I’m delighted to announce that I was recently awarded funding by Creative Scotland for a major project I’ve embarked on. This is the first time I’ve ever applied for funding and wasn’t that hopeful that I’d be successful, so was overwhelmed when they gave me their decision. Have to say that the application was gruelling, one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. However, even if I hadn’t got the award, going through the process was definitely worthwhile as it forced me to really focus on the content and purpose of my project.
For some time, I’ve felt a burning need to say something more in the songs I sing. Something about the issues that really concern me, as a woman, as a mother, as a citizen of this world with it’s many problems. I get angry, upset and frustrated, like I’m sure many of you do when we see the abuse, violence and ill treatment of people happening because of their gender, their race, their sexual identity, their religion, the list goes on. Seems to me that though we’ve made massive technological advances, we’ve made little progress when it comes to our humanity and understanding, sometimes it even seems we’re moving backwards becoming increasingly intolerant, dividing ourselves instead of coming together. I’m a political animal and I feel my music so far hasn’t incorporated this important part of who I am. The songs I’ve been singing, although I cherish them, have been generally focussed on being in or out of love. Now, love is something we all need, life is nothing without it but that’s not all there is!
I’ve been writing lyrics for a while now but wanted to create some original songs that focus on some of the issues that matter to me, particularly gender, identity, equality and the female experience. I realise there’s a fine balance here between entertaining whilst raising issues and avoiding spouting from a soapbox. A big influence on me is soul/funk music of the 60’s and 70’s which did this so well, so many great songs from that period, the grooves and hooks carried the sentiments in the lyrics. So I’m also using this as an opportunity to explore different sounds and experiment a bit, leaving it open to going in a new direction musically. There will always be some jazz in there though!!
The working title right now for the project is Chrysalis. God that was a hard one to decide on. How I laboured over it! Trying to find one or two words at most that encapsulated what it was about?!! In the end, I felt the word Chrysalis best expressed what this work means to me and where I am in my personal development as an artist. I don’t know what I’ll be when I come out the other end of it. Will I be colourful like a butterfly or dull like a moth?! Have I set myself up? 😉
I’m really pleased to have on board musician/composer/band leader Janette Mason who brings a wealth of experience from pop to jazz. I feel so fortunate to have such a generous, accomplished and committed guide to help me on this journey. Janette is co-writing as well as being my Musical Director and Producer, so it matters a lot that she feels equally passionate about a lot of the issues I’m writing about. It’s been an interesting and sometimes uncomfortable process developing a collaborative relationship with her and I’m learning a lot! You have to be honest and open to criticism, difficult at first but it’s getting easier. 🙂
Another objective of this project is to work predominantly with other female artists as I’ve generally been working exclusively with male musicians. I like working with guys but I wonder how different the experience with women will be? Plus I’d like to share the platform with other women too, we need to support each other. I could present lots of stats on the numbers of women in music, how their presented, how few are included in festivals, etc, etc, but that would take up a whole other posting!
If you want to check out Janette and the exciting stuff she’s been working on, including work on her next Trio album. Go to the following:
Also, I’m now on Instagram and Pinterest, where I’ll be sharing links to things that are inspiring me:
I’ll share more as time goes on: plans for performing, recording, including visual art, expanding into education, etc. I’ve a lot going on in my head but I’ve also got to get writing those songs!!
In closing, please feed back comments. Let me know if there are aspects of the Project you’d like to hear more about.
Love & peace to you.