You and the Night and the Music

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Hello from a rainy grey London day. But when there’s no sun to distract me I can get my head down and get work done! I’m actually currently trying to book up my UK tour to promote the album and I can’t wait to get those dates to you, along with a very exciting gig that’s coming up in a couple of months time. I honestly can’t wait, its going to be brilliant.

The album is still going well, and continuing to be played on various radio shows. It also received a lovely write-up from Keith Ames at Musician Magazine:

The Musician review

 

Brilliant, thanks Keith! And thank you to all of you who’ve downloaded it or bought the CD!

I’ve had some great gigs recently too, most recently a sextet gig in Sheffield with an amazing band. So much fun!

Louise Dodds Sextet

 

Well I’m off for now, more phone calls to make, but hopefully next time we chat I will have some tour dates for you!!

Have a great weekend

xx

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Dancing on the ceiling

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged since April! Tsk tsk, although its an indication of how insane things have been. Its that time of year when weddings, parties and corporate events are in full swing, and I’ve been doing so much of that, that my own music and album has kind of fallen by the wayside. I shouldn’t complain really, its great to be so busy and I love playing as often as possible.

However, its time to get my head down, stop procrastinating and start scoring things off my ever increasing list of ‘things to do’. i.e. I’m going to be putting some dates together very soon to promote the album. Hopefully I’ll be coming to a town near you! More news coming shortly

xx

Backstage Sally

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So its finally over! Last week I released my new album and launched it at The Jazz Bar in Edinburgh on Wednesday 10th. It was such an incredible week and I have to say I was blown away by the response and the support.

First up, the wonderful Paul Barnes played one of my tracks on his Saturday night show The Late Paul Barnes on BBC Radio Norwich, which was so exciting. He was really complimentary about the album. Secondly, the day before the album came out I received a call from the producer of The Jazz House on BBC Radio Scotland saying that they would like to do a telephone interview live from The Jazz Bar before I went on stage, which I did, and it was such great fun! They also played one of my tracks and again Stephen Duffy was very kind and complimentary about it. You can listen back to it here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01rrgcn

The gig was really busy and I had such a great response from the crowd. My very talented friend Kristie de Garis took some brilliant photos:

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My other talented friend Brian Robinson kindly filmed it so I can’t wait to put the footage up on line.

I’ve also had a lot of emails from people at the gig telling me how much they enjoyed it, which was really nice. I’ve even had an order from Japan!

Equally importantly, I’ve had some wonderful feedback from the musicians who played on the album, which is a reward in itself! So onwards and upwards from here! I have another interview coming up for BBC Radio Ulster with Linley Hamilton so can’t wait for that! And who knows, maybe a little CD review from a jazz magazine or two….

If you’ve got the album, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. And if you haven’t…..

Until next time!
x

Meditation

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So….its been quite a while since I wrote anything. I’ve had my head in the sand! Since the end of 2012 I’ve been working on my new album and its finally finished! It will be released on 10th April 2013 and I’m launching it at home in Edinburgh at The Jazz Bar, with more UK dates to follow later in the year.

I’m really pleased with how its turned out, in no small part to the amazing team I worked with. I was fortunate enough to record with John Pearce, Dave Green, Steve Brown and Martin Shaw, and the incredible sound engineering talents of Derek Nash at his studio Clowns Pocket.

There are 4 of my own composition on the CD, and its the first time I’ve released anything original, so a little daunting but it also feels like more of an accomplishment than if I’d just released a complete standards album. I’ve also written a lot of the arrangements myself so all in all I think I’ve achieved something with this CD. Now lets see what everyone else thinks of it!

I’ve created a little promotional video with some audio clips to give you an idea of how it will sound:

I’ve also commissioned something to coincide with the release which I’m far too excited about! Going to keep it secret for now……

Other than that, I’ve been doing a LOT of gigs on the piano which I’m really, really enjoying, its definitely something I want to do more of in 2013.

