Hi Sarah! I’m so excited to see you perform live at New to This Solar System tomorrow night; thanks so much for finding the time to answer my questions
Q. Tell me, how did you get started?
A. Guitarist Ben Hood and I met at Southampton University and have been performing together with drummer Rob Austen since we graduated last July. For the Sevenoaks Festival, Ben and I will be performing as a duo.
Q. So, what you do for your day job?
A. I live in East London and work as a professional singer. Aside from Ben’s solo work, he also works as a professional songwriter, singer and teacher.
Q. And, how did you get into music?
A.My Dad, Grandparents and Mum were all music lovers, so my sisters and I played music and sang from an early age. Ben has been a songwriter for many years; since watching blues-guitar band Divided by Three with his Mum in concert.
Q. Aside from the love of music, do you have any other creative outlets?
A. We both love cooking, Ben makes incredible paella and I bake most days. I love my knitting, painting and writing too.
Q. Do you have any particular musical inspiration?
A. We’re both big fans of Elbow; their music, lyrics and production are all incredible. I listen to a lot of the female jazz singers including Ella Fitzgerald and Julie London and am greatly influenced by music and instruments from China, India and Africa.
Q. So, what’s your mission for your music?
A. I’d love to travel with my music, and learn to play more instruments and techniques from different cultures.
Q. Is there anyone in particular that has inspired you or given you great advice to get where you wanted to be?
A. I met an incredible musician called Rob Greenfield at my secondary school who encouraged my singing and song-writing, he will always be a musical inspiration to me.
Q. Tell me a bit about your history as an artist?
A. I’ve led several acts and bands since school. Then, at University I began performing with Ben, we’ve been gigging, writing and recording together since. We play with friend and drummer Rob Austen and have begun rehearsals with bass player James Williams. We’ll be performing with cellists, a keyboard player and percussionist for some of the upcoming Summer gigs.
Ben joined a band at University and, since graduating, began performing his own material with them. He’s now recording his debut solo album with the same group of musicians.
Q. Are there any especially memorable gigs you have played?
A.Selling out Ronnie Scott’s Bar and the Jazz Club Soho earlier this year with Ben and Rob are two incredible gigs we’ll never forget. One of my most memorable performances however, was a spontaneous, wine-fuelled jazz gig in the crammed cellar of a piano bar in the Latin Quarter of Paris. The owner of Aux Trois Mailletz invited me to sing with the world-famous house band, it was brilliant.
Q. Do you have any future developments my readers might like to know about?
A.We’re performing at a new festival in Benenden on 10th August called Jack’s Festival, and again at Local and Live Music Festival at The Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells over the August Bank Holiday. We’re in the process of recording for release later this year. Ben’s also been recording his solo album ready for Autumn 2012.
Q.How did you end up involved in New to This Solar System and fundraising for Breast Cancer Care?
A.We met Steph when lead singer of The Find, Jay, invited us to perform for Breast Cancer Care earlier this year. It was a wonderful gig for a brilliant campaign.
This is the first time we’ve been involved in the Sevenoaks Festival so we’re really excited to be performing this year.
And I’m sure everyone is really looking forward to seeing, what is sure to be, a stellar performance tomorrow night at Sevenoaks School for the Breast Cancer Care Benefit Concert. It’s been lovely getting to know Sarah Lillie and I wish you all the best for tomorrow evening.
To all those that are thinking of attending, tickets are available on the door and you are guaranteed to have an amazing night of music whilst raising funds for a very worthwhile cause. I look forward to seeing some of you there!