Lady sings the blues – the songs of Billie Holiday
Performers – Shona, Chris Dowding (trumpet), Katie Vaughan (piano)
“I’m always making a comeback, but nobody ever tells me where I’ve been”.
Billie Holiday, ‘Lady Day’, had the voice and the style that defined the early jazz era. This programme gives tribute to the talent that inspired generations of future artists. An unequalled interpreter of song standards, and a talented songwriter in her own right, Lady Day poured every drop of her own experience into each performance and, in her own words, couldn’t “stand to sing the same song the same way two nights in succession”. Fans are left with priceless recordings of some of these moments, reaching through the speakers to a different era, where all of a person’s life could be sung into the blues. We present some of these songs in our own way, creating new versions of the music Billie Holiday loved to honour the greatest jazz vocalist ever.
“I rarely listen to music – unless it’s Billie Holiday.” – Barbra Streisand
About the performers
Norfolk grown talent, Shona, studied professionally at Stella Mann performing arts school and Pineapple where she trained as a dancer until a debilitating car accident. Whilst studying Shona was lucky enough to be taken on under the instruction with none other than the famous jazz singer Andrea Sparks. Inspired by Andrea’s music and teaching of jazz Shona moved away from the glittery lights of the west end and moved back to Norwich to pursue her new passion….singing, and joined forces with the talented Katie Vaughan in 2012.
Shona has starred and featured in many hit shows including; Footloose, Fame (Carmen Diaz and Mabel Washington), Smokey Joe’s cafe (lead female vocalist) and many more. Shea has also worked as a backing singer as well as featuring at events as a solo artist at venues such as Dunstable theatre, St Albans arena and the Covent Garden Christmas lights ceremony 2005. Shona is thrilled to debut as a jazz singer here in the first place she ever sang a solo at the age of 11 with South Norfolk Operatic Society. Shona and Katie also sing with a group Songbirds who you can hire for events and follow on Facebook!
Chris Dowding is a trumpeter and workshop leader based in Norwich. He plays with the bands Natural Causes and Rude 2.0 (with the trombonist Annie Whitehead), and leads the Moonrise Trio. He has led workshops with Dartington, Spitalfields Music, and at End of the Road Festival. Recently Chris has been working with Norwich-based charity Musical Keys on several different projects. Credits include playing flugelhorn for Opera North’s ‘Songs at a Years End’ production, and performs regularly at the Vortex Jazz Club and other venues in London, Norwich and around the UK.
Norfolk-born Katie studied piano, orchestral percussion and composition from a school age and early experiences of performing at the very first Wymondham Music Festival and becoming a composition finalist in the National Festival of Music for Youth led to Katie pursuing further study at The University of Birmingham. Here Katie specialised in conducting while continuing instrumental tuition, and had the chance to study with members of the CBSO and participate in workshops with Sir Simon Rattle.
More recently Katie has worked as a choral director (with South Norfolk Operatic Society and for other events such as Wymondham Music Festival 2015 ‘Big Sing’), accompanist and instrumental tutor. Katie continues to pursue her passion for writing and arranging music, focusing much time and energy into her specialised female vocal group, Songbirds, where she continues her working partnership with Shona.