To honour the 60th anniversary of the passing of the great Billie Holiday, on July 17th one of the world’s most influential woman female Jazz singers, I’m putting into the public arena, a previously unlisted video of me learning to sing one of her songs, “Lover Man”. Encouraged by the positive feedback I’ve had from the people who have already seen it and commented, I’m bravely offering it to a potentially wider audience.
Learning to sing a song of such a great performer with her uniquely soulful voice and timing taught me so many things. How could I respect the original while developing my own style, and making it my own? It was very humbling and vocally a hugely expanding experience. It seemed that by wanting to get inside the song, to see what the words and melody might mean for me, it also connected me to what might have inspired her, and to the very energy that she would have brought through every time she performed. I also, as a newcomer to Jazz singing, thought of the many, many singers, both professional and amateur, who had gone before me learning the words and putting their heart and soul into it too.
I still feel and am relatively a novice, learning to sing other people’s songs, especially with great classics. What a connection to our collective musical heritage it gives me. The words themselves, of course, like most song words, are open to your own personal interpretation. When people intellectualise about what lyrics might mean, I always want to say, pause, go inside your heart. What is that reaches you in this song? What does your heart know? What’s your truth? Lover Man helps make this process easy.
So now I feel excited to put this in the public arena, with no idea who might listen to it or where they might be living. I’m so grateful for this amazing global field, that I have the opportunity to appear in.
Thank you for watching my video. I’m aware the sound balance isn’t ideal but it was a work in progress before I returned from Southern Spain to the UK where I live.
I hope you enjoy my version. Do listen to the original, If you don’t already know it. I encourage you to enjoy revisiting the recordings of her special repertoire, the legacy from her 30 years.
Thank you for reading this and thank you Billie Holiday for your inspiration.