Teenager records debut album
FIRST DATE WITH
She's been singing since the age of eight. Now, teenager Dainie Jane has recorded her own album, First Date, inspired by her love of 50s vocalists Ruth Brown and LaVern Baker.
But it hasn't all been plain sailing for the Sunderland 16-year-old. She's been telling us about her battles against stage fright and school bullies... and the unforgettable night she sang for Imