M is for Music, Mothers and MUSEfest!

M is for

Music…

Mothers…

MUSEfest….

So Music, obviously. Who are your influences and why? This is the kind of question that gets most music makers, performers, writers, players and lovers talking. I personally could go on about this subject for ages, there are many musicians to talk of. But I won’t, otherwise I won’t get onto the main point of this post. So here is the short answer I gave in an interview I took part in recently to promote the forthcoming MUSEfest event I am involved with:

Musically (I have) many influences; Ella Fitzgerald for her voice, Madonna for her business savvy and performance, PJ Harvey for her incredible music and ability to reinvent but stay true to her own sound, Jill Scott, for her consistently incredible vocals and songs, and for me, Martina Topley-Bird. When I first heard her voice on a Tricky track I was mesmerised. Here was a young, mixed race woman, singing in a somewhat bluesy manner, but with a very modern edge, over electronic, sample based beats… it was combining everything I was into at the time, still am, and it was like I was being told “yes it’s true, you can make the music you feel”. That was huge for me. (interview on drunkenmermaid.com)

Mothers… We all have one, and know some, and many of us will become them. I am very close to mine and she is a major influence on my life and most who know me regularly hear me start a sentence with “My mum says” or “My mum is doing this amazing thing at the moment”… etc. Yes Mum’s. I started a Facebook group called Mothers Make Music for, you guessed it, Mums who make music. The idea had come about from me finding a statistic saying that “The PRS for Music membership (writers and music creators) is currently only 14% women” (statistic from PRS for Music). I found that a shocking statistic. Why are there so few women writing and creating? And of that how many of them are mothers, and motherhood is just one of many varied reasons that women become less available to create music.  Again, I could continue, but  again, we have another point to his post.

Ah yes… MUSEfest.

Myself, London based singer songwriter and mother along with Paris based, Chicago born musician and mother, Hannah Judson, have created an international showcase of women in and around music, who have contributed dynamically, changed the dialogue, set the tone, and inspired others.  The launch event is happening in London on Saturday 29th November.  There will be live music from Miss Baby Sol, Osp Eldjarn, Hannah Judson, Jesse King. Plus we’re raising awareness and money for the White Ribbon Alliance, an amazing charity organisation that works for safe childbirth for all women everywhere. So that’s the Music and Mothers covered… But there’s more!!! There will be photography, art, video, a MUSEfest Leadership Award… Seriously, it is all going on. The venue is pretty intimate (Hackney Attic,  270 Mare Street, Hackney, London), so early ticket purchasing is recommended. £7 in advance/ £10 at the door. Tickets available here: http://www.picturehouses.co.uk/cinema/Hackney_Picturehouse/film/Musefest_18/show/n81tsj/

GO GET EM!!!

MUSEfest,
29th November 2014,
at the Hackney Attic, 270 Mare Street, Hackney, London.

http://www.musefestival.org

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Sound: Check

Sound:Check

On Saturday 2nd March, I will be singing with the OneTaste Choir at this spectacular event at St. John at Hackney, all in aid of ChildHope. There will be beautiful music, some of which we will be harmonising with, and there will even be a very special guest. If you are in, around, or can get to Hackney this Saturday night, I strongly recommend that you attend.  You wouldn’t want to miss out now would you?

xxx

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Blow Your Own Trumpet

Blow Your Own Trumpet

Neech and other artists share their knowledge at Diverse Music Solutions.

http://www.musicsolutions.org.uk

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Proud Neech

So, we gots another London show coming up.

This time we’re on the acoustic stage at the weekly event, Soul Food @ Proud Camden. Come down and warm your cockles with us. We’re doing new songs and old songs, and there’s lots of other music on too, something like 15 bands for your aural pleasure. Oooooh. 

Its on Sunday 19th Feb. Free entry, live music from 2pm – midnight. Neech acoustic set at 4pm. 

What a nice way to spend a sunday…

Proud, The Horse Hospital, The Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, Nw1 8ah

Nearest tubes: Camden Town or Chalk Farm

In the meantime, come follow me and hear new and old tunes: http://soundcloud.com/neechmusic

loves
xxx

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Post Water Rats…

Phew and WOWeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Its good to be BACK!

1st Neech gig in London for 2 years is now done. I’ve been on such a high all day that I couldn’t sit still to write this. What fun! How I’ve missed having a warble and a belt out, all dressed up and showing off. Lovely.

It was so lovely to see some familiar faces there. And new ones too. And really nice to be able to play our new songs out, and show everyone that I’m going through a new phase in my life… possibly softening a little, but not completely. And obviously the bulge in my gold dress more than hinted at the biggest change!

New song “Is It” went down really well, even causing some tears out there in the darkness. Oli and I really enjoyed playing “Learning“, of course having dedicated it to exes everywhere. My Mum, biased yet always painfully honest, rated it as one of her fave gigs. Can’t complain about that! Oli “Fingers” Thompson was on top form as always. That man is talent personified… and, musically, all mine (if I ignore his other musical projects)! I’m so proud of him!

After the gig we were whisked away by Mary Blue of Streetlife Radio for a quick interview, where she described me as a mix of Cleo Laine and Amy Winehouse, and Oli was compared to John Dankworth.  Make of that what you will.

Then it was back to the venue to watch everyone else down a few pints and enjoy the rest of the evening. Some other good bands on too. Most noteably, synthy electronic pop/soul girls “Heads Hearts”, and my new favourites, two Zambian brothers going by the name of “Bite The Buffalo”. Check them out!

So I think I have the live bug again… I wasn’t sure before the show how I’d feel. But I loved it. I’ve missed being onstage, getting glammed up to present my own work, and creating that thing that is created when I work with Fingers.

Watch this space, I think you’ll be seeing a bit more of Neech out and about.

I loves it.

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E is for Etta

Etta James has left the building.

born: Jamesetta Hawkins  25th January 1938 – died: 20th January 2012

I’m not the 1st to say it, but Etta ‘Miss Peaches’ James was a major influence on me. I, like many other female vocalists, would love to open my mouth and have Etta’s voice come out. I read her autobiography a few years ago, and loved it… For it’s simplicity, honesty, rawness and tales of life on the road and stage. She met everyone, performed with everyone, got high with a fair few, battled with many (recently with Beyoncé about the song she made famous, “At Last”). I have a huge respect for her that still drives me to sing better.

I don’t have any major words of wisdom, but I did read a nice quote on You Tube, under a video for “I Would Rather Go Blind” (I can’t find it now because of all the tributes posted since, but it went something like…):

“Damn, those angels up in heaven will be pissed that there’s someone up there now who can sing much better than them!”

 

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NEECHiNEWS

So I said a few days ago that I had a big day ahead of me and suggested I would get back to you on that. Well here we are…

Turns out there is going to be a babyneech joining us before the summer, around the start of June in fact. I am, of course, delighted. So is Mr Neech, Léo. The big day was in fact my anomoly scan day, that’s the 20 week (halfway!!!) check up scan, where you find out if everything is going well (it is), and if you want to know, the sex (we did).

It’s been an emotional rollercoaster ride so far. I’m not the most child-conscious person. I have zero experience of kids and I love red wine. And vodka. And staying out all night partying. And that has all had to stop. (I have a renewed love of sleep.) But this is a very exciting new chapter in my life, and while I really don’t want to rush things (I am so not prepared!) I can’t wait to meet the little person! But never fear, this is not about to become a baby blog… just wanted to share my news. And avoid awkward moments when you see me and are too scared to ask me who ate all the pies.

This also coincides with me and Oli booking ourselves in for our first London Neech gig in 2 years. Yes we’ve both performed with other bands, choirs, and together with friends for the infamous SickRock soirées. But as Neech? Seems like ages, and it is. It was only when Oli pointed out that our last few Neech performances had been in Paris that I realised we’d been neglecting the homeland. But not any more. We’ll be showcasing a few new tunes as well as a few oldies. All acoustically as it’s been rather unplanned and last minute (not my usual way of doing things), with no time to get together with a full band for a jam. Bientôt, j’espère.

