FEATURE: Lucinda Belle “Luck Is Opportunity Meets Dedication”

“I had to literally just ask myself a question, “Do you think it’s ok to eat the mould off the bread?” But I don’t know why, I just feel the need for a bit of mould in my life.”

It is early-ish Saturday morning and Lucinda Belle is rushing about doing her chores. She has not had time to get to the shops and her bread has gone mouldy, but she needs her once a year dose of Marmite and so what she has will have to do. As Lucinda munches between sips of tea she tells us all about how playing harp for Robbie Williams has led to her leaving the family launderette.

So, what is to be – the music or the dirty washing?

Well basically, the launderette business is up for sale, so I am not finished with that really. My feeling about the launderette is that I’ll be sad to see it go but I am extremely excited about pursuing my career in music. It is something I have been waiting for all my life.

“Luck is opportunity meets dedication.”

The record deal came about because I was working with Robbie Williams on the Electric Proms. I was playing the harp and backing singing. I was asked to do that through Trevor Horn. It was just one of the most amazing experiences ever.

So the story goes, I got spotted by Fearne Cotton and Greg James and they asked me to go on their show. I ended up sort of featuring as a harpist and doing lots of cover versions, like Green Day and Elbow, on the radio. I got spotted by Universal and that’s when it all sort of really took off. But my theory on life is that luck is opportunity meets dedication.

How do you choose which songs to rework?

I don’t really do covers unless I think I can impose who I am onto them. I don’t think there is any point in doing it otherwise. So, how do I pick my covers? I guess what I tend to do is I speak to people who’s opinions I respect. I am always open to ideas when people say how about you cover this or that.. Then I also go into songs that I really like. I am giving you the whole detail here. I download the lyric. I break it down. I listen to the song. Then I just attempt to do them on my own. If I feel I am moving the song away from the original in my direction, then I will go with it. If I don’t and I feel it is too close to the original then I won’t do it. I want to put my stamp on something otherwise I won’t really do it.

What has been your favourite so far?

The Lady Gaga (‘Telephone’) one is actually my favourite one for two reasons. Firstly I am crazy about Lady Gaga, I just love her. I love all her songs and I just love what we came up with. The version that I did just seemed to work. When I am doing things like that, I am just consumed by it. I do it, then I go back and I think ‘how did I do that?’

Your forthcoming album “My Voice & 45 Strings” also features original compositions. What are your inspirations?

Firstly I draw my inspiration from ordinary everyday life experiences. I have to say that I got some of my ideas from sitting in my launderette watching the machines go round. There is a kind of rhythm to that. Other than that, I draw on the emotional kind of thing. The album is about indecision, it’s about love, it’s about loss and about hope. It is basically love in different guises. It is sentimental. It is all of those things and they represent who I am as a person. So I think one could safely assume that I am a bit of a romantic.

“I was trying to run away from who I was.”

What made you choose the harp?

I clearly have to blame my parents for that, but I will do is give you a big reveal; so far in my interviews I have swapped parents and given them both credit. In my first interview I think I gave it to my Mum, then my Dad called me up and got really upset. So in my second interview I gave it to my Dad. The truth is that they suggested playing the harp when I was about six. So I went along to this woman’s house for some lessons and it was amazing. The rest is history. I wanted to be a ballerina, saw the harp and fell in love.

When I was in my early twenties I was experimenting with music and got really into r’n’b which was trendy at the time. I was a bit scared to use the harp, because I didn’t see the harp as central to that. I think in a way I was trying to run away from who I was. It was really refreshing when I came back to the harp. It felt really comfortable to suddenly know who I was in life, which is a harpist and a songwriter.

Did the identity crisis help you realise you wanted to perform?

That was genetic. It was written in the stars when I was born. There was no other question in my life about what I wanted to do. There was never another ambition about what I could do. It’s kind of like playing the harp, which is just a part of who I am.

Words: Jeremy Williams Image: David Tett

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June Issue Still Available!

June Issue!!

Where our May issue was great, our June is even better! Cover stars this month are “The Bang Bang Club” providing their own insights into their evolution into a duo.

Issue 2 has it all – features, reviews, prizes(!) and much more.

Read it here!

