Music College/University: Royal Northern College of Music
Birthplace/Home Town: London
Q.1 What or who inspired you to become a professional musician?
Both my parents are keen choral singers but neither actually pursued music professionally. I suppose their love of music and singing was the initial inspiration, although it did take some persuading to convince them that I should try to take it further! I should also give credit to various inspiring music teachers growing up – plus a bit of a Barbara Bonney obsession as a teenager!
Q.2 What are the biggest challenges you face in the early stages of your career?
That’s a big question. I’m not exactly saying anything new when I say that starting out as a young musician now, post-Brexit and post-covid, feels possibly harder than ever. Most of my time at the RNCM was coloured by the pandemic, with great swathes of my Masters taught online, but in reality I feel I perhaps had it easier than friends who finished a year or two before me. At least by the time I graduated there was some work to be had! I came to music as a second career, after a first degree in English Literature and French and a spell working in publishing, so I sometimes struggle with feeling ‘too old’ when I’ve actually only been in the singing game properly for a few years. Sometimes this is literally true, with many Young Artist Programmes and competitions having cut-offs (for women, at least!) around 28. I could of course also mention the chokehold the arts is in by a government who doesn’t seem to care about or really understand our industry, and the subsequent dwindling of opportunities in this country, coupled with our now-restricted access to those over the channel… but I won’t!
Q.3 What would winning the New Voices Competition mean to you?
Of course it would be lovely to win and gain recognition for the hard work both Edd and I have put into these programmes, though it will also be a nice thing simply to share them. It often feels harder to see professional routes forward in song, compared to Opera for example, so anything that might give rise to further recital work is worth striving for! We both love the intimate environment that this medium necessitates and the intellectual challenge of programming and interpreting interesting song repertoire.
Q.4 What would you say to audiences to encourage them to come along, and hear you
sing in Aldborough?
We’ve put together loosely-themed, fun and varied programmes of song repertoire which should hopefully have something for everyone. Choosing to showcase song in particular was a decision we made to give due consideration to the fact that we’ll be judged as a duo – it’s not all about me singing my showpieces with ‘my accompanist’ in the background! Collaboration is key with this repertoire and we’ve so enjoyed working on these programmes together – and hope that audiences will enjoy hearing them too.
Q.5 What would be your dream job in singing?
I’m not sure there’s any one answer to this question, for me. I’d be happy to have a busy and varied (and sustainable!) schedule which encompasses some opera but also recital work and other forms of collaborative
music-making where you feel you have more agency and creative input – working on baroque repertoire with a small ensemble, for example. I suppose I’m still figuring out what music-making makes me the happiest and plays most to my strengths.
Q.6 What sort of music do you listen to when you are not working?
Is it a cop out to say ‘all sorts’? I like to switch off from classical music sometimes, and listen to a fair bit of radio 6 music. Edd was actually a drum and bass DJ in a past life so that also keeps things eclectic!