May 22, 2020

COVID Lockdown

We’re now in week 8 of the lockdown here in the UK and I hope that each of you have someone to turn to and are finding some joy and comfort in the small things.

These are the strangest times. Suddenly we’re confronted with the fragility of everything that we’ve known, including ourselves. So many people are suffering and struggling right now and too many have died. The world has become so much more frightening than it was. Each of us are faced with challenges but we are discovering that we are capable of coping with so much more than we ever thought we could. We are finding hidden strengths and rediscovering what is most important to us. Abandoning the superficial things that we relied on so much before. Hope burns in us all and will help us to be resilient as we face whatever happens next.

It may seem insensitive and unrealistic at this point to say that good can come from this but if you allow your imagination and creativity to wander you might be surprised. Change forces us to reevaluate and if we move with it, we can find new opportunities that we had never thought of. That has been my experience and I’m hoping that it will prove to be true now too.

So for myself, I’ve been diving deep into myself and only now do I feel ready to rejoin the world, if only on social media, which I had withdrawn from. Much of living has been put on pause, all my future plan’s shelved and I’ve grieved for them. It’s been a time for self reflection; a time to nourish and refresh; a time to face hard truths and think about how to prepare for what possible new futures await. For ‘normal’ life, will not be something we return to, not for a long time.

For those of us who work in industries that require an audience, the future looks pretty bleak right now. The economic pressures and poor audience numbers prior to the virus resulted in venues closing. Now, all remaining venues, from privately to publicly funded, are extremely vulnerable to permanent closure. Even when lockdown is ended, it’s hard to imagine that people will venture into confined public spaces with strangers to hear live music, watch a play or even go to the cinema, perhaps until we have all been vaccinated. The impact of this virus will mean huge numbers of artists abandoning what was already a difficult career in the arts. The cultural heart of our towns and cities is set to be devastated. A tragic outcome for everyone, as without the arts our lives will become smaller and greyer.

Fortunately, technology is providing us with a way to stay connected. It’s hard to imagine how much harder this experience would be without it. And so we look to technology to help the arts survive, with online concerts, gallery tours, teaching, etc, already happening. The online world is growing but I hope that it wont replace the live one after lockdown. It can’t replicate what it feels like to perform with an audience right in front of you, giving you energy and electrifying the atmosphere. There’s nothing like it. Just like there’s nothing like being in the audience with others, up close and personal, sharing a singular experience that can’t be repeated. As a performer, I need a live audience, they give me as much as I give them. But that’s not possible and so I’m preparing to join this new online cultural medium. Of course, I can’t have a band join me. The technology is not good enough yet to have us perform together from each of our homes, it would sound terrible as we wouldn’t sync. So, I’ll have to use backing tracks and also sing a capella. The first couple of shows will be a test to see how it works and I hope you’ll join me and give me feedback on what the experience is like.

I’m also scheduling some online workshops. One will work specifically on breathwork, which has huge health and wellbeing benefits. We will build and strengthen our breathing technique and use chants/mantras for relaxation, positivity and energy. Another will be a singing group open to all, from the total beginner to those who already enjoy singing. These will be fun sessions where some singing technique will be introduced as we explore and learn songs from different genres.

I’ll be using this website more now to share events such as the workshops above and at-home performances so please stay connected and register on the mailing list to be notified of dates.

I’d love to hear from you if you have suggestions or thoughts on any of the above.

In the meantime, stay well and take care of yourselves and each other.

Peace and love

Cindy x

October 20, 2017

WOW – All things Golden

‘Every Leaf Knows That Time Is Short’ Mehmet Murat Ildan

The month’s seem to go by quicker and quicker, don’t you think?!  Sometimes it can feel that not much has been achieved when you look at how the weeks have passed. I read somewhere that there is a biological reason for why it feels like time is speeding up as you get older. For myself I think it’s just that as you get older you became aware of how little we valued time when we were younger!

Anyway, I made a commitment to myself that I would update here more regularly so I’m giving myself a pat on the back that it’s only been 5 months since I last did an update here! If I can maintain a post every season, that would be a success.

That last posting was about my photoshoot with Jannica Honey and some of the results of that are now on my images page. Here’s one I particularly like and seems a good choice for upcoming Halloween! 😉

The witching hour is coming!

I’m trying to reorganise my communications at the moment. As part of that, I’m resurrecting my e-mail newsletter which I hope you’ll consider subscribing too.  My intention is to share a lot more in e-mails and to use here to give brief updates.

WOW and other Happenings

Well, I need to highlight Scotland’s first WOW Women of the World Festival which is taking place in a week’s time in Perth. I am over the moon to be performing at it and will be one of several music events programmed over the weekend.  Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will be opening the Festival the evening before with a talk and Q&A. Disappointed that I can’t attend that as I’m sure it will be riveting and inspiring. But there’s so much more happening on the weekend and for everyone in your family: talks, panel discussions, workshops, walks.

I’ll be performing a short set of some of the new material I’ve written for Chrysalis and will be joined by virtuoso pianist Karen MacIver.  Our performance will be happening at 1pm on Saturday 28th October.  Tickets are for a whole day or for the weekend. Details here

Other new developments which are in the pipeline are my ‘Find Your Voice’ workshops which are targeted at women and girls.  Although music and singing are a part of these workshops, they’re about empowerment, confidence, finding ‘your’ voice through creativity and then expressing yourself.