Email us at thekaje@thekaje.com to ensure you get updates on our future issues. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Issue 2 contains:

Leo Richardson, “If someone is young and talented then it needs to be nurtured.”Polly Mackey & The Pleasure Principle, “Alliteration is always good in a band name.”Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, “Most of us have felt powerless at some time in our lives.”
Phantom Limb, “You get some of the best music from pain.”
Jenny Westbrook, “Art is quite often put off by people until the right time.”
Lucinda Belle, “Luck is opportunity meets dedication.”
Naoko Mori, “I’ve always believed she was treated rather unfairly.”
Tim Turner, “I don’t want to write about myself.”
Boy & Bear, “It’s like a big inbred kinda family.”
Cerith Flinn, “I am starting at the deep end, with a cannibalistic play.”Lachlan Buchanan, “I never plan to grow up, so for now, I’m happy acting.”
WIN!!!!; Signed Polly Mackey CDs, The Baseballs CDs, Phantom Limb CDs, Newcastle: Australia DVDs, Tim Turner Books
The Bang Bang Club, “It came to a point where everything in the music industry was a band, but we wanted to be a duo.”
Forgotten Gems:Album: The Go-Betweens ’16 Lovers Lane’
Book: Daphne du Maurier ‘My Cousin Rachel’
Film: Haunted Honeymoon
Jason Newton’s Life Lessons: “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.”
Designer of the Month: Disorder
Steal My Style: Nikita
The Way I Saw It: Athens
Reviews:
Albums;
Mathew Jonson “Agents of Time”; Lissie “Catching A Tiger”; Noblesse Oblige “Malady”; Sophie Hunger “1983”; Hanson “Shout It Out”
Singles of The Month; Kylie Minogue “All The Lovers”, Jil Is Lucky “The Wanderer”
Live Music; The Radio Dept., Hawksley Workman, Boyz II Men, Ingrid Michaelson
Theatre; Noises Off!, Signs of a Star-Shaped Diva, Canary, Naughty!
DVD; Alice in Wonderland, Precious, A Single Man, Sherlock Holmes
Books; Tim Thornton “Death of an Unsigned Band”, Neil LaBute “Seconds of Pleasure”, Tim Turner “First Time I Met The Blues”, Giorgio Faletti “I Kill”
The Kaje Previews Festivals; Rockness, Serenata, The Secret Garden Party, Blissfields, Lounge on the Farm, Hop Farm, Moseley Folk

Read it here!

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ALBUM REVIEW: The Lucinda Belle Orchestra “My Voice & 45 Strings”

Label:  Island
Release Date: 12.07.2010

 The story of Lucinda Belle, from her discovery whilst working in her family’s launderette in London, to the odd bit of amateur boxing, and in more recent times supporting the likes of Annie Lennox, Rufus Wainwright and even Missy Elliott, leaves you wanting to ask her to pick your lottery numbers this week. In some ways her rise from an impromptu appearance on the BBC’s Radio 1 to the £1.25 million recording contract is not that surprising as soon as “My Voice & 45 Strings” opens.

The title track sets a high standard for the whole album – combining rootsy jazz, her sweetly sultry tones and for the unsuspecting listener the introduction of the harp played like you have never heard it before. Her talent is undeniable, and the first single from the album, ‘Dodo Blues’, is reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe’s ‘I Wanna Be Loved By You’ colliding headlong into Norah Jones. Yes, it is a strange mix but Belle pulls it off quite magnificently. You sit there listening along and suddenly feel the need to sing “Boo-boo-bee-doo” at certain moments.

As beautiful tracks go, ‘Northern Lights’ certainly hits the mark. A mellow, hope-filled number, which we have a sneaking suspicion would fit into a nice little waltz with effortless spin-turns across the ballroom drawing the crowd in. But, ‘Northern Lights’ is not an elusive beauty amongst a myriad of thorn-like tracks, the entire album flows from start to finish showcasing the talents of Belle.

‘Unlucky in Love’ is a track that is deep, emotional and heavy. Apart from the melody taking the listener on a journey, Belle’s vocals are as distinctive as those of other fellow female singers who have emerged from London in recent years. This is used to good effect in ‘Keep On Looking’ which sees her double up with Andrew Roachford whose own vocals led him on a journey of equal proportions to Belle’s – signing a seven album deal with Columbia Records many moons ago.

The mix of rootsy-jazz filled with smokey-blues, and a harpist who is innovative enough to make sure that there are no 10 minute harp solos in the middle of a track, means this is a must have any listener who has a smidgen (that’s right!) of maturity needs in their collection. That in itself is what makes this album so outstanding, with the harp suitably supporting her very real vocal talents.

Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Constantinos Kypridemos

 

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