I love music. All types of music.
The artists I most admire and listen to LOUD in the car are an eclectic bunch (in no particular order):
|Seal||Barbra Streisand||Nina Simone||Jeff Buckley||Annie Lennox||Jamiroquai||Freakpower|
|Janis Joplin||John Lennon||The Beatles||Cliff Richard||Coldplay||George Michael||Sarah Vaughn|
|Jackie Wilson||Fiona Apple||Nick Drake||Anita Baker|
I have always written poetry since my mid-teens, but I started writing melodies at 19. Since then, I couldn't stop writing songs.
I travelled to England (I'm originally from Southampton and moved to Australia when I was very young) and worked hard at low-paid jobs and music. I moved to London and promptly encountered depression after my God-Uncle (Uncle Tom) died in Australia (who I was very close to). Suicidal depression plagued me on and off for the next 8 years. Many of my songs involve my battles with "The Black Dog" (Winston Churchill's description of depression). You might notice two dogs on the cover of Fire & Snow.
My long struggle with depression stole a fair proportion of my youth, and my musical ambitions. I didn't have the strength. I was on some anti-depressants for a short while, but they just made me worse, so since then I haven't gone near the drugs. I've been trying (and succeeding) in healing myself.
In 2003 I became pregnant with our first child, Damaris. She was born in Maidstone, Kent in May 2004. I owe her so much. She helped save me from myself, and she, her sister and brother still do.
In 2004 I became pregnant with Zyah. We felt it would be unfair for our children to not know their family in Australia, so we moved back to Perth in 2005. Zyah was born in Armadale Hospital in September 2005.
As we are hippies in spirit, we named our two girls Damaris Aubrey Fire Storm and Zyah Violet Snow Storm. Now you know where the album name came from for Fire & Snow.
In 2006 I was introduced to a fantastic new concept: Crowd-funded music. Today kickstarted projects are common, but in 2006, Sellaband was a revolution to allow decent music to be heard by the world, without having to find record executives.
I signed on, and put a few demo's up. I loved the atmosphere and inter-connection with people who loved music as I do. I spent many hours of the day and through the night enjoying connecting with many of the community on Sellaband.
The lovely supporters of Sellaband musicians (mostly in Holland) crowd-funded me to the tune of $50,000 USD. I became the 7th artist (and the first from Australia) to secure the required funding to record an album. I will forever be grateful to those generous people.
Soon after the funding, I was invited to Holland to perform at the Paradiso in Amsterdam and at a festival in Almelo. After the Paradiso gig, I was introduced to Mick Glossop, who has produced Van Morrison forever, and also a couple of Frank Zappa albums amongst many other well known artists. I got along very well with Mick (although for the first part of the conversation I had no idea who he was and how much he would like to work with me! He told me that it was my voice and the range it had that really attracted him to want to work with me). Mick told me that he would like to produce my album, and agreed to meet up with him in London the next week.
I found out while we were in Holland, staying with a lovely lady called Lydia, that I was pregnant (again). This was extremely stressful and upsetting for me at the time (I had music to look forward to at last), but the little boy growing inside me was and is an amazing human being and I'm so glad he chose to join me in this life journey. He was the most wonderful shock/surprise I have ever been given.
In London, after I'd met with him, I chose Mick as the producer of my album... because of his experience, the artists he's produced, and the fact he wanted to record the album live in the studio... which I have always believed in to be the best way to capture the music's essence, vitality and emotion... raw and somehow spiritual.
Back in Australia, I sent a number of my favourite songs through to Mick to short-list. He soon sorted out the ones he thought would fit best on the album. We didn't have enough budget/time to record them all as a full band, so we had to do a few as simple acoustic versions.
When I went back to London to record the album, I met the musicians Mick had chosen to perform:
- Johnny Scott - Guitars. Johnny had been Van Morrisons guitarist for a number of years, and he was taking a break, which was lucky for me as he is brilliant.
- Liam Genockey - Drums. Liam is one of those drummers who has absolutely perfect timing, which is why he had been Steeleye Span's drummer for forever.
- Tim Harries - Bass. Tim was also a member of Steeleye Span, which was great as it's very important for the rythym section (drums/bass) to 'feel' each other.
- James Lascelles - Keys/Dulcimer/Percussion. James is a multi-intrumentalist who makes it all seem easy. I'd never heard of the Dulcimer before, which is a hammered stringed instrument.
After a session working out the songs with Johnny we all spent a few rehearsals (Bush Studio's in Shepherd's Bush) getting to know the songs and working on them. We spent the next 5 days in Dean St Studios. We were very lucky to get into Dean St, as it's one of the very few studio's left which is big enough for a whole band to record in together. Most other studio's had been split up into smaller ones. Dean St is where the likes of David Bowie have recorded in the past.
Remember, when you listen to the album, it was recorded live in the studio. I re-did some minor vocals and also recorded backing vocals at Mick's studio the week afterwards, where James added a little bit of percussion and Johnny did some over-dubs on guitar, but everything else was recorded live... no chopping up and splicing of multiple takes together. All of the songs were recorded in 2-4 takes and some vocals that weren't used at Dean Studio's were recorded at Mick's in 2-4 takes, so what you hear on the album is mainly what was recorded from start to finish.
On the first day in Dean St, I was waiting around all day while they played around with getting the sound and everything right. Around 10pm, Mick says to get onto a song for a sound-check/practice. We played 'Alive' and I just thought it was a warm-up/practice/sound-check. Nope. Mick liked it, so it was our one and only take of that song. I think we were all surprised.
Sellaband was a great concept, but poorly executed. It enabled artists to record music, but there wasn't anything in the way of promotion. So my album, as well as all the other Sellaband albums, were hidden from view, drowned amongst the multitude in iTunes and Amazon. Sellaband expected the artists to somehow create and/or pay for their own promotion of the albums. Therefore, I'm not surprised you've never heard of my album before.
That's not to say I didn't give it my best shot. As soon as I returned to Australia I tried to get a band together. For over 2 years I tried, and either had musicians who were really nice but not very good, musicians who were very good but either on drugs or were alcoholics, or musicians who just weren't as dedicated or reliable as the music needed.
So, I gave up after a few years of this fruitless search. I couldn't find even one acoustic guitarist to go around and perform with (all the good ones were busy in other bands). I wish I'd learned guitar or piano when I was younger, then I could have been self-sufficient.
I still wrote songs, often with musicians on the other side of the world, who just love music as I do (not for fame or money (though that would be nice), but for the joy of creating). I can put an interesting melody and lyrics to almost any music.
So, here we are. That's the brief story. I hope you enjoy my music, as much as I enjoyed creating it. If it helps you in your life at all, then I would be very happy.
Oh, and Zeth Micheal Thunder Storm was born in May 2008. He was there throughout the creation of the album, and is included (as are Damaris and Zyah) on the front cover of the album (Zeth has the lightning bolts). My life has ben blessed with children and music.