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been diving deep into myself and only now do I feel ready to rejoin the world, if only on social media, which I had withdrawn from.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

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.


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.


November 17, 2015

Winter EP – Snow Falls

Hi all

The winter winds have arrived and it’s getting to that time of year where I could eat my weight in chocolate! Every year around this time, as they grey descends, I start thinking how we really would be better off if we hibernated. Then again, who wants to miss out on the build-up to Christmas? Like most people though, I really only enjoy the build up so maybe we could hibernate after opening the presents and wake up again along with the hedgehogs? 😉

But what would Christmas be without some winter music? Ah ha, well, funny that should be mentioned because I’ve just recorded an EP of winter music in London with some wonderful jazz musicians. The very same line-up from my album ‘My New Jive’, Tim Richards (piano), Dominic Howles (bass) and Jeff Lardner (drums). The mixing has now been done and mastering is set for next week so will be available w/c 30 November.

The EP will only be released digitally but the door’s been left open for maybe a whole album of winter/spring music next year. So, if you know other people who are into vocal jazz and ensemble playing and like some chilled laid back music from some stellar musicians, how about buying them a download of the EP? I’m also getting some artwork done which could be used as a Christmas card so you could print that off and add the code for the download. Christmas present sorted! The website’s currently being updated so you’ll be able to link to the purchasing site directly from here. Come back next week and check it out.

That’s it for now. Keep warm and try not to eat too much of the carbs. There’ll be a huge price to pay come January otherwise when you might find yourself having to go pound some pavements with me! 😉


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