Finally, I had the pleasure of seeing Bobby McFerrin live at The Barbican recently, front row seats too! He is probably the greatest live singer I’ve ever seen. Everything about it was effortless, and such an incredible amount of talent. Something to aspire to!

So I’ll be back once the album is out to let you know how its gone down!

TTFN
xx

Warm December

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Well here it is, hectic season! I have to admit I really love it. I’m a huge fan of Christmas anyway, so I always love the run up to Christmas, but performing at venues decorated to the hilt, at Christmas weddings and at Christmas parties really adds to the joy of it.

I have quite a busy month ahead of me gig wise, but will taking some time off over Christmas and heading back up to Scotland. Of course I couldn’t resist doing a gig at one of my favourite venues The Jazz Bar in Edinburgh, so that will be my last gig of the year on 23rd December.

A few new things since we last spoke. I’ve been regularly performing solo piano and vocals at a lovely Thai restaurant in Reading recently, and loving being there. The staff and clientele are all lovely, not to mention the amazing food! Definitely worth the journey!

I’ve also been involved in a few creative projects. Firstly, I was asked to provide some vocals for an advert for a high fashion label, which will be shown in Paris during fashion week. The composer was in America so I recorded my vocals in my flat and emailed them over – gotta love technology! It was such a thrill for me to be involved in this, and hoping to do more in the near future. I have also started collaborating again with someone in London, who I composed and recorded a topline for earlier in the year. He’s now with a few publishers so we’re going to be working on some material together. It’s also encouraged me to start recording some of my own compositions. I have about 40, sitting on pieces of paper waiting to come to life so I am slowly starting to record them all.

Lastly, The Bellinis album is almost ready! This week we had the photoshoot to coincide with it, using the incredible talents of Claudia Rose Carter behind the camera, and Amanda from Lipstick and Curls behind the scenes. Here’s a sneaky preview:

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As my regular readers will notice, I have made a few changes to my blog. I decided to upload all my information about my bands, our set lists, how to book etc as I’m regularly asked for this information. So here it is!

Have a great December and I will be writing my next post before the year is out.

Toodles!

I Could Have Told You

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My main thing over the last month has been writing. Finally! Whoopee! And lots of new exciting projects as well, and its made me feel much more confident about my own writing skills. Its so personal, writing songs, and although you know deep down if its any good or not, it’s still daunting putting it out there.

Firstly, I have been asked to put lyrics to a couple of pieces by London based musicians. Both pieces are gorgeous but they weren’t able to write the lyrics themselves so asked me to do it, which I was more than happy to do as they’re both very talented musicians. They were both so delighted with the results which was a great feeling. I was also asked to write toplines and lyrics for a very popular electro dance duo through an agency – again the agency was really really pleased with my submissions. Just have to wait and see if they’ll use either of them. It would be amazing!

And last but not least, I have finally finished writing my own jazz album. I had planned on recording a new album of standards with a couple of originals thrown in, but the originals have kept coming and  now I think there will only be one or two standards, which is what I always wanted but couldn’t quite seem to get there. Now I’m trying to decide who to record with! I find it really difficult, there are so many amazing jazz musicians down here, but I want people that I also get on well with, who get on well with each other, and are into the style that I have written in. Its ready to go, just need to suss that out first!

I watched a documentary on BBC iPlayer recently which I found incredibly inspiring and I actually wrote a song straight after it. It made me never want to waste any time again and spend all day writing. It was about Jeff Lynne called Mr Blue Sky and if its still on, watch it! He is such an amazing guy but so shy and you never hear about him at all. He spends all day writing and has the most amazing house – instruments in every room which are all linked up to his recording studio. I want to live there….

Things have been going really well on the gig front too. I’ve been getting many private bookings for my own jazz group, which has been fantastic. I’ve also just been asked to join Todd Gordon on stage in Renfrewshire to perform some duets – I love duets!! Also, The Bellinis are continuing to go from strength to strength. We have finished recording our first album, which will hopefully be released this month, we have lots of bookings coming up until the end of the year and next year too, and we’ve had some amazing offers from very talented people.

