My Life is Full of Joy is a ditty that I composed at Saltburn-by-the-Sea. Read more about the process I use to compose my music.
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.
Did you know that the human voice can be used to cleanse your surroundings and bring harmony and flow into your life?!
If like me you live in the Northern Hemisphere in a country emerging from Spring into Summer the miracle of the sprouting of trees, plants and nest-building activities fills you with awe. For many of us it brings a desire to deep-clean our homes to allow the new vital energy to circulate.
Years ago I ran a weekly drop-in Chanting & Toning group in a central London Arts Centre. One week as our usual room was unavailable and I didn’t want to cancel I agreed to use the basement space named the ‘Meeting Room’.
What a learning experience that turned out to be! The atmosphere felt heavy and turgid. When I started the sound of my voice was blocked. None of us could tone. We had to suspend our usual uplifting session and focus all our intention and sound on cleaning the energy of the room. Eventually, our voices transformed it. We assumed it was a build up of frustration, stress and conflict by previous occupants that was invisible but creating havoc.
You may have heard of Feng Shui, a practical approach to creating harmony and wellbeing in your home or work used extensively in Chinese culture and by the corporate world. It can be very effective if you can book a skilled expert who draws up complex plans, suggests cures to buy and implement. There are many informative and instructional books but following them can be complicated and time-consuming to the layman.
A description of how I was affected by energy –
When I lived in West London, I regularly walked happily though Shepherd Bush Market. One day I felt anxious and very tense for no apparent reason. As I tentatively continued on, I saw groups of people ahead. Concerned there had been a violent attack I wondered whether I should turn back. Courageously I edged forward. To my surprise, I saw TV Cameras and an intensive scene of “Minder” with Dennis Waterman being played out. What a relief it was only drama but how effectively they had created the frightening atmosphere in real life!
To explore how the sound of the human voice can work for you –
Contact me for:
- Space cleaning with my voice
- teach you how to do this yourself through 1-2-1 training
- explore in a small group with your friends or colleagues how you can activate changes
- bespoke packages for workplaces and homes
Contact me here.
Taking Time Out
We’ve all heard that before. We can never have too many reminders to give ourselves permission.
Musing on taking time out, these thoughts came to me:
- A new perspective
- Space around habitual thinking
Our minds want to keep us in what they know; space allows our deeper wisdom to emerge.
It’s so easy to busy ourselves with activities, enjoying the stimulus of uplifting people. So actively programming in quiet, personal and reflective time, allows our own deep wisdom to emerge.
It helps us be the observer of our life, rather than being caught up in to-do lists and routines.
Space gives us flexibility, receptivity to change and allows us to listen to our deeper knowing.
Of course I’m writing about me, but it could apply to you too… so I am taking time out from my daily life including the internet from December 8th to January 15th, which will be a big change for me.
It is recommended that you take a guide, if you are going for the first time, this is a very comprehensive website, though I have no personal experience of the author as a guide. To see more guides, please click here.
So see you all in the new year refreshed and renewed! Wishing you a great time over the holiday season wherever you are.
“Do you work with children?”
“Children will love your chants”
“You have a purity and innocence in your singing voice which is very childlike.”
Over and over again people were giving me the same messages but I wasn’t listening fully until now!
I was replying “Thanks but I’ve little experience of working with children. I haven’t even had my own children or enjoyed an extended family”
Finally, the ‘penny dropped!’ I received so many synchronicities – amazing conversations and chance meetings, and so much encouragement from people I began to change my thinking.
I love freeing the child within the adult in my groups and individual sessions. My happiest times are when improvising words and melodies sharing with other people in that special zone of uninhibited creativity.
An over responsible child now as an adult I’m enjoying letting my own free child play much more. I adore colour as you may have noticed from my website! I used to take life so seriously despite my own joyful guidance (listen to lighten up!)
There are so many wonderful resources for children on YouTube which I’ve been enjoying exploring eg Yoga, TaiChi and Mindfulness. My favourite Yoga Nidra is by John Vosler:
I started to feel excited about helping children build confidence in their own unique voice. Most of the difficulties my clients bring to me stem from childhood conditioning. But I was wondering how to take the first step!
Then I met up with Julie Jurgan who runs a great online marketing network, Blossom of the Soul, and offered to help promote my first event.
Now on October 21st I’m giving my first session for young people aged 5-12 at the Earthbeat Centre.
I love the title (“Sounding Stars”) We are all stars in our own special way! It’s good to help people realise it from a young age especially as it took me such a long time to know it. As more and more people value their uniqueness and share their gifts together uniting through sound and an appreciation for the joy of life what a difference it will make in the world!!!
Dreams do come true!
I’m living proof!
In 1992 – an incredible 25 years ago long before the advent of social media and the digital music revolution – I was given some words and tunes.
This “Beauty” was inspired by visiting Kew Gardens, when I lived in London, and was feeling lost after a relationship breakup. The grandeur of the Autumn landscape comforted my grieving heart reminding me of the beauty of the world. I carried the creation of this moving song with a commitment to myself to record it one day and share its wonder as widely as possible.
Other words and tunes presented themselves to me. In those days I “doodled” on the guitar until shoulder issues prevented me playing. Years of spinal difficulties and ill health (including mercury poisoning) prevented me moving forward with this dream.
I spent time in Southern Spain during several winters helping me recover my wellbeing. Falling in love with a special village “La Herradura” gave birth to a 2010 composition “Village in Andaluz“.
There a miraculous event occurred, beyond anything I could have imagined. I met a former EMI professional songwriter who believed in my natural songs and pure voice and literally tuned into my compositions. He arranged my melodies and recorded my voice.
