My musical career over the past 25 years has taken me from singing Jazz standards with my family to playing Irish music in Belfast pubs to performing Yiddish songs in City Hall, and full circle back to Jazz again!
My first break came at the age of 13 when I was chosen to play Joseph in the school play, put on by 6th formers. It was a challenge and a half, but I loved every minute of it. My parents still have the video.
Around the same time I wrote my first song - a Christmas carol if you can believe it! I wrote it for a competition, but it didnt win. A couple of years later I started writing songs in earnest, the best of which - Lady Day, still gets sung back to me by friends from the time!
I joined my first band in 1988 - the Co-Dependents - as a co-singer alongside a fabulous dreadlocked singer. I got a great writeup in Melody Maker which said something about my voice "being like honey left out in the sun". I took it as a compliment.
I joined an indie/rock/garage band in 1989 - I cant remember the name any more. But we had some nice songs. The trouble was, we never got out of the garage!
Shortly after that ended I decided that I wanted to become a Jazz singer. I made a recording of My Funny Valentine with my then boyfriend Fionn O'Lochlainn appearing on soprano sax. I only managed to get a few small gigs at the time and ended up moving to Northamptonshire for work.
Apart from performing as a singer/songwriter a few times during my undergraduate years, my next big musical adventure was getting into playing Irish traditional music on mandolin when I moved to North Wales and then Belfast. I played and sang Irish songs in several bands as well as teaching mandolin in Andersonstown.
It was in Belfast that I first discovered Klezmer, and ended up coming back to London, enrolling in Klezmer classes and ultimately playing and singing Yiddish songs in several Klezmer bands including Nomadica, Ghettoplotz and appearing with Shekoyokh.
And now I have returned to my first musical love - Jazz.