Friday, 22 June 2012

Dust on my shoes

Here is the video to my new single ! Hope you enjoy ! lotsoflove tt

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

New York

I was in New York last week - I'm such a sleepy person that I'm always dazed by the fast & frenetic energy of New York. I mostly spend my time in restaurants & coffee shops when I travel - even if I visit museums or galleries it's really an activity to fit around good coffee :) but somehow I did manage to visit Grand Central Station, awe inspiring, walk the High Line [link] a genius idea and spend my Sunday listening to beautiful gospel music in a church in Harlem. The Pastor's sermon wasn't too hail & brimstone either - she talked mostly about The Ugly Duckling & becoming a beautiful swan, even I can deal with that level of religious instruction :) Here are some photos, love tt

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Django Django/ Default

I'm addicted to this week's wake up song 'Default' by Django Django. It's familiar without being a pastiche and makes me dance ! Nerdy & hip, a bit like Peter & Gordon flirting with electronica, I hope you enjoy it as much as me :) love tt

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Masterclass

I was lucky enough to attend two masterclasses recently. The first was the Terence McNally play starring Tyne Daly as Maria Callas [link] (that's like two legends for the price of one !!). It is a very enjoyable production, and even if you are not an opera fan, the interaction between a flawed but charismatic master and her students is always a fascinating one. I saw the play on a Monday night when you would expect an audience to be quite subdued but Daly received a standing ovation - so you can imagine how impressive her performance is. The second masterclass was a real one - mezzo soprano Anne Sofie Von Otter and students from the Guildhall School of music. She is quite different to Callas -in fact in her trainers & casual clothing she doesn't really correspond to the idea of an opera diva at all ! Funny & inspiring - it was a real privilege to watch her. I noticed that Von Otter is a much more physical singer than the the young students - I wonder if that is something that a singer acquires with confidence & experience or is it an actual 'approach' to singing ? Obviously, in a masterclass the singer can't really talk much about technique - the focus seems to be on the interpretation of an aria - but I was curious to ask about this as I'm sure the physicality of a singer completely changes the sound. Anyway, there is one thing of which I'm sure - standing up & singing in front of your peer group &  being critiqued must be completely terrifying !! lots of love tt

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Mike Stocksdale / Love Song

This week's wake up song is from American singer-songwriter Mike Stocksdale [link]. 'Love Song' is one of those sweet songs that you want to hum along to as soon as you hear it. It's light and lovely and the video might make you a bit dizzy :) hope you enjoy, love tt

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Sophie Ward / Actress, writer


This week's TT Test is taken by the lovely Sophie Ward. In her long career as an actress she has appeared in many films including 'Young Sherlock Holmes' & 'Jane Ayre'. Her most recent role has been as Lady Helen Hoxley in the BBC drama series 'Land Girls'. She was also a top model & has recently completed her first novel. Clearly she is multi-talented & has some fascinating answers ! What is your wake up song at the moment ? If I want to really wake up, probably after midnight, then 'Mr Brightside' by The Killers. The lyrics are pretty dark, but all the best songs are dark. Which work of art or single event has most influenced you in your chosen profession ? I didn't go to school much but I did read and I was obsessed with Victorian novels like 'Jane Eyre'. It was all about stories, and I did all I could to be part of the world of my books. I wrote plays and directed them and made everyone act in them. If you could travel back in time, which period would you most like to visit and why ? I would not want to spend much time in the past, especially as a woman. But there are occasions I would like to be part of; lunch at the Algonquin with Dorothy Parker, a summer at Charleston House, a night at the Rue de Fleurus. That is probably cheating but if I have time travel at my fingertips then I would want to be quite specific. Get me into Apollo 11 on July 20th 1969. I love eating out & discovering new restaurants, can you please recommend one to me ? Food and restaurants are only as good as the occasion to me; who you are with, what you are doing. For that reason, I love Roganos [link] in Glasgow. It has the feel of the 1930s and a small menu with a good wine list. But most importantly it is near the theatre in which I was happiest, the Glasgow Citizens, and all my memories are of eating with friends after the show and being miserable or delirious depending on the night but always glad to be there. What is the best advice you have ever been given relating to your professional / creative life ? I went to a kid's drama group in the 1970s run by an extraordinary woman, Anna Scher. We worked in a community hall on an estate off the Essex Road and the classes were big, about 70 of us. It could have been chaos but Anna commanded a great authority. She focused on improvisation which was amazing for me because I was living in my imagination all the time anyway. Her tenets were based on Professionalism and she was right. BONUS QUESTION I understand that you have nearly completed your first novel 'The Schoolhouse' can you tell us a little bit about it ? How does writing fiction compare to acting ? Thanks for asking about my book! It's about an experimental school in the 1970s and what happens when the experiment goes wrong. I'm interested in who we are as children, is that a fixed place or can we change? How you behave in one important moment at ten years old, is that the definition of you? As for acting and writing the best of it is about what you make up, a lot of acting is believing that you are standing in a palace or a cave, not a room in the back of Elstree studios. What would happen when you first go into the cave? What do you feel when you see the monster for the first time? How would you react? Writing is like that only you express it in words not actions. Hopefully, you can make the actions be as eloquent as words and the words be as visceral as actions. 

