• 5 music memoirs to inspire YOU

    I have a confession to make. I have a book problem. A genuine book problem. at any given moment I have an audio-book on the go, and my bookshelves are always overflowing. Don’t even think about letting me loose in Foyles. In good news though,  consider me your faithful music memoir reviewer. Here are 5  memoirs that have valuable lessons for every musician out there..

    1)You don’t need to come from a rich background (and have piano lessons from age 2!) to be a rock star!

    One of the best memoirs I’ve ever read is the hilarious, witty, and at times heartbreaking Clothes, Music, Boys by Viv Albertine. Viv grew up without any female guitarists to look up to. She was from a working class background and thought music was the domain of rich men. So what did she do? she jumped right in and became the guitarist in The Slits (one of the most influential punk bands to date!) By doing so, she paved the way for countless women after her. In my opinion, the most inspiring  part of the punk movement was the ‘can do’ attitude.

    Takeaway: Can you string a couple of chords together? You can make music. do it.

    2) Even legends make things they hate sometimes. oh, and they’re just people! 

    I enjoyed reading Bob Dylan’s Chronicles, and I was hit by the fact that being Bob Dylan has involved quite a lot of mundanity at times. Yes Dylan had a meteoric rise, but he’s also had years of plugging away at music since, and he’s no stranger to the daily grind. He’s also put time and money into projects he ended up hating and scrapping.

    Takeaway:Bob Dylan is a genius. If he gets stuck sometimes, perhaps we can be a bit more patient with ourselves? 

    3) Singing is a job. It’s not always glamorous!

    Want to understand the reality of being a singer? Read Tracey Thorn’s Naked at The Albert Hall. Tracey fronted Everything but the Girl but was a reluctant pop star.  Tracey discusses the wide spread fantasy people have about singers. It’s easy to assume singers are born talented, like angels that fell out of heaven with perfect voices. This is not so. Yes talent is a big factor, but hard work is a much bigger part of the puzzle.

    Takeaway: Singers are made not born. So keep practising!

    4) You don’t have to be an extrovert to be a performer!

    Often it’s the introverted, quiet types that long for the stage. Take Carrie Brownstein, guitarist in Sleater-Kinney. Carrie might have looked cool rocking out on stage, but she’s suffered from anxiety along the way. Sleater-Kinney broke the rules when it came to music. Lead Singer Corin Tucker would often tune the guitar to her voice, rather than to the other instruments, which gave Sleater-Kinney a discordant sound. Talk about doing things your own way.

    Takeaway: Don’t be scared to be yourself! 

    5) Follow your dreams, at the very least you’ll have an adventure!

    Last but by no means least, I can’t recommend Just Kids enough!This is Patti Smith’s memoir, and at it’s heart is a book about daring to be an artist. I don’t think Patti knew what she was going to end up doing (becoming the ‘Godmother of Punk’ couldn’t have been predicted!) but she knew it was going to be special.

    Takeaway: whatever you need to do to support your dream, do it. Have faith in your purpose and hustle, hustle, hustle!

    Is there an amazing memoir I’ve missed? drop me a comment and let me know!

    June 20, 2017 By @HannahMarie Advice Inspiration Singing Uncategorized
  • Why I joined a choir- and you should too!

    A few months ago, I discovered an article on the Voice Council website- How a choir inspired my Solo Artistry  by Anil Sebastian. I was blown away by the video of Anil and London Contemporary Voices performing. Their talent, beautiful arrangements and interesting song choices left me seriously impressed. I hadn’t come across a choir like this one before. Then I found out a friend of mine ( the talented musician Billy Boguard ) was in the choir too, AND LCV were auditioning new singers. I’ve since joined the choir, and recently performed with them at Oval Space.

