing ‘The Lamb’ for the first time when I was 8 or so and my brothers sang it in their church choir, I was mesmerized by the music and the poetry. I later studied the piece at school and understood more about the composing method he used to create such beauty. I love the work he produces and I think his compositions are timeless.
Our culture is very obsessed with ‘skinny’ at the moment and lots of fad diets to achieve the goal. You on the other hand seem to be motivated by fitness. How important do you think it is to switch the focus to health instead of just focusing on weight?
SO important! I am so passionate about being a healthy size. Every woman has a different shape and I believe it’s about celebrating that and being on top of your health. I love my fitness challenges and all sorts of exercise, because it makes me feel empowered and strong. Cue ‘I’m a survivor’ Music!
Correct me if I am wrong, but you are recently listed as a mezzo soprano on your twitter account while previously been listed as a soprano in your work with All Angels. Has it been an easy transition to make?
Yes its been a very natural change within my voice. When I was 15 or so, my voice was ‘thinner’ and had less vibrato but as you get older your voice naturally develops a richer tone and a stronger ‘bottom end’. I have more control over my vibrato now too which is great when singing so many different genres of music.
You are very involved with charities especially of late Nordoff Robbins. What inspired you to get involved about this one in particular?
I love this music therapy charity, I’ve been to able to watch some of their sessions and meet a lot of the families who benefit from their help. Its clear they are a lifeline to many families, not only do they help the client with therapy and give them means to communicate through music, they also support the family too. I feel privileged to be an Ambassador for them.
What singers inspired you growing up and who do you look up to today?
A huge range of singers from classical to contemporary. I love the warmth of Anna Netrebko’s voice and the drama behind Patricia Petitbon’s voice. I have Billie Holiday’s ‘Lady Sings The Blues’ album on my iPod on repeat! However, when I workout I like to listen to progressive house, drum n bass and dubstep…so a big mixture!
When you are not on the rugby field or performing onstage, what do you enjoy doing for fun?
I’ve just started a vegetable patch, so far there’s lots of soil and not many vegetable’s but I’m full of hope! Ha! I also love running Marathons, triathlon’s, cycles…anything that gets the heart rate up! I’m performing at the World triathlon series and taking part alongside my brothers too. I’m also running the Run To The Beat Half marathon to raise money and awareness for Nordoff Robbins.
What advice do you have for someone who is trying to pursue a career in music?
Take all the advice you can get, but stay true to your goals that you want to achieve. Someone once told me its the journey to the top that’s the most exciting and the relationships you build along the way.