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Etta James

Etta James has passed away - I loved her voice & her spirit. I'm posting the classic clip of Etta singing 'I'd rather Go Blind' with Dr. John - there won't be a dry eye in the house, love tt

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The Ladykillers / Crazy for you

If you want to have a real fun, old fashioned evening at the theatre I can recommend two shows that I've recently seen in the West End. 'Crazy for You' [link] has great Gershwin songs, the silliest plot and fabulous tap dancing. That sums up a perfect evening to me - and I  loved this show. 'The Ladykillers' [link] has beenadapted for the stage by Graham Linehan (whose writing credits include Father Ted, Black Books and the It Crowd ) and easily fulfils his desire to create something 'messier, something more like a Marx Brothers production' which is  relaxed with the source material  & finds another way of telling screenwriter BillRose's original story. The set is amazing & Marcia Warren as Mrs Wilberforce is perfect. If you enjoyed the recent stage production of 'The 39 Steps' you will also thoroughly enjoy the 'Ladykillers'! Love tt

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Peggy lee, Sarah Vaughan, Aretha Franklin, Roberta Franklin / Duke Ellington Medley

This performance is the best wake up song I could think of to start the new year !! Peggy lee, Sarah Vaughan, Aretha Franklin & Roberta Flack together singing Duke Ellington - it is the stuff of dreams and I'm always humbled when I watch this clip. I know the picture quality is not great but the music is magical. I hope you enjoy, love tt

Monday, 2 January 2012

Happy New Year !!

Wishing everyone a fulfilling and peaceful new year. Let's hope it is a vintage one! love tt

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Happy Christmas / "The King & I " !!!!

Very sorry for my belated greetings, I'd just like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas !! I spent Christmas in the beautiful city of Edinburgh which was unusually mild for this time of year. I even saw a few hardy people in tee-shirts ! I was there to see my brother Ramon appearing as the king in the 'King & I' at the Festival Theatre [link]. I had forgotten what a stunning musical the 'King & I' is, it has some great songs, a strong plot & a slightly batty sequence in the middle which in it's own way rivals the completely batty Halloween sequence in the film  'Meet Me in St Louis'. I was very proud of Ramon - he makes a great king & I think his co-star Josefina Gabrielle is a great Anna. It's  refreshing to see a musical that isn't a parody of a musical. A lot of modern musicals, as much as I enjoy them, end up being an in-joke on the conventions of a musical or are structured around already popular songs. So even though this is a classic musical it felt new. If you have the chance (and I promise, this recommendation is not for reasons of nepotism !!) it is well worth catching, love tt

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Cesaria Evora

I was sad to hear that the wonderful singer Cesria Evora has passed away. I once saw her in an airport lounge & was too shy to approach her and tell her how much her music meant to me. 'Miss Perfumado' is one of my favourite albums and seeing her live one of the highlights of my concert going experiences. She will be greatly missed, love tt

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Blue Gardenia

The song I sang in the recent scene I shot in the French film 'Goodbye Morocco' is 'Blue Gardenia'. You may be familiar with the lovely Dinah Washington and Nat king Cole versions. I felt very nervous about this - as I sang the song live in the nightclub scene & also it isn't the kind of song I am used to singing. However, I guess it's good to try new things ! And I was  thrilled to be on set with my friend actress Lubna Azabal who plays the film's main character - and to watch her working. I'll let you know when the film is released - but in the meantime please enjoy the awesome Nat king Cole ! love tt