The amazing Claudia Rose Carter is going to take some shots of the band in a few weeks, and the amazing Amanda from Lipstick and Curls has offered to do our hair styling for the shoot for free! We’re so chuffed about that as she is absolutely the best around at vintage styles. We’ve also been tweeted by lots of incredible people with huge followings, such as Wedding Magazine and Love My Dress Blog. I think 2013 is going to be the year of Bellini. Watch this space….

Anyway, ciao for now!

 

Where You At?

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Okay so its been quite a while since I last updated this blog. I guess I got a bit lost in what I was doing and where I was going. This week I took part in a course that was completely different from anything I’ve done before, and it spurred me on to listen to new (to me!) albums and artists, and it has inspired me to get back on the ol’ blog.

This week I took part in a course run by Voicelab at Royal Festival Hall down at Southbank, which looked at beat boxing, Indian singing, vocal percussion, looping and sampling. It was so different from the music I usually create and really got me out of my comfort zone for the first time in ages. I had actually bought a loop pedal a month or so ago but having tried it once, I put it back on the shelf, not really sure how to bring it to life and use it on stage. The beat boxing and technology side of the course was run by Jason Singh and he really brought my pedal to life! It was incredible. The Indian singing was run by Ranjana Ghatak, an incredible vocalist.

The course really brought my out of my own musical bubble and reminded me of everything else that is going on outside it. I find that I feel almost guilty if I don’t focus my musical energy on one genre, that I need to concentrate my efforts on it in order to really succeed at it. But listening and creating other types of music is so important and in turn, helps you to create something much greater than you could have ever done if you remained so insular. On the tube journeys to the course I started listening to albums I’ve had on my ipod forever but never listened to, and I found some music that I completely fell in love with.

Hopefully I shall remain inspired! But if it starts to lag again, at least I know how to drag myself out of it. Short courses (this was only 4 days) are such a great way to open up your skills, experience, inspiration etc – can’t recommend them highly enough!

As I’m starting to accumulate more and more equipment – in the last couple of months I’ve added in a new keyboard, 2 studio mics and a loop pedal – I’m so desperate to have a permanent space where everything is set up and I can just spend time in there playing, writing, recording. One day!

So until next time. I have some brilliant things coming up – another gig with the wonderful Lettie playing bass, my second overseas gig, this time in Portugal with The Bellinis and some brilliant London jazz gigs.

Now, where’s my pedal?

Aside

A Foggy Day

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So where do I begin?! So much has happened since my last post. Well, let’s start where I left off. After my last post I headed off to Lithuania to take part in a jazz vocal competition. It was definitely an experience, but a mixture of good, bad and downright confusing.I met some really lovely people who I hope to stay in touch with, and some of them were really great singers. It was lovely to be with so many singers together, all trying to make themselves heard in a world saturated with singers.

Klaipeda was very small and I didn’t take many photos, but one thing that caught my eye was the little bridge in the town where couples attached padlocks on their wedding day with their names inscribed on them.

After that I headed off to Milan to meet the rest of The Bellinis for our corporate function. What a blast we had! We didn’t have much time to really see Milan, but the event was fantastic and we went down a storm. We were treated really well, with great hotel rooms, transport and food. More of the same please!

Last month we also started a regular slot at Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen, which is going really well so far. We’ll also be playing at his York & Albany restaurant during the jubilee weekend.

Gig wise, things have been picking up for me which is fantastic news. I’ve been here 2 1/2 years now so hopefully it’s the start of things but only time will tell. I also have my very first gig on electric bass booked! It’s with the fantastic Lettie and I’m so pleased to be asked! Check out her blog here http://lettiemusic.wordpress.com/

I had a gig in lovely old Edinburgh at The Jazz Bar. Love playing there and had such a great night again. It was so busy and I got such fantastic feedback so it was quite encouraging. Here’s some video footage from the night

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27Kax8-9qnE

I’m desperate to get back in to songwriting but am struggling to find inspiration. There was a time when I found it quite easy but I seem to have lost my way somehow. Hopefully I will find my way back to it soon. Baby steps I suppose. I’m just trying to remember how I used to do it, but it’s all a little foggy at the moment. The one thing I do remember is that sitting in complete silence somehow always allowed my mind to start writing songs. I guess the silence gave my brain the chance to start putting things together and making music of its own, so perhaps I’ll try that again. The last song I wrote, I wrote sitting in the garden peacefully, and it started to write itself. I wonder if I have been listening to music enough recently for that to happen though.

Next Monday I have a gig with my favourite London jazz pianist at Massimo’s Oyster Bar so really excited and pleased about that! I’m going to try and sneakily record some of it so fingers crossed!

Onwards and upwards!

Until next time

xx

Come Fly With Me

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Okay so I’m 2 weeks behind, but I have been moving house and was without internet for 4 days so hopefully that is a fair excuse. While I’m at it, please remind me never to move again unless completely necessary. It’s so stressful and I’m still missing several vital items!

So over a week later, I’m finally sitting on our sofa that arrived today (we’ve been sharing one incredibly comfortable armchair and one not so comfortable drum stool) and thought this would be a nice time to update you on my goings-on for the last two weeks.

In a week’s time I’ll be off to Milan with The Bellinis to perform at a corporate event. Very short notice but thankfully everyone was free. So hopefully this will be the band on the road to more of the same. I find that, so often in this industry, it takes ages to get onto a particular circuit, whether it be weddings, session work, or overseas work, but once you are on it, if you do a good job you’ll find that there should be more heading your way. Fingers crossed anyway. Not sure I’ve put up a photo of The Bellinis yet, so here’s a photo of myself and the other singer:

Other than that, things were pretty quiet on the music front the last two weeks, and after twiddling my thumbs for a while I convinced myself to get back into practising and learning new songs. I have around 300 jazz standards under my belt and haven’t learned any new ones for such a long time – I thought it would be better to re-learn the old ones to a point where I can sing the chords changes of each one without thinking – but learning these new numbers reminded me of how much I love to do that. I also got back into using practice CDs. For me, it’s a really great way to practice licks and chord changes and ideas. I use Jay Clayton and Judy Niemack’s practice CDs, and also a sing-a-long CD of bebop licks.

So up next for me is the biggie. I’m in the semi-finals of the Jazz Voices International Jazz Vocal Competition which takes part this week in Lithuania. I’m so thrilled to be in it and can’t wait to take part, although heading off to a strange land on my own is a tad daunting. But worth it if I win! So keep your fingers crossed for me please. I’m flying straight to Milan from Lithuania so I’ll be jet lagged but happy!

Ta ta for now.

Accentuate the Positive

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So, a wee bit late this week, but my head has been elsewhere. We’re moving flat very soon and it’s been very stressful trying to sort out a new place.

Anyway, back to the music! Last week was the first rehearsal for my new band, Cheap Date, which was quite exciting, as I’m playing electric bass for this. As much as I love singing, I can play a few instruments and always wanted to put it to good use, as it were. I’ve also started playing clarinet with a swing band, but more on that next week!

So I’ve started a girl band with some friends Rosie (keyboards) and Gemma (drums) and we hope to start gigging asap. We’ve been focusing on electro/rock/pop covers to start with, but who knows where it will go! Personally, I need to have lots of projects on the go at once as I hate not being busy. It’s also good to have your fingers in a few different musical pies so you are earning from several different markets. Unless of course you have the holy grail of one band that’s succesful….

Last week was also my first wedding of the year, playing with The Bellinis at The Talbot Inn in Ripley. It was a really lovely wedding, and the bride looked gorgeous. However, as with most weddings, they were running late and the venue had noise restrictions in place, so in the end we were only able to play for 35 minutes! Felt a bit sorry for the couple but they seemed very happy with their 35 minutes thankfully.

Until next time!