3rd May, 2015
What got you started?
It was my grandfather who first introduced me to music when I was about 3 years old, by allowing me to play on the piano in the parlour! (Not many people were allowed into that ‘inner sanctum’ – so it was something quite special!) But, like most people in Wales, it was the Eisteddfod which played a huge rôle in developing and nurturing my desire to sing and perform in general. I started competing when I was about 4 years old at our village Eisteddfod in Bethel, Caernarfon and won my first National Eisteddfod prize at the ripe old age of 25, winning the contralto category, singing ‘Prepare Thyself Zion’, from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.
Who influenced you, musically?
I grew up listening to Julie Andrews. As a child I used to try and mimic her vocal characteristics (with very little success.) I loved the simple beauty in her voice and I think that has stayed with me throughout.
During my high-school and University days, I was greatly influenced by my piano teacher, Harvey Davies. I will be forever grateful to Harvey for teaching me the importance of choosing suitable repertoire. Thanks to Harvey, I have understood that it’s not a compromise to abstain from one composer’s music and to ‘favour’ another but it’s all about what works for my instrument and then, hopefully my instrument will serve the music and the composer well.
Who or what have you sacrificed for your art?
Routine. Although I love what I do, I have to admit that I am a bit of a routine lover and a freaky planner. There’s always the question of, ‘where and when am I working next?” in this field whereas teaching was pretty secure.
What is your favorite genre of music to listen to?
I listen to artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Mel Tormé and Tony Bennett. I also love dipping into the great American song book.
Do you have a mentor or an artist you admire?
I always admire artists who achieve longevity in their careers; artists such as Ella Fitzgerald.
What one song would feature on the soundtrack to your life?
Something like ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade’, sung by Streisand, absolutely no one else! It’s a feel-good song, with a punch.
How would you define the word “success”?
I would say that success comes in knowing that I have completed a task to the best of my ability. I look at everything as a personal challenge.
What’s your favorite musical?
Without a doubt, it would have to be ‘The Sound of Music’. I absolutely adored watching it as a child and I still love it to this day. I would relish the opportunity to play Maria one day.
What’s your ‘go to song’ at Karaoke?
I would choose something outrageously inappropriate like a Guns ’n’ Roses number…..maybe ‘Paradise City’.
What’s your favorite hobby?
I run. Three years ago the opportunity came up for me to sing the national anthem at the start-line of the Cardiff Half Marathon, and I decided that if I was going to sing, then I might as well run it too. I was invited back the following year and did the same thing all-over again! It has now become a bit of a fixture in my calendar and this year I will be running my 4th Cardiff Half Marathon.
What was your most nerve-racking performance to date?
My degree recital – without a doubt!
Share three life rules you have learned so far.
3: Listen some more!
In a movie of your life, who plays you?
Maybe someone like Cate Blanchett. I loved her fiesty portrayal of Elizabeth the 1st ….. although you don’t have to be tall to be fiesty!
What’s your favorite place in the world?
Trearddur Bay and its stunning little coves in Anglesey, North Wales. Every summer my husband, daughter and I have a picnic there; it’s become a family tradition.
What was the last concert you attended that you weren’t involved in?
I recently went to a recital by Willard White in Bangor. It actually took place in the same hall in which I did my degree recital all those years ago! He was captivating from beginning to end – such a great storyteller and interpreter of song.
If you weren’t singing, what do you think you’d be doing now?
Thinking about singing!
Tell us your best joke.
“I went to the bank the other day and asked the clerk for a balance check, so she pushed me.”