Monday, 28 November 2011

Andrew Roachford / Singer-Songwriter

This weeks TT Test is taken by the wonderful Andrew Roachford [link]. His band Roachford formed in 1987 was the biggest selling UK act on Columbia records for ten years including the hits 'Cuddly Toy' and 'Family Man', as a writer he has been approached to write for everyone from Michael Jackson to Chaka Khan, and recently he has also co-written and sung lead vocals on the new Mike & the Mechanics album. His new solo album 'Addictive' has just been released & you can catch him live mid-Decmber at the Jazz Cafe in London [link] !! What is your wake up song at the moment ? I really love Adele's song "Rolling in the deep" it's actually quite refreshing to hear something new with some blues influence that still sounds contemporary at the same time. Which work of art or single event has most influenced you in your chosen profession ? My family are all quite musical, so I grew up with my uncle and my dad practicing in the living room which was great, but the first time i was old enough to hear my Uncle(Bill Roachford) playing his saxophone at a gig I was completely blown away and I knew from them there was no other profession for me but music. If you could travel back in time, which period would you most like to visit and why ? I think there was something special happening in music in the early seventies and so much of my big influences were at their best (in my opinion) at that time. I would have loved to have seen Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix and Sly & the Family Stone live at that time :) I love eating out and discovering new restaurants, can you please recommend one to me ? My mother lives in Barbados and i go there as often as possible, one of the best restaurants there has to be 'The Cliff' [link] It is on the west coast of the island and of course it is situated on a cliff by the sea. It's the second best food on the island after my mums cooking!! What is the best advice you ever been given relating to your professional/creative life ? The best advice i think i have ever been given as far as my professional and creative life would be... "Don't be afraid of making mistakes". Tell me about your new album. Personally, every time I make a new album I have to feel the sound or the songwriting is evolving - even if, unfortunately, it turns out not to be true ! Do you feel that you are still discovering & revealing new sides to yourself on 'Addictive' ? I think a lot of people think that once an artist has done a couple of albums then that's as good as it's ever gonna get. I love all the albums I've done in the past, however I think that making albums are a learning process and as you grow as an adult your music grows with you. When I'm in the studio now I think the main challenge is to not put myself in a limiting musical box, which can easily happen when your first album does really well and people think that it is what defines you as an artist. But now im on tour and I'm playing some songs from my new album, they work well and bring a new energy to the shows.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The Bandana Splits / Sometimes

This week's wake up song is the very chirpy 'Sometimes' from the American trio 'The Bandana Spits'. It's the perfect feel good track for this late Autumn weather we are enjoying. I have a terrible confession though, close harmonies do slightly scare me, I'm not sure if this is because I don't know how to sing them or because at one point in a song with close harmonies I feel as if I have overheard some music spill from the basement ballroom in 'The Shining'... I guess this is my own musical neurosis & please just enjoy this totally wonderful tune without my aural baggage & besides the harmonies aren't that close!! love tt

Monday, 14 November 2011

A Round Heeled Woman

Saw 'A Round Heeled Woman' at the Riverside Studios [link] this weekend. It's based on the true of Jane Juska who placed an ad in the New York Review of books which read ' BEFORE I TURN 67 - next March - I would like to have a lot of sex with a man I like. If you want to talk first, Trollope works for me.' This is a very brave thing to do especially when you consider that she had not been touched for 30 years. She received 63 replies, from men aged between 32 and 84. She doesn't meet all 63 men ! However, the play does depict some of her more interesting encounters. Sharon Gless stars in the play... if anyone knows me they will know how exciting it was for me to see her performing in a theatre as I am a huge 'Cagney & Lacey' fan !! She is terrific in the play & it is well worth catching. And can you believe this ?!! Tyne Daly will be appearing in London early next year playing Maria Callas in 'Master Class' [link] !!! I've already bought my tickets :) love tt

Saturday, 12 November 2011

A Little History of the World - E.H.Gombrich

My most amiable companion for the recent gigs has been the 1935 classic 'A Little History of the World' by Austrian born art historian and writer Ernst Hans Gombrich. It's a book that was aimed at young readers - & in Gombrich's kindly, avuncular tone events from long ago seem much closer & connected to us. This humanity & warm-heartedness is touching & it leaves me dreaming of a world where people express their ideas before their egos. Perfect for any one who wants a satisfying read but may only have time to read in snatches - as every one of the forty chapters is self-contained - and of course for any one who loves great story telling! Strongly recommended, love tt

Thursday, 10 November 2011

A quick note...

Just a quick note to say how much I enjoyed the recent gigs in Lodz & Basel. It was a lot of fun to play Lodz with the different duo of double bass & clarinet/sax & flute - and Basel was slightly nerve-wracking. I hadn't realised that the performance space was going to be so big ! Thank you again for all those who came to the shows, hope to see you again soon ! Also, thanks to Agata Borowiec for taking this lovely photo which with her kind permission I have posted here ! love tt

Friday, 14 October 2011

Etienne Daho / Dani - Comme un boomerang

My wake up song this week is Serge Gainsbourg's 'Comme Un Boomerang' in this classic version from Etienne Daho & Dani. It's the song I always return to when I feel a bit Rock 'n Roll in a Euro way... the guitar solo prompts me to get up & dance in a slightly Euro way too, moody & not entirely committed to the dance at all ! Hope you enjoy : ) love tt