I’ve been digging through my files recently, looking at unfinished projects and demos of unreleased songs. Some artists don’t share their demos and work in progress; however I think there’s great value in sharing my sketches and how they develop. Four years ago, I was involved with a project with the Buckinghamshire Archives commemorating the end of World War One in 2018. I wrote several songs but the one that was released as part of the project was Are You Coming Home? This song reflected on letters sent to soldiers from their families, and the eternal of question of whether they would return home safely.  

There were so many different aspects of the war that I could have covered, but what really intrigued me was the change in workforce nationally. The First World War was the first opportunity women had to join the workplace and take an active role in industry for the war effort. Inspired by the idea that War Is Not For Women, I wrote a song looking at the social change and opposition that these women faced. Although they were serving their country doing dangerous yet essential work in the munitions factories or frontline medical services, they often faced criticism for leaving their domestic home roles. A debt is owed to these women, as a lot of the female workforce stopped working after the war, but they paved the way for future generations of women to have careers.  

This was an unusual project for me; however, I enjoyed the historical backdrop as the research led to a new path of creativity. Often when writing songs, I look for enticing stories, and there were many interesting characters and tales from this period of history! Mostly with this topic, I wanted to honour the legacy that these women left behind. There are other songs that I am yet to record from this project, but for now here is War Is Not For Women

You can listen and buy the song here.

It’s time to celebrate women and all things female. If you could describe womanhood in a few words, what would they be? Does it make you feel proud to be a woman? We’ve come so far in the last 100 years and yet in some parts of the world there is a long way to go in achieving equal rights for women. This is piece of music is about celebrating our gender, qualities and strength. A certain kind of strength and resilience that women have, we’re all born with it and life circumstances dictate how that strength and resilience will grow and develop throughout lives.  

I wanted to write an anthem for women that was feisty, confident and empowering. Very much inspired by the Helen Reddy lyric “I am woman, hear me roar…”, this piece of music is for women everywhere of all ages and backgrounds. Originally conceived as a song, I felt that lyrics were getting in the way and that the music alone carried the message. This piece has been sat on my hard drive for 5 and a half years waiting for life. It was in pieces, fragments of ideas that needed putting together, but the words were getting in the way, so I ditched them and all of a sudden I had a piece of music that worked.  

Recently there has been a lot of controversy in the press about women, from domestic abuse, personal safety, murder, right through to shouldering the weight of homeschooling and childcare throughout the pandemic whilst trying to work at the same time. Women’s issues have been front page news. It feels like COVID-19 created pressure that has brought these issues to the forefront of society so that discussion can lead to change. The press often represents womanhood in a negative way, and to be honest, I’m sick of that. Yes, we need to not live in fear of abuse, violence and discrimination, but there are many facets of womanhood that the press don’t recognise such as our nurturing, caring, planning, healing qualities. Women often hold things together and bring unity and wholeness to situations. We’re creative, innovative, skilful and can bear the weight of a plethora of tasks. We are leaders and team players in all facets of life.  

This is the decade of the woman. This is the time to turn the negative reports on their head and make something new and valuable from this crisis. It’s a time for a backlash against the press who would have us be portrayed as weak, subservient and put upon, and for women to speak out about how we should be treated. WOMANKIND is a piece of music for us to reclaim all that is joyous about being female and to help us celebrate our gender and identity.  

You can listen and buy the song here.

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It’s a new season and it’s time for new things. I’ve been thinking about doing things differently and new goals. Over the last decade, a lot of my projects have been produced by other people, which I have loved and it’s been a great experience! However, I haven’t had chance to have creative control over my music for a long time, so my next project will be produced by me!  After writing songs for the Centre For Buckinghamshire Studies last year, it gave me taste for producing my own music again and having that creative control which can sometimes be lost in corporate production. I made a decision that I wanted to be able to involve my fan base and supporters in the actual creation of the music. In the past I’ve had a call out for stories for songs from fans and then created music from their ideas; this time, the songs are based on my experiences and will feature the backing vocals of others. Part of being an artist, is being able to let go of what we’re creating and let outside influences join in shaping those ideas without losing the original vision. 

The first song I’m working on is called Womankind which looks at the aspects and personhood of being female. I have strong female characters in my present and past that have influenced my life, and a story of my own that has led to who am I, and that really is where this song begins. My own experience of being female has balanced between  being resolutely strong and empathetically vulnerable. Like all women, I’ve played a variety of roles simultaneously: daughter, sister, aunt, mother, friend, lover, ex-wife, colleague, confidant and the list goes on… The role of women is often down-played and lost in society and I want to highlight the essential nature of what women provide and bring to our culture. This album will very much feature our contribution. 

One of the greatest gifts that we receive from God is knowing who we are and having the space and opportunity to explore and find that out throughout life. I am very proud to be a woman and believe that we should increase the volume of voice in our communities and push forward for as many opportunities as possible. If we have learnt anything from our female predecessors, it’s that tenacity, strength, and perseverance eventually open doors to equality and that we have the right to obtain the same roles and levels as our male counterparts. 

Over to you… I need as many women of all ages and backgrounds as possible to record themselves saying a set of words that I will incorporate into the song. You don’t need to sing the words, just speak them. Most mobile phones have recording devices on them, and all you need to do is recording yourself saying the words and then email the mp3 to me. It only takes about 5 minutes to record and your name will be listed on the album cover.  If you would like to be involved, please email me and I will send you the words to say. Also, if you have words based on your own experience that you want to incorporate into the song, that would be most welcome…