About Queen Tantrum
Liverpool, United Kingdom
WHO IS QUEEN TANTRUM?
Queen Tantrum is a collective, a wonderful musical experiment. Am I Queen Tantrum? Yes I am. But QT is also the band itself, like a Trojan horse full of Greeks, we belong to Queen Tantrum and it can also be me, heh. Bands named after a member, Marilyn Manson for example, don't face confusion if members change over time. But it's important to know that QT is not me and a backing band, we are all the same.
Over the years I've worked with a lot of bands and producers and I increasingly felt like my own creativity was being left behind in pursuit of bookings. Getting a band together is fraught with many issues: writing enough good songs to fill a set, trying to collect the various influences into a strong band identity, girlfriends (and boyfriends!) unhappy with the amount of time their partners spend rehearsing or on tour, then someone leaves, etc etc...the whole thing annoyed me so much that I hung up my rock boots and committed to being a session musician/vocalist for record labels and producers and have happily been doing that for the past few years. But something was missing - the live band. And the RAWK.
It was only a matter of time before I came home.
I decided in order to make this project a success I was going to try something different. I am really excited about the QT material and I think they're the strongest songs I've written so far, so I don't want to waste them. I didn't want to get a great band together with no clear idea about which direction the band is heading in. So firstly, I looked at how other bands are operating right now, both signed and unsigned and what's working for them. A clear stand-out success? A great internet presence. I also noticed was that bands with official websites also did a lot of business on networking sites such as MySpace, Myonitlive, SoundClick - they were and are managing to reach listeners without having their music sanitized and altered beyond recognition by some guy in a suit going on about targets and whatnot. The bands are able to sell their music directly to the fans, and the public have all manner of choice at their fingertips. A couple of clicks and they can download mp3s straight to their desktops.
Some could say it's a bit analytical and music should just flow...well, maybe it is and maybe it does regardless. Above everything else, all I care about is the music. If Queen Tantrum never received a single page hit or sold a single unit, I'd still be writing and singing. I do what I do 'cause I love it! But I'm old enough and crabby enough to want things just so. Control freak? Heck, yeah!
I decided that playing a couple of local gigs after a couple of sloppy rehearsals would be a bad idea. Not only would it hurt the identity I've built up as a great session singer and musician but Liverpool has a ton of unsigned bands all clamouring for the same venues - Queen Tantrum needs to go that one extra mile. I love, love, love the internet and so I decided that the net would be my first port of call. Hmmm, what next? Going over all my experiences and frustrations of playing in bands that had potential but never seemed to be able to quite get it together or get enough fans to come to gigs, I figured the people needed to come next, before the band members.
So Queen Tantrum started out as a virtual band!
I recorded the songs at home with my gazillion musical instruments and virtual instruments and I created the band. Then I advertised for band members and in this way I knew I'd wind up with a bunch of talented people who loved the music, who can play the music and who will be able to contribute to the writing of the next album. Most importantly, doing things this way has enabled me to see if we all get along without killing one another!
What a calculating madam I am, haha. I've seen so many band interviews where they say "Oh we met at uni, in a pub, blah, blah, blah." Sorry, we met on the internet!
Queen Tantrum is sounding really good right now. Rehearsals are going great and live gigs are imminent. This is a labour of love for me and whatever happens, I'll face it with a roar.
Line up, toy soldiers, salute to the Queen!
ONE TO ONE
Current albums in my CD player: Whitesnake, Dream Theater, Disturbed, Tori Amos, Type O Negative and Skunk Anansie.
Since I can remember, I listened to rock; I adored 80s rock and still do. I remember performing a dance exam to Aerosmith's 'Rag Doll' around the age of, ooo, seven or eight. Looking back I can only imagine what the examiners were thinking. "Rag doll livin' in a movie, hot tramp, daddy's little cutie, she's so fine I never heard her leavin' by the back door..."
