How did you get into music?
From a young age I was always performing. I went every weekend to a drama group and studied singing, acting and dance. So it became very natural for me, and I was always inspired by the combination of different arts.
I always loved music, but I was also interested in many things, I wanted to travel and study. I went to university to study Communications and spent a lot of time dreaming about performing, so after I graduated, I went to an Acting school in London. But when I got there I felt stifled being in another institution, and it was here that a pressure to succeed and a fear crept in to me. So I quit.
And came to India, a place I had always been drawn to.
I met an English songwriter in Kochin, and this rekindled my passion for music. When I returned to England, I began working in production for Music Festivals, being on the other side of the stage. I felt out of practice and I really didn’t have the confidence to get up and sing.
In 2008 I returned to India, and spent 6 months in Goa, where I was introduced to the Balanced View Training, (then called ‘Great Freedom’). This empowered me and opened me up completely. I saw that I needn’t be a slave to my fears and insecurities and that I could just relax and be with everything. That I wasn’t alone, that everyone shared these feelings, and thoughts.
I then wrote my first song in Rishikesh. Then carried on writing more and more lyrics.They just flowed from me.
When I went home to England, I had an invitation to visit the makers of the Hang.
My Hang really did choose me and it was only a short time before all these songs came out.
And then living in Goa I met so many amazing performers and musicians, who inspired and encouraged my creative journey. One of them was Estas Tonne, a guitarist from Ukraine, with whom I have travelled and collaborated with over the last few years.
My relationship with music is constantly evolving and I always feel like I am just beginning.
Who were your early influences?
I have musical theatre in my blood! I sang the music of many different composers, like Stephen Sondheim, when I was a child, so this comes out a lot in my songs. And I plan to write a musical.
What I listen to changes all the time, and I don’t know how or if my music is really influenced by that or not. I love ambient music and chill out like Rena Jones and Imogen Heap.
And Celtic musicians like Loreena McKennit -she is amazing.
Right now I am listening to The Staves, from England,a beautiful vocal trio with amazing harmonies.
How does travelling play a part on your music?
My music really supports a lifestyle of travelling and I am amazingly fortunate to be able to play anywhere and make money and support myself. I’ve met so many wonderful people playing music on the streets, in Paris, Stockholm and in England.
You meet everyone, and it’s always such a surprise to me how touched people are.
However, it can be unsettling, to always be on the move. Always carrying suitcases, bags and instruments. I would love a home somewhere soon, but I have become good at being nomadic. And I still love to travel and see new places.One of my dreams is to visit Africa and learn some drumming, singing and dance there.
What do you think of Street Music in India?
It is heartwarming to see people playing music in any country either as celebration or to make a living. But its not the same culturally here as playing on the streets in Europe.
I love the naturalness with which people sing in India. With such joy and openness. And I often listen to Indian classical music.
You’re always on the move. Which is the place you love travelling to the most and why?
I really love every place that I go. India is such a special vibrant culture and I have been here every year for the last 6 years! I have so many friends here and I love the people and the feeling here.
This summer I spent 2 months in Stockholm, which was beautiful. Sweden is very calm and clean and friendly.
How did you get into playing the hang drum?
I saw the Portico Quartet playing in a church in London and that was the first time I saw a Hang. Then I met some friends who also had them. I found the instrument to be very tactile and encouraging to play. It has such a beautiful resonant sound that is evident even when you are a beginner. When I discovered the Hang, it was still very new but already quite difficult to come by. You had to write to the makers in Switzerland, they were already not for sale in shops. So I wrote to them explaining that I wanted to sing with the Hang and also that I had not seen or heard any women playing the Hang, only men. There are a few more now, but I think I am one of the only women using the Hang in the way that I do.
There is now quite a community of Hang players worldwide. It’s always interesting to meet different players and hear the individual styles.
Tell us something about your short-film called “Elemental”.
‘Elemental’ was shot in Dharmasala early in 2011, and is is a glimpse at a bigger collaborative vision, between myself, the guitarist Estas Tonne and Peter Moore, a very talented English writer and poet.
We came together a few years ago in Goa and created a show with music, dance, mime, film and storytelling, and since then we have experimented in different countries with different artists, but always coming back to the same story: the fools journey to enlightenment. The story of every human being’s quest for freedom. It is a universal story in a magical, dreamlike setting.
‘Elemental’ is the Fools dream and Estas and I have created a musical soundtrack to support Pete’s poetry which narrates the film. The Fool is played by Pierrick St-Pierre, also known as Mr. Banana. Pierrick is an amazing mime artist, from Canada, who has performed all over India.
I have written many songs for this Project, and I would love to create a feature film here in India. An international project with Bollywood production!
We all met in India and so much of my creative life has been here, it makes sense.
What does music mean to you?
Expression. Communication. Rhythm. Connection. Relaxation. Fun. Dancing.
It is a language that in response brings people together.
What inspires you every day?
Seeing positive change in the world and knowing deeply that as a global culture we will come together to create Peace. We have to. There is no other way forward. I am inspired by recognizing that everyone just wants to be happy and everyone does their best with what they have and what they experience personally.
If you weren’t a musician, then what would you be?
I love to be in nature. I love physical work, making things and being outside. Maybe I could work in conservation.
Right now I volunteer for the Balanced View Training, so maybe one day I might become a trainer.
Lastly, for our readers who haven’t heard you before, describe your sound in 5 words!
Soft. Ethereal. True. Heartfelt. Enchanting.
Interviewed by: Ramita Chatterjee