A year ago, BRIT Award-winner and two-time Mercury Prize nominee Beth Orton led our fourth Wall of Sounds Artistic Directors Series with Band on the Wall. Over an intensive five days, she worked with a group of extraordinary musicians from all over the UK, collaborating to produce an incredible body of new music. A year on, and we’re delighted to welcome some of them back for a special reunion gig this Sunday – a showcase performance in celebration of International Women’s Day. You can reserve a free ticket for this event here.
Ahead of their performance, we caught up with Natalie McCool, Becca Williams, Elizabeth Vince, Avital Raz, IONE, Gina Tratt, Jote Osahn, Kayla Painter, Janileigh Cohen, Vanessa Forero and Cally Youdell to find out a bit more about them - what they’ve been up to since the Beth Orton residency, and what’s in line for the future.
Wonder Women: Here Come the Grrrls Showcase takes place this Sunday 6 March, 7pm (door) at Band on the Wall. Book tickets here.
I'm Natalie McCool, an artist based in Liverpool. I’m a singer songwriter and guitarist and I’m just about to release my next single 'Fortress'. Since the Beth Orton residency I have been very busy recording my album and touring the UK and abroad, which is something I am continuing to do this year alongside festival appearances - which I am very excited about! I have worked with Brighter Sound since, leading a guitar course and also a guitar workshop and masterclass for young people, which I enjoyed so much.
This Sunday I’ll be performing my new single Fortress and also one of my previous singles 'Pins'. I’m hoping to bring a different edge to these songs in this live situation and I can't wait to perform them.
I'm Becca, a Manchester based singer-songwriter, originally hailing from North Wales. I've been writing and performing in various guises for the past 17 years and have been lucky enough to perform throughout Europe supporting some amazing artists, sharing the stage with the likes of The Magic Numbers, Lau, Roddy Woomble and Manchester's own Kirsty McGee. Currently, I manage to fit performing, writing and recording with my label Debt Records around teaching songwriting to students throughout the UK and holding down a full time job. Since taking part in the residency, I've shifted my focus to collaboration and will have some new releases on the horizon later this year. I've also recorded tracks with Kayla Painter and am currently working with both Jote Osahn and Natalie McCool on some new material between individual projects. There's lots coming up, all thanks to the residency!
At the last count, I'm performing with six of the ladies on Sunday... it's gonna be epic!
I’m an Alt-Pop artist based in Manchester. My music blends synthesisers, vocals and driving melodies. Since the residency I’ve been working on several collaborations as well as my next EP. Artists I’ve been working with include Drum and Bass producer Marcus Intalex, DJ Cutterz, and Sheffield-based producer Kitty. My single 'Sonant' was featured on Female: Pressures Revellers Comp 1, a compilation celebrating the work of female musicians, producers and DJ's. My new single 'Wake' from my upcoming EP is due for release in March via The Laboratory Project's Taste Masters 5 album.
This Sunday, I’ll be performing my new single 'Wake' as well as a few tracks from my upcoming EP.
I'm Avital Raz. I grew up in Jerusalem but have lived in the UK for the past four years. My songwriting is influenced by folk, classical music, Indian classical music and various other bits and bobs. My lyrics tend to be very personal - often stories. I'm fascinated with weirdness, spirituality and taboos. The Scotland Herald said of my last album: likely to be the most compelling thing you hear all year. Participating in the Beth Orton residency has opened a lot of doors for me. I started teaching Indian Fusion Lab for Brighter Sound, another Indian Fusion course for More Music, and taught with members of The Grand Union Orchestra as well as made long-standing connections with some of the most talented female musicians in Britain today. Last month I released an album called Sad Songs About The End Of Love on Sotones Records which was composed on poems from James Joyce's Chamber music. It was recorded in India twelve years ago but was under copyright at the time as the Joyce estate thought the use of Indian music with Joyce's poems was inappropriate!
I’ll be performing a couple of collaborations with Jote, Lizzie, Fiona and Cally on the night and I’m very excited to be once again opening the amazing box of unexpected audio delights with kindred spirits.
I’m a singer songwriter from Bolton. My main inspiration is Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. Since the Beth Orton residency I’ve made an EP which was released in March Called 'As a Child' and now I have a team of people helping me to make an album. Taking part in the residency gave me the confidence to quit my job and concentrate on my music. I’m now doing lots of busking in Manchester.
The song I will be performing on the Night is a new one called Small things, alongside Becca (and hopefully Jote!)
My name is IONE and I’m a singer songwriter from Manchester. I mix soul music and harmonies with electronic sounds. Since the residency with Beth Orton I have been focusing on developing my brand and making new material that is almost ready to launch. I also spent some time in the states last summer working with different producers and experimenting with different ideas. The residency taught me the power in collaboration. I’ve worked with some of the girls from the residency on my own project and on theirs. I have also been involved with some other exciting projects like being a singer on the 'Hacienda Classical' tour that kicked off at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester in February.