This was no simple achievement. If you have ever experienced performance anxiety you will identify! A dry mouth, tense body, doesn’t make for easy recording as my self-confidence would disappear when the recording button was switched on!
Running groups my focus was on helping others to feel relaxed. Here in a recording studio with only my headphones, the room and a sound engineer demanding precise time-keeping I would freeze with fear and forget all the playful joy of writing the songs!
Of course confidence only comes from taking a chance and facing fears. I knew I could help others free their voices. I had lots of success from facilitating healing through the vibration of my voice. What I lacked was confidence and experience in my singing voice.
The digital age and market place are constantly changing. Now when I google “Suzi Joy Lever” it is a delight to see all the links.
My early songs were mainly written in a minor key but always with optimistic lyrics. There are many more recorded and ones waiting to be written. My singing voice has gained in confidence reflected in the progression of songwriting range.
My initial fears of letting other people hear them dissolved as positive feedback encouraged me to move forward with sharing them. While they have a simplicity and are easy listening, listeners report that the more they play them the more depth they experience.
I want to help empower other people through my life’s experiences.
Please help support my dreams, you can:
- Buy Now to help me receive income to help distribute more recordings
- Listen and Share in your networks
I’ve always loved butterflies. For me they are a powerful symbol of transformation, and part of my logo for over 15 years. Now I’m seeing them everywhere.
Delighted to see that my favourite organic skincare company Green People have not only launched a new butterfly range but are also donating 10% to Butterfly conservation.
Years ago I was amazed when a graphic artist came up with a butterfly design for my logo without knowing they were a special symbol for me. All I’d said to him was that I was in a transition and wanted to keep my rainbow and update my logo (formerly a dolphin with rainbow from my days running a holistic mail order catalogue “Rainbow Express”)
Now I’m enjoying sharing my animated butterfly thanks to the skills of Carolanne Barnard.
I’ve always been entranced by the colours of butterflies and received many special personal experiences. 25 years ago I was on a year’s shamanic training which confirmed my instinctive love of ceremony and symbolism. Our western “tribe” searching for a suitable name received a visit from a butterfly on a cold dull March day which refused to leave the shoulder of a member until we acknowledged it’s message for us. Being part of that Butterfly tribe was a catalyst for my songwriting and opening to my natural voice. The course was facilitated by Leo Rutherford of Eagles Wing, a dear friend and a spiritual mentor to me.
For those of you who want to know more about butterflies and why they appeal to so many people I’ve discovered two informative books published in 2005. One exploring the social history and our celebration of butterflies has a wonderful name “Rainbow Dust” by Peter Marren. The author’s description of his first magical encounter at the age of 5 years which marked the beginning of his life as a naturalist.
The second book is also a nostalgic memoir. “In pursuit of butterflies” a fifty-year affair by Matthew Oates, another Naturalist who wanted to share his own love of Nature written “with a poet’s mind”.
And the inspiration for this blog was this beautiful butterfly (above) who caught my attention, when I felt drawn to sit in a non-habitual place in Saltburn, North East England in October. Only after I acknowledged the butterfly and took the photo did it fly on! Thank you!
Some of you know that I am planning to offer Vlogs to those of you who subscribe to my email list. So I thought “VLOGS that sounds fun” before I even know what the word meant. It will be great to have the opportunity to share more widely tips that I do so easily in groups and individual sessions especially as the same questions get asked over and over again.
But I reckoned without technology. I am not a natural tekkie. It doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m not like the 10 year old whose proud grandmother told me taught himself to upload his original video on dinosaurs onto Youtube. He’d previously asked his mother who didn’t know how to show him!
I discovered there is a lot more involved than I’d realised. Apart from technology issues which I won’t bore you with, except to say, I didn’t want to be my own movie director simply focus on content. Then there’s the question of me!
My insecurities. Am I good enough? I’m always teaching about non self-judgment with sound. I’m certainly not perfect. We teach what we need to learn. The more I focus on what helps me the better I feel. That’s what’s so great about sharing.
I get a lot of prompts of what and how to say things from “reading” people’s body-language. I can see where people are holding tension and offer suggestions and help them lighten up. Very different talking to a videocamera on my own.
Then there is what do I wear? As you will know if you follow me regularly I love colour but too much can be distracting.
Obsessing what I wear
Obsessing what I look like
Is not where it’s at at all
Seeing the truth of the beauty within
Ignoring the peacock’s call
My own wise words recorded in Miracle of Life in the final verse.
Just to say I will be doing it. Ideas and enthusiasm are still bubbling away. Don’t have a timescale at this point. I will find time to learn how to use Mailchimp to send it out to you as a subscriber. Please help me by registering your interest.
Love to hear from you if there is anything particular you would like me to share. my theme is tips for freeing your authentic voice.
What an exciting week! So happy to have my new animated logo and pic uploaded on my home page on Monday. Expresses so much more of what I am about.
Tuesday I walked 100 yards from my home with intention to sit and clear my head outside and take a few minutes to meditate before I tackled my to do list. Suddenly 6 Buddhist Monks from Thailand appeared in Saltburn!! They are visiting a new monastery in Leeds.
Wednesday went into Middlesbrough running some fear thoughts I wanted to change. My heart opened went I saw Pablo Woodward Street Artist the “Disco Bunny” perform getting people smiling and connecting. Had a great conversation with him. Certainly plugged me back into my desire to smile and share with strangers. Believe he is on a great mission. View this Youtube clip if you haven’t already and share it where you can.