    LCV at Oval Space, London, 6 April 2017. Photo by Carsten Windhorst / FRPAP.com

    Our ‘Guilty Pleasures’ set included Lady Gaga, Bon Jovi, and One Direction- all while dressed in our most fabulous clothes. I can honestly say it was a great night- uplifting and full of dancing! Several of my friends left wanting to join a choir, and I would definitely encourage them to. Here’s why:

    Being in a choir is good for your health

    According to the British Voice Association, Choirs have been shown to synchronise their heart and breathing rates, increasing and decreasing them in response to the music. It can also help to reduce high blood pressure, and improve breath control.

    It’s a great way to make connections 

    Whether you want to make friends with like-minded people, or are looking for other singers to collaborate with, a choir is a great opportunity for this.

    You develop your musicianship

    Depending on your vocal range, you will be assigned a voice part (Bass, Baritone, Tenor, Alto, Mezzo or Soprano). More often than not, you will be singing harmonic lines that differ from the main melody. You may even be using your voice in a rhythmic way or singing a guitar riff! This all helps to “train your ear.”

    You can be part of something amazing without being centre stage

    Not all singers want to be the ‘lead singer’ and that’s OK! You still need to ‘perform’ as a member of a choir, but the focus is less on you as an individual, and more on your role within the group.

    Its a lot of fun

    This doesn’t need much explanation- there’s just something so joyful about singing with others, whether its with friends at the end of night out, over karaoke or onstage in a choir.

    Our next gig is Beneath The Tracks at Omeara on May 8th- Come along!

    If you’re inspired to join a choir yourself, why not check out www.choirs.org.uk to find a choir near you.

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    LCV at Oval Space, London, 6 April 2017. Photo by Carsten Windhorst / FRPAP.com

     

    April 20, 2017 By @HannahMarie Uncategorized
  • Find out why a straw is your new best friend..

    My first singing tip video is here! I hope you will find them useful- I keep them short and sweet, so leave a comment or message me if you would like more information. This exercise helps balance the air above and below the vocal folds- which helps them function efficiently and easily. This ultimately results in increased stamina, co-ordination and vocal range. Not a bad result for making silly sounds into a plastic tube!

    If you would like to learn more about your voice and how to look after it, read my post on vocal health. You can also ensure you are first in line to see upcoming tip videos by subscribing!

    I’ll be uploading a new video to my Youtube channel  every Monday. The videos are for you, so get in touch if there is a topic you would like me to cover.

    Keep singing!

    Hannah

     

  • Laura Marling’s new project- a podcast on gender, creativity and music

    Laura Marling Reversal of the Muse

    Laura Marling Reversal of the Muse

    With her smokey vocals and otherworldly lyrics,  Laura Marling is one of my favourite artists- so I was delighted to hear that her new project is a podcast!

    The series entitled Reversal Of The Muse started as a result of Laura’s conversations with friends about female creativity. In her own words,- ‘It occurred to me that in ten years of making records I had only come across two female engineers working in studios… I began to ask myself what difference it might have made had I had more women around, if any. I wanted to know why progress has been so slow in this area and what effect it would have on music.’

    It is certainly true that the production side of the industry is still dominated by men- but in the era of DIY music projects, more and more singer- songwriters and artists will need some production skills in order to progress.

    In her first podcast, Laura speaks to Vanessa Parr, an engineer who has worked with the likes of Elton John, John Mayer and Melody Bardot, followed by her second podcast with the incredible (female fronted) band HAIM.

    Sign up for upcoming podcasts here!

     

     

     

     

     

  • In celebration of wonder women…

    Wonder Women GlobeFor those of you who are UK based, I highly recommend making it to the Wonder Women event at Shakespeare’s Globe this summer- featuring the talents of Róisín Murphy, Camille O’ Sullivan, and Flo Morrissey to name a few. The festival aims to celebrate ‘powerful and visionary women who are altering the complexion of popular music in the 21st century’ and is curated by the delightful Lauren Laverne. Gigs are priced from a very reasonable £10 too! Hope to see you there!