This Sunday I'll be singing one of my favourite songs from my first EP 'Fighting Fear' leading into my last single 'Back in the Day'.
Gina Tratt - Painted Lady
I’m a songwriter/producer from Bristol, and I’ve fallen head over heals for Dream Pop. Characteristically my songs include tons of layers, synths and percussion. I love making music with a feel good groove, but also with a sprinkle of nostalgia and thoughtfulness. Since the residency I’ve been working under a new solo name, Painted Lady (named after the colourful Summer butterfly) and also playing with a band. Currently I’m working on some stage visuals for the live shows.
I’ll be performing one new single, and a couple of un-released songs, all of which emerged in the last 18 months.
I studied violin at the Royal Northern College of Music and then in Switzerland with folk/classical violinist Volker Biesenbender. Since then I’ve been lucky enough to have had a really exciting and varied career, which has given me a broad range of experience as a musician and performer, working with artists such as Elbow, The Maccabees, Nick Cave, Sia, Roots Manuva, Gorillaz and Duran Duran to name but a few. Since the residency with Beth I’ve been busy with various projects, including: writing experimental electronica with Avital and Richard Lomax, recording with Jani-leigh Cohen, joining a band (I Am Your Autopilot), recording with The Courteeners, playing with The Cinematic Orchestra, touring with Matt Hallsall, teaching at LIPA and at the moment I'm doing a trainee apprenticeship with Brighter Sound to hopefully become a Music Practitioner!
At the gig I’m going to be playing and collaborating with Avital, Natalie, Becca, Janileigh, and Kayla Painter.
I’m a multi-instrumentalist and producer who composes with sampling instruments and found sounds. I work in the experimental and ambient spectrum of music. With a heavy influence on visuals, I gig with a visual artist who I work closely with to create an immersive dual screen performance. Since the residency I’ve signed a publishing deal with Nettwerk and joined the record label Turnstile. Recently I played two shows for BBC 6 Music Fringe Festival, and one of my videos was screened at the Watershed cinema for the same event. I have had numerous plays across BBC 3, BBC 6, and BBC Wales, with support from Tom Robinson, Adam Walton, Nick Luscombe, Georgia Rwth and Mary Anne Hobbs, I really have started to see the success of the work I’ve put into my music. The residency opened my eyes to further collaborations, I went on to release a single with Accü, (exTrwbador member). Releasing ‘Revert’ with it’s iconic video became a pivotal release for me in 2015. In my spare time (!!) I lecture at The University of South Wales in Creative Sound & Music, and I am completing a Masters in Music at Bath Spa University.
I’ll be performing two new tracks, one is a completely new style for me, one is my most recent release. My third track is the one which came to fruition in the residency last year.
I’m a film/TV composer by day and singer-songwriter by night. I currently live by the sea in Brighton but was born by a mill in Bradford to a wild Colombian mama and a polite English papa, which keeps me confused but multi-coloured. I started composing music as a child but only recently writing lyrics, singing and playing guitar. Before then I’d always been the keys player or dark room composer. Public singing was my greatest fear but my hundreds of unheard songs didn’t want to be hidden anymore, so entering the Beth Orton residency competition here was my first step out.
This concert means a lot to me because it marks my one-year birthday in all this, a real redefining time for me where this bunch of women pulled this something out of me. I've since been gigging and working on my first EP. I wrote, recorded and produced five rootsy, Colombia-meets-indie-folk songs, using only tribal skin drums – no drum kit – and using as little digital polish and as much ‘human’ as possible. ‘From The Uproar’ will be released this week!
This Sunday I’ll be performing songs from my indie-folk debut EP and all with a bit of a tribal feel, featuring a girl drumming circle.
I'm so thrilled to be back singing at Band On The Wall after last years' epic residency with Beth Orton and the talented ladies here tonight. I'm a soprano originally from Chester and studied in Manchester for four years at the Royal Northern College of Music. I mainly sing opera but it was such a great experience to branch out and try something new last year. In September I moved to The Hague to study for my Masters and made my Dutch national radio debut with CPE Bach's Die Israeliten in der Wüste conducted by Peter Van Heygen. Last November I also made my operatic debut with the role of Nunzia in Brighton Early Music Festival's production of La Liberazione di Ruggiero by Francesca Caccini, the first opera ever written by a woman! This is being broadcast this Sunday at 2pm on BB3 Radio3, so have a listen before the gig! This Summer I’m very excited to be covering the roles of Titiana and Hermia in Iford Art's Production of A Fairy Queen by Henry Purcell, conducted by Christian Curnyn as one of their New Generation Artists. Not one to forget my hometown in a hurry, last week I sang as a soloist with the Chester Bach Singers for their concert of CPE Bach's Magnificat and Haydn's Nelson Mass.
I hope you enjoy our little classical music interlude this Sunday!