It’s also my first gig with a bun in the oven. Now, the important decisions… Do I draw attention to the bump or bag it out and just look like a casual fatty? What to wear, what to wear…

bisous my loves. xx

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1st London show in 2 years.

CHERUBS! I HAVE NEWS!
NEECH IS BACK!!!! LIVE! ON MONDAY 23rd JANUARY!

After 2 years swanning about on the other side of the channel Neech has returned to the UK! This is the 1st London gig in all that time, and we’re easing ourselves in with a gentle, start of the week, early doors, acoustic show (just me on vocals and Oli on geetar), featuring some new songs, and perhaps a couple of old ones for you to singalong to. It would be SO BLOOMIN’ LOVELY to see you there.

You know the Monto Water Rats venue near Kings Cross, right? Well it’s there. We’re onstage at 7.30pm… so come straight from work innit! And there are 3 other bands on after too (The Marauderz, Bite The Buffalo and Heads Heart) so you can get your boogie bones warmed up for the week if you so desire.

It’s usually £8 on the door, but you know how we loves you, so if you click attending on the Facebook event or send me your names we’ll stick you on our £4 list. How delightful. £4 for live music in London! That’s more value than you get your tube fare!

Hope to see you on Monday. (Facebook event with directions etc, here: https://www.facebook.com/events/284919851562514/)

Loves,
Neechy

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New Year New Neech!

Merry New Year!

So I’ve been away a while, but I have been busy.  And as a writer, lover of lists, resolutions and talking, it was only a matter of time before I got to the ‘must write blog’ section of my resolutions.

The second half of 2011 was pretty damn good Despite the fact that I didn’t feel like I was making much of my own music. But looking back, that’s wrong. Yes I was singing beautiful harmonies with others, especially The OneTaste Choir (including backing vocals for one fabulous Miss Alice Russell) and performing/ recording with the Dancefloor Outlaws and Profit (of course). I was also, slowly but surely, writing a whole load of new Neech material with the wonderful Monsieur Oli Thompson. Hopefully you will get to hear the new material soon, but for those of you who can’t wait, I have uploaded a couple of bits of work in progress (remember that!) onto Soundcloud.

The first is ManCloud which is currently midway through being produced by Paris’ finest, Borrina Mapaka (Longo). Oli and I recorded guitar and vocals back in September 2011, and left the rest up to Borrina and the boys. Production is temporarily halted as a massive studio move is underway but you can hear the direction it’s headed.

The second track I’m sharing with you at this early stage is called Is It?. This is a recording we made just after we had finished writing the bare bones of it, mainly so we could remember it. Personally I still really like it. I’d be interested to know your thoughts… but be gentle. I am still a sensitive artiste.

I’ll be back soon with more, but I’m signing off for now as today is a very big day for me. More on that soon.

Loves, more than ever.  xxx

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C is for Choir

What a lovely sing songy time this is turning out to be. But what’s really lovely, is taking the time to go and sing with other singers.

I’ve been in choirs at various stages during my life. My most memorable and longserving one being The Works, run by Laka D at the ENO’s Works building on Pitfield St. This was a large choir for 16-25 year olds. Each Wednesday we would meet to learn songs, harmonies, and songwriting. Throughout the year we would do workshops with singers, musicians and dancers from all kinds of backgrounds and perform at various events. I met some of my favourite singers in this choir; Nell, Ade, John…

Since then I’ve been in and run other smaller choirs and singing groups. But one in particular caught my attention. The OneTaste choir, run by the lovely Stac.

Having followed their events from afar while in Paris, I finally got the chance to go and be part of the OneTaste choir. And what a treat. Even just the harmonic warm up session filled me with with a warm tingly glow (or maybe that was the ants on the hall floor crawling on me while my eyes were shut?) Not only am I back in London, but I am BACK in the loveliness of a beautiful sounding singing group. I hope this is a love affair that can go on and on for aaaages.

I’m already signed up to do a show with the lovely ladies at the Bedford:

Come along if you can!

loves xxx

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