I’ve also got my fingers crossed about an application I’ve made to a fund aimed at helping musicians develop projects with artists from other art forms. Wont go into details on what the work will be unless I get accepted. If I don’t get the funding then the project will have to be put on hold.  The single biggest challenge of being an artist is financing projects.  Although 99.9% of us self-fund developing our own projects, we have to be able to pay other people to work with us.  It would be ridiculous to expect otherwise.

I’m still actively promoting live music and women in music through my involvement in the Musician Union, sitting on the Regional Committee for Scotland and Northern Ireland and also the National Live Performance Section.  I’ll share a bit about work going on there too in the Newsletter.

Anyway, that’s the quick update. I’ve got to go and do the Newsletter, seeing as I’ve been asking you to subscribe to it!

Hope you’re enjoying the golden russet glow of Autumn or if you’re in the southern hemisphere the glow of Spring.


PS: I’m also now doing a quarterly music Spotify playlist of new and old music that I’ve been enjoying. A pretty diverse mix of tunes. Check out my Autumn list here

June 8, 2017

The Pressures of a Photo Shoot – Getting the Perfect Image That Says Who You Are

It’s been a while since I’ve had a formal photo shoot but having met Edinburgh based photographer Jannica Honey some weeks before, I felt pretty relaxed at the prospect of having a session with her.  For starters she makes me laugh, cry (happy tears!) and talk and talk and talk. In fact, if I was worried about anything it was whether we’d get any photographs taken for all the talking we do! I needn’t have worried.

There’s so much to think about when getting photo’s taken for marketing purposes.  First is, what’s your budget? (Images last a long time and are vital in the entertainment sector so we have to spend as much as we can afford and not scrimp.) For what purpose are they going to be used for and how are they going to be used? How many do you need? What are you wanting to communicate? What’s the project about? Is there a ‘look’ or a theme? Not forgetting, that very important question what clothes/colours am I going to look best in?!  You know the usual, ‘does my bum look big in this’, ‘does this show my bingo wings’? 😉

The answer for me was to give Jannica samples of the music, copies of lyrics and an idea of what my vision is for me within the project, ie this is about the strength and power of women, young and old, the mystical, the nurturing, the inner witch. It made a huge difference having spent some time together previously as she had a pretty good idea of my personality. Being such an experienced professional portrait photographer and working as a music photographer too, Jannica seems to know very quickly what kind of shots are going to work. So, although I don’t like getting my photograph taken, I did feel pretty comfortable knowing how she ‘got’ me. Mind you, I did ask for soft focus and touch ups but she refused!

We spent an afternoon and early evening with me changing in and out of various outfits I’d brought with me. Clothes that I felt comfortable in and which helped express who I am. Plus I brought my wonderful set of horns which I’d bought from Claire’s Accessories last Halloween but had never worn and which I was desperate to play with.

I have to say, it was a blast and I think I want to be a model now. Ha, no! But we did have a fun time of it and I have some stunning photographs taken in her studio and taken in a field. Not the field Jannica took us on an adventure to find – she’d planned for us to shoot in a field of rape but the farmer had farmed it so we drove round miles looking for another one!  The photographs taken outdoors almost look like I’m on a stage set but I assure you they were really taken outside and have not been touched up.

I’ve added some of the photo’s to the Photos page on the website so please check them out and let me know what you think.  I’ve yet to decide which one(s) will be used for the Chrysalis Project. Yet more decisions, decisions, decisions ….

As a final though, it’s interesting and revealing that all the best experiences I’ve had have been as a result of the people I’ve worked and connected with. I get so inspired by working with them and observing their creativity, passion and commitment to what they do.  It also helps hugely if they make me laugh. 😀

Thank you Jannica!

Photographer Jannica Honey

Jannica Honey

And thank you for taking time to check in here. I hope you have people in your life inspiring you right now.


May 22, 2017

Chrysalis Video Reveal Time!

As always, worthwhile plans take longer to put into action than you first think.  When I first thought about embarking on a project to write new compositions and collaborate with other women, it seemed like it would be a straightforward path.  However, when you work with other people, have family responsibilities and have the challenges of different geographic locations (me in NE of Scotland, just about everyone else in London!), you can’t ever make a fixed timeline work. You have to learn to be patient and flexible.  Not really how you’d describe me. Haha. Sometimes, things seem to go so slowly that you think you’re never going to get there. I guess it just makes it all the more worthwhile when you do, right?

So, after months of writing and collaborating with Janette Mason, the songs are now written and we’ve also spent time with some fab musicians working through the material, refining and developing them even more. It was such a delight to work with a group of accomplished, generous, enthusiastic and communicative women.  I can’t express just how special it was to spend time with them!  Between them, they brought years of experience and lots of ideas.  The ideal people to collaborate with. So thank you Janette Mason, Julie Walkington, Sophie Alloway and Josefina Cupido.

Having fun making some new sounds.

Having spent only a couple of days rehearsing and working through some of our material as a group. We then spent a day at the Hideaway Jazz Club in London, filming and recording several songs for marketing the project.  The videos will be posted over the next little while but here’s a little taster for you, this is the compilation promo video:

Now the work is on to bring it to an audience. So watch out!


October 14, 2016

Creative Scotland Award for Chrysalis Project

Hi all

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!

The Project

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!!

Why Chrysalis?

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.