The first thing to know about me is that I love to have fun and I love to learn! I enjoy trying new things and think it is important for our mental and physical well being that we have creative and emotional outlets in our daily lives. It is so easy to get bogged down in the responsibilities of adulthood that we often forget to make time for ourselves and do the things that set our soul on fire! Don't get me wrong: I'm not encouraging anyone to ignore their responsibilities - jobs need to be done, bills paid, important decisions made - but I do believe that we can do these things without totally losing ourselves (and what makes us happy) along the way. It helps to find joy in the most mundane of tasks (or, if this seems impossible, making sure we reward ourselves with something enjoyable once we are done!).
Singing and performing is a big part of that fun and creative outlet for me (although I do have others, see below). I started singing and performing properly when I was fourteen years old, but music has always been in my life. I come from a very loud (and proud) Italian family where playing a musical instrument was compulsory for everyone, and weekly large family dinners were followed by music sessions where everyone would play and sing. It was noisy and crazy, and often involved more laughing than harmony, but it was wonderfully expressive and fun. We never knew when an impromptu music session would start - someone would just start playing or singing something and everyone else would join in. It was a tradition that we shared as a family for many years.
At school, I had always been a quiet member of the choir (my confidence in front of others did not match the confidence I had at home with my family) but, with the encouragement of my music teacher, I found myself singing the opening verse of Amazing Grace as a solo, with the choir joining in from the second verse. My first public performance was in front of the whole school and local dignitaries at an awards ceremony. I was terrified, but I was also hooked on the thrill of performing! I can still remember the goosebumps I felt when everyone applauded (and I received my first standing ovation). The adrenaline stayed with me long after the performance ended. That was the start of my singing journey. Within a few months of this performance, I was asked to perform the solo for a memorial concert at The Symphony Hall in Birmingham. It was the most incredible experience to have at fourteen. I was very lucky to have so many great performance opportunities at school - I went on to be the lead in the school musicals, performed in many school concerts, talent shows, weekly services and productions.
I loved learning then as much as I do now, but musical theatre and acting were particular passions for me as a teenager. I took A Levels in Theatre and English with a view to studying Theatre and Performing Arts at University. I went to Demontfort University in Leicester to study Theatre, and it was here that my passion for singing really flourished. After being talent spotted at a karaoke night with friends, I joined a professional male singer who was already performing around the UK to form a duo act named One Way. We travelled all over the country performing at a variety of events and venues for three years while I continued studying. I also took an active role in the university theatre company during this time, taking several leading roles in the productions and eventually becoming Musical Director. Together with a visiting tutor and a group of friends, we also formed an improvisation based theatre company called Radical Soup and toured with our self-written show. It was a time in my life when I was genuinely able to live, breathe, eat and sleep singing and acting. It was a busy but incredible time!
After three wonderful years of learning and performing, I achieved my BA (with Honours) degree in Theatre and left Leicester for pastures new. I was talent spotted at a duo gig and invited to audition for a recording studio in Colne, Lancashire. I was signed to their artist development programme with a two-year recording deal where I was mentored as a solo artist and trained in vocal technique and performance skills. I had to travel from Kidderminster to Colne every weekend - sometimes this could take up to five hours each way with the unpredictable motorway traffic so it was quite the commitment, but the experience and training was invaluable.
At the end of these two years, I moved down to Hertfordshire to live with my husband (my boyfriend at that time) and began singing as a soloist throughout the Home Counties and London. During this time, I performed at many great events and venues, and also became the lead singer for two busy pro function bands, and even did a stint as guest vocalist with the UK's largest military big band.
I was regularly asked if I could teach others to sing, but I had no idea how to teach someone how to get the best out of their voice. I began searching for teacher training but knew that I wanted to study the voice specifically (and not just music generally). I attended every workshop and masterclass that I could, began studying the science of singing and learning from some of the UK's top teachers. I eventually found The Voice College (an online distance learning academy) who could train me in how to teach the specifics of singing in a very informed, fun and practical way. I studied hard to gain a distinction in my Contemporary Vocals Teaching Diploma.
Fast forward ten years....... I now live in Herefordshire with my husband, eleven year old son and seven year old daughter. I run a busy teaching studio (based at my home) and lead four adult contemporary choirs with *Got 2 Sing. I am also now part of the tutoring team at *The Voice College, helping singers to become informed, confident and competent singing teachers.
My other hobbies include: roller skating (I am currently working towards my Grade 4); playing the ukulele and guitar, and playing board games with my family (Uno Extreme and Exploding Kittens are firm favourites!).
*Links to these company websites can be found on my CONTACT page).