Story so far…..
Earliest Instrument memories that maybe ain’t so rock n roll..
1) Playing ‘3 Blind Mice’ on the recorder: aged 5
2) Playing 2nd Violin on ‘Eine kleine Nachtmusik’ in an orchestra: aged 8
3) Playing ‘Silent Night’ on a trumpet in front of a church on my own: aged 8
Pretty standard foundations for any instrumentalist but I never remember being that excited about them.
I always loved music and loved getting lost in its world. Without sounding too cheesy it was the friend to hang out with and relate to when the whole world seemed like aliens.
My breaking moment in playing instruments came when I saw my friend playing his classical guitar. I knew I had to learn it. He sold me his old knackered guitar for £5 and rang me up 2 days later to charge me an extra £3 because he’d ‘just remembered’ he’d put new strings on it. He went on to teach me the chords to ‘Wild Thing’ and ‘Everyday’. Guitar Quest on!
2 years of classical guitar lessons and wondering why I hadn’t been taught any Bon Jovi songs yet led to my purchasing my first electric guitar (a red Sunn Mustang Strat copy and a Torque practise amp for £75). Nirvana came crashing in and I was at my happiest showing my friends how to get feedback… My teen rebellion days. The Breeders, Hole, Pearl Jam… I shook Kim Deals hand at my first proper gig (the first two were stadium gigs: New Kids on the Block and Bon Jovi) and decided that very second I wanted to do what she did. It was round about this time I started to really dislike school regimes and distinctly remember telling my Biology teach that I was gonna be a rock star…..
I had my first band gig with ‘Oblivion’ in Wakefield at the age of 18, singing and playing guitar. We were so bad our drummer left with embarrassment the day before the gig. I have a video of this night and I watch it whenever I need an ego boost. I also remember how cool I thought I was… It was watching myself back at this gig that put me off singing and steered me towards becoming a female lead guitar legend. Flying the flag for the ladies. I realised there were few of us around and made it my duty. I joined a metal band called ‘Corrosive’. We played a handful of gigs and then split due to ‘musical differences’. I was then asked to join a funk pop band ‘Disco Deviants’ because my friend found me crying in the toilets at college when my band had split up. I don’t think they really needed another guitarist…
For the next 5 years I got involved in music education. This was against the ‘discouragement’ of my careers advisors who appeared to look down on music as a viable career option (hence how encouraging I am now towards kids/adults who want to create). I played as much as I could in any and every band opportunity. My influences became Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Nuno Bettencourt…. After moving to Liverpool in 1999 my 3 most distinctive band experiences were ‘Cleetus’: an 80s covers band and group of mates who drank a lot of tequila and upset most of Liverpool’s Indian restaurant owners (don’t tell the government that this was where most of my student loan went….). The Mercedes Ferrer Band with which we toured Spain: This was my first taste of gig-based travel. Francesca Lee Band in which I got to carve my own guitar parts out to some great original tunes. We were filmed for MTV and recorded an album. It was at this time I wrote my first original guitar instrumental tracks for a project and had my first stab at reworking a cover (Madonna: Like a Prayer).
When I graduated in 2001 I had a huge ‘need’ to prove that being a musician was worthy as a career and earned my living with a combination of teaching in a music school and playing restaurant/function covers gigs. These years were a fantastic learning experience but they effectively landed me into a very disheartened place in terms of playing, mainly because I wasn’t creating. I also hit a point where I started to feel gagged as the guitarist in the band. I felt like I had more to say and my voice was starting to wake up. My ‘inner Courtney Love’ was starting to rear her head and she wasn’t happy playing Sugar Babes songs. In 2004 after no longer understanding why I loved playing guitar I stopped everything I was doing and went on an adventure to Canada and USA playing acoustic guitar on tour for an originals band. A combination of house concerts, pubs and festivals. No wages were involved; I got fed and had somewhere to sleep. Perfect. I really, really learned to appreciate food and hot water like never before….
This time was very challenging in a lot of ways but it restored my motivation, hunger, desire to create and passion for who I was and what I wanted to do. I needed to write songs, share my experiences, travel, be creative all in an independent liberated way and spend some time seeing the world in this way.
I started writing….2005
2005-2010: I wrote and gigged, a lot. I home recorded 3 demo CDs. Ran gig nights. Got my band together. Started painting and exhibiting my artwork.
2010: I self-funded, designed and organised the launch for my debut acoustic album: CYCLE GRACE PULSE BREAK. Got inspired. Started teaching again…
2011: Gigged, painted, drew, sang, got reviewed.
2013: Release EP Chasing Tales to many favourable reviews and great gigs to come…
2014: Still plan on being a rockstar