Interview: Lizzie Deane

Lizzie-Deane-2Blues, funk and soul singer-songwriter Lizzie Deane started off her career in school and college productions, graduating to the international stage as a session singer and performer with the likes of Pee Wee Ellis, Carleen Anderson, Martha High, Mica Paris, Jocelyn Brown, Boy George and Belinda Carlisle.

She has now stepped out of the shadows with a new band and album, drawing comparisons to Dusty Springfield, Lisa Stansfield and Joss Stone. Meanwhile, outside of the studio, her experience across a range of genres has seen her wow the crowds on stage, TV and radio.

In April she launches a new Thursday night residency at Canary Wharf jazz club Boisdale, performing classic cuts from the kings and queens of soul, funk and blues. Together with her band Soul Source, she is inviting a singer, songwriter or musician to perform a number live on stage with her on 25 April. Enter our competition here.

What is your first musical memory?
Listening to my parents’ music on our record player – Abba, Brotherhood of Man, Stevie Wonder…

At what age did you first do something musical?
At the age of three – singing Where is Love from Oliver.

If you could have been any musician past or present, who would it be?
Would have loved to be a singer in the sixties or seventies as those eras suits my vocal style. Probably Aretha Franklin…

Lizzie DeaneIf you could play any venue in the world, which would it be?
I’ve had the privilege of singing in lots of incredible venues worldwide as a backing vocalist but I’d love to do them all in my own right. The Blue Note Jazz Club in New York would be pretty special.

How did you first get involved with Boisdale jazz club?
I was performing with my band at the wonderful London Lifestyle Awards at The Hurlingham Club in Fulham last year and the Deputy MD of Boisdale, Nathan Evans, was there as they’d won Runner Up in Best Live Music Venue category, just missing out to The Royal Albert Hall which is no shame! We got talking, he said he’d really enjoyed our performance and offered me a gig which we sold out and went very well, so I did another and then they offered us a weekly residency. As an artist and performer it really is a dream come true to have a weekly show at such a fabulous venue.

What is your favourite song of all time?
Impossible to answer as it depends on my mood but probably Natural Woman.

If you could sing to anyone, who would it be?
Aretha Franklin, although I’d be sweating like a dawg!

What song?
Not Respect! Only the Queen of Soul can do that! Perhaps Say it’s Not Over, which is one of my own that was inspired by her singing Natural Woman, so I could see what she thinks of it…

What is your best music experience to date?
Ooh, that’s a toughie! Performing my own songs with legendary (James Brown) saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis at Boisdale is up there, aside of that singing at the Royal Albert Hall, at a festival in front of 100,000 people or at my fave music pub in Bristol, The Coronation Tap, affectionately known as the Cori Tap! There are so many different types of venue and they all have their special things about them.

Who are your musical influences?
James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Jackson 5/Michael Jackson. I’ve really been inspired by the whole soul/funk era.

How do you find the inspiration for a song?
You just never know, could be an interesting conversation, feeling good or bad about something or someone, anything really…

Tell us about your songwriting process…
If I’m inspired by something I try and jot it down and then develop it at the piano, normally after sitting down and making myself write something. Discipline is important, especially when you’re busy gigging and you feel the need to escape from music to get a break.

Where would you most like to hear one of your songs played?
All over BBC Radio 2, particularly on Bob Harris’s show. Or Later with Jools Holland…

Give us three words that describe your music…
Soulful, uplifting, infectious…

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
Arghhh! Difficult but recently an awesome little gig at the Cori Tap with the fabulous Joss Stone and her brass section The Rhino Horns, who just happen to be my guests at Boisdale Canary Wharf on the 11April.

If you had three music wishes, what would they be?
Longevity of career, write some successful songs, always feel the joy of performing.

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