These long-haired rockers who wore more makeup than any woman I knew (apart from maybe Elvira) became my inspiration. I remember always singing along to their songs and wanting to be as wild as them. I have never stopped listening to rock music. It's not just the music that influenced me, it's the complete passion for the music and wild abandon that bands such as Aerosmith, Motley Crue and Guns 'n' Roses lived their lives by.
Youth Gone Wild? No comment. David Coverdale? Om nom nom nom nom.
Also, being a classical musician I will always have a passion for Wolfgang and Ludwig.
I am also rediscovering Gospel all over again at the moment, due to looking for song ideas for my new project, and Shirley Caesar blows me away! Who else have I been listening to...Tonex, Hezekiah Walker, Kirk Franklin, The Winans family...ooo, many, many more. Bishop TD Jakes has some wonderful music, with sensational guest vocalists, check him out if you can, he is very inspirational. And Yolanda Adams, Patti LaBelle...I also adore Mary J Blige, that girl sings from her SOUL. No one can replicate her, she is one original cookie. And Shirley Bassey rawks.
Apart from rock and classical music, I am influenced by gifted musicians such as Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Pink Floyd - these artists are so amazing, you can close your eyes and be transported anywhere, especially Kate Bush. I love film scores such as Amelie and French cafe music...and I really, really love the old MGM musicals!
If I had to pick a favourite album it would probably be 'Hounds of Love' by Kate Bush with Tori Amos' and 'Little Earthquakes' snapping at her heels. Whitesnake's new album 'Good To Be Bad' rawks. David Coverdale is my favourite rock singer and has influenced me greatly.
Last but not least, honourable mentions go to Prince and Rosie Gaines. There aren't words to express just how talented Prince is.
First singing job
Ha! It was as support for 'Two Funky 2' in the State nightclub in Liverpool and I was only about 14.
I go through phases; sometimes I'm based in my home town and others I'm on the road a lot. It's all about the people you tour with; they can make or break a tour for you. I'm one of those rare people that likes touring, but then I haven't been on the road for eighteen, twenty months or more like some of my friends have.
Tours tend to be fairly short as I have many work commitments at the moment. I am usually invited to perform, rather than organising a tour myself for self-promotion, I tend to get treated well. When touring with orchestras as a feature singer I always get nostalgic for when I used to be an orchestral violinist. But unlike when I was part of the string section, I now get my own private dressing room backstage with a piano in it so I can warm up! The Queen Tantrum project is my most exciting to date and now that I've found some amazing musicians to complete the lineup, tour dates are being planned for Fall/Winter 08.
The nightclub tours are a lot of fun. One thing I've found useful on the road is I'm usually the only girl - . so whereas the guys get squashed together, I always get my own room, yay! One thing to remember about touring though, it's true what they say, you only ever see the inside of a hotel room. Don't think you're going to get chance to sightsee.
Most memorable tour experience
I would say the most memorable time I've had so far was the Germany tour in 2005 with the orchestra and choir. That was great. There is NOTHING like being all over the papers and radio and tv, and singing to a three-tiered auditorium on a bed of orchestra,choir and band.
With long-term projects and writing collaborations, I get to have a lot of input, but a lot of the time when recording sessions for producers they have a fairly set idea in their heads of what they want the vocal to sound like. Sometimes they'll have already recorded with a guide vocalist so there is a firm structure I have to adhere to, or they want a song done in the style of a particular singer, say for example, they remixed a song and the original artist won't allow them to license it, but they have been playing a white label in the clubs for ages that is going down a storm...then I have to replicate the track as closely as possible. Then there are other producers who just want a 'big black diva'-vocal and I have free reign to do what I want both artistically and creatively.
Favourite songs to perform
It depends what type of mood I'm in. I always enjoy singing anything by Skunk Anansie, Skin has an amazing voice; and I also enjoy singing stuff by the soul divas, such as Chaka Khan, Whitney etcetera.
More than anything, I want to make a metal album...life has gotten in the way for too long and while I enjoy sessions and live work, it's time I had the rock album recorded that everyone keeps asking me about.
With Whitesnake, of course!