Well, times have certainly changed since my last post in March. Within days of that blog, guidance was escalated rapidly by the government which saw the UK adopt social distancing measures. This was then quickly followed by lockdown measures that we now accept as the daily norm. A real whirlwind of a week.
And while it remains very strange times in which we live, thanks to social media and online video conferencing software, we in the creative industries have been able to explore new areas and platforms for performance, education and training.
It's been absolutely fantastic to see so many musicians, actors and performers come to the fore at this time and help to keep people entertained, engaged and their spirits high. Furthermore, having never previously had to deliver sessions or workshops online before, I've been really pleasantly surprised by just how effective 1:1 voice/singing lessons, vocal masterclasses and even large scale choir rehearsals (of up to 60 vocalists) can be, thanks to software such as Zoom.
While it can obviously never quite replicate the full experience of an actual, physical session, it can certainly get very close and, in some cases, be just as effective for all involved. Indeed, the past few weeks have seen me deliver a variety of 1:1 singing and voice sessions, as well as an entire day of sessions with members of the British Army, which was a real blast. Great guys and really talented musicians, too. Furthermore, over at Voice of the Town, we've been able to take all of our groups online and still have really fun, musically beneficial rehearsals in which we're able to hone parts and look at new material, too.
So if you're interested and able to use this time to develop your voice, whether it be for singing or public speaking, or perhaps even to work on rep or a different style to what you normally perform, get in touch to enquire about online sessions and I'll be more than happy to help.
Take care and stay safe,
It's been an action-packed few months since my last update and the coming few weeks and months provide little let up, too. Following my previous post, Voice of the Town went on to deliver 8 fantastic performances with Take That, Lulu & Rick Astley on their 7 Birmingham Arena shows in front of nightly crowds of 15,000 people. This then culminated in a show at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium to an amazing crowd of 30,000 plus. It was an incredible production (as you can see from the pics below) which provided amazing memories.
In terms of voice coaching, the past year has given me the absolute pleasure and privilege of working with a fantastic array of voice clients and students. From working with arguably the hottest talent to emerge from the North East (and to take the likes of Radio 1 etc by storm) in quite some time, to 1:1 sessions with one of the Dragons from BBC's Dragon's Den, to talented actors, West End Performers and fantastically motivated clients preparing for auditions, recording sessions, tours or just simply, to improve their voices, it's been a terrific last year.
Furthermore, I've continued to work closely with a great number of clients who are professional voice users from industries such as business, media and education. These are fields in which those working within them are tasked with using their voices a great deal, and often in important, public arenas and settings. So finding your ideal voice, vocal delivery or simply improving the projection, strength and/or stamina of your speaking voice can crucial in many cases.
And while a confirmed tour in China for this very month (March 2020) with Motown legends Martha Reeves & The Vandellas has ultimately been postponed due to the impact of the coronavirus in the region/across the globe, there's still plenty going on. Closer to home, I really look forward to working members of the British Army for one of their on-going music projects while I continue to work in further and higher educations by providing 1:1 sessions and workshops to the next generation of talented performers. And with a number of performances and shows in the gig calendar, you'll likely see me at a venue/festival in the very near future, here in the North East and beyond.
So if you're looking to improve your voice, whether that be for singing or public speaking/theatre, get in touch and I'll be delighted to discuss, and help you to achieve, your vocal goals.
Working in the music industry really is such an exciting journey, as you never can tell what kind of opportunities might come your way next. But with lots of hard work, and a bit of luck thrown in, life can get pretty interesting.
So it brings me such pleasure that with my company Voice of the Town, our Birmingham and Newcastle choirs will be performing live with Take That in 8 of their upcoming shows as part of their Greatest Hits 2019 tour.
With 7 shows at the stunning Birmingham Arena (between May 12th and May 19th), and a further show at Middlesbrough FC’s Riverside Stadium on June 1st, we have a hugely exciting period ahead of us. Though only able to announce it publicly very recently, we’ve been hard at work in rehearsals over the past few weeks and can’t wait to hit the stage with such a global name and at such fantastic venues.
So keep your eyes peeled for more info after the event unless, of course, we see you there…
Once again, it’s been such a busy last few months that finding time to update here with recent events, has been a real challenge.
With lots of voice coaching sessions, singing lessons, shows/performances, workshops/masterclasses and a cracking tour, it’s certainly been a packed, but really enjoyable, period.
The tail-end of 2018 saw a glut of fantastic shows with Voice of the Town across our groups in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle. And, it’s more exciting times ahead there too with the launch of our new Coventry group, starting this coming March 18th.
It’s also been great and a real pleasure to be asked back by the likes of Sage Gateshead and Newcastle University to run individual workshops and masterclasses, predominantly in vocal technique, Estill Voice Training, Singing in Popular, Contemporary and Musical Theatre styles, as well as arranging for ensembles/vocal harmony groups. Along with leading the Estill in Popular & Contemporary Music module at Sage Academy, it’s really great to continue working with some of the best upcoming talent in the North East.
And in terms of personal performances/tours, following on from the amazing European tour with Motown legends Martha Reeves & The Vandellas last March, late November/December 2018 saw me playing piano once again for these amazing ladies as we toured with the iconic British Indie/Rock band, Ocean Colour Scene.
As someone who grew up in the 90s, it was incredible to share a tour with these top guys and musicians (who are sounding better than ever it has to be said), while recounting songs from school days. And with shows at the likes of the stunning SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Manchester’s iconic Albert Hall and lots of other top venues around the UK, it was a real privilege to be involved. Check out some of the tour snaps below…
To the present date though, and 2019 already promises to be a fantastic one with some hugely exciting shows in the pipeline (more details to come soon). Furthermore, working on a weekly basis with lots of talented students and clients, be they vocalists, actors, teachers, professional voice users or those requiring voice rehabilitation, in my vocal sessions and singing lessons is always such a pleasure. And if you’re interested in developing your voice, whether that be for singing or speaking, please feel free to get in touch and I’d be delighted to work with you.
Back in Newcastle following a truly memorable and utterly fantastic set of European tour dates with Motown legends, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas. The level of appreciation from the crowds we played to was nothing short of incredible and hugely gratifying.
Playing piano for these age-defying, classy, iconic ladies has been a real privilege and honour over the past 5 years and their energy levels and ability to command standing ovation after standing ovation, show after show is really something to behold.
Thanks to all the people who came out to see us firstly in beautiful Bilbao, Spain, where we played a sold-out show at the city's fantastic BBK venue. It was then briefly back to the UK for a show before heading off for a two night, three shows residency at the iconic Blue Note Milano jazz club in Milan, Italy. An amazing venue which has hosted many of the most renowned jazz artists from the past 6 decades. Finally, it was back to Spain and this time the gorgeous Catalonian city of Girona, north east of Barcelona, for another sold-out show at the hugely impressive, 1,250 capacity Auditori de Girona theatre. And what an unbelievable audience we had too to round of a truly brilliant little run of dates.
To get an idea of what went down on tour, check out some of the pics from the various shows, below...
Yes, there's a really exciting European tour in March with Motown and Soul legends, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, with shows in Milan, Barcelona, Bilbao and London already confirmed. It's been an unbelievable privilege to play piano in an incredible band of top musos for these remarkable ladies over the past 5 years. And even more of an honour in getting to know the ladies a little, to spend many an hour with them and hear just some of their incredible stories. More details coming soon on the tour, but shorts are definitely looking a good bet this March...
Aside from that, there are a variety of different vocal workshops and masterclasses soon to be delivered for organisations such as Newcastle University, Centre for Life and Sage while, on the coaching side, January has already brought a number of really driven new clients and students. So, along with the hugely talented people I already see on a regular basis, I'm excited to spend more time with everyone in the coming voice coaching sessions and singing lessons here in Newcastle.
So if you're struggling with what to get any friends or family who have creative/musical talent, but who perhaps just need a little guidance to help their development/realise their vocal potential, these could be a lovely little gift with a difference for that special someone.
For more details and to order your voucher, feel free to get in touch via the Contact page.
And I'd just like to say a very Merry Christmas to all my brilliant students, clients, musical chums and to all you who have stopped by and checked out the website. Have a fantastic festive holiday everyone! Steve
and professional voice users. Allied to that, there have been fantastic workshops and masterclasses as well as the latest cohort of Estill Practice Group participants that I've had the pleasure of training and working with.
And there are more exciting times ahead over the coming months with some really cool performances to look forward to with the likes of Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, Voice of the Town and more and at events including Lindisfarne Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe, and at venues such as Manchester's mighty Albert Hall. So stay tuned for more and in the meantime, feel free to have a good look around. Thanks! Steve