Music College/University: Royal Northern College of Music
Birthplace/Home Town: London
Q.1 What or who inspired you to become a professional musician?
I always liked being onstage, from my first starring role as Bloody Mary in the year 6 play, ‘Henry the Tudor Dude’. Singing was my way of combining acting and music. I find it fires up all parts of my brain and body, and I always had a suspicion I wasn’t going to gel with a desk job my whole life. As a teenager, I was really inspired by some of the actors I saw on stage in the shows I went to see, like Mark Rylance, and Juliet Stevenson. I appreciated their commitment to authenticity, and that’s what I’m interested in finding as a performer onstage: a colourful version of human behaviour, of moments in life, recreated live.
Q.2 What are the biggest challenges you face in the early stages of your career?
I came to music college late, and as a result, probably have a residual kind of imposter syndrome about being ‘behind’ in some way, compared to singers who have focused wholly on singing since leaving school. The other thing that’s really hard is the level of financial instability entailed in taking your art seriously. It can really affect your mental state if you’re not looking after yourself well enough: occasionally I feel a bit like the plant in my living room that has undergone a traumatic re-potting process.
Q.3 What would winning the New Voices Competition mean to you?
No singer can deny that competitions are odd: music is about sharing and connection, not individualism and ego, and so the idea of competition can feel like a contradiction to music itself. I think the positive side of entering competitions as an artist, is that it really encourages you to put all your best work into one thing, and see what comes of it, for yourself, in your artistic process. It can be quite a helpful milestone in ‘what is my best like at this moment’? It would be really special to win, or receive a prize, with my duo partner, Evi Wang, as we’ve worked closely together at college over the course of this year, and I greatly respect her musicianship and approach to work, and to me. I’m feeling pretty excited about life as a soloist at the moment, but a little external validation every now and then goes a long way.
Q.4 What would you say to audiences to encourage them to come along, and hear you sing in Aldborough?
Come to hear everyone, not just me! Competitions are fun to watch because it’s like a nine course tasting menu, where the chefs have all put in their best work and ideas, and you can experience the results.
Q.5 What would be your dream job in singing?
I think perhaps singing Médée in Lully’s opera Thésée, but for the character I’d need to be a bit older. Lully’s operas are like Shakespeare set to music: so much psychological complexity to explore, and so much freedom musically to play with the instrumentalists. Baroque opera is the best of drama and music-making in my opinion.
Q.6 What sort of music do you listen to when you are not working?
A lot of different things! It’s good to listen to music that has a real groove after a full day of the classical brain. Kendrick Lamar, Lauryn Hill, some Paul Simon, Buena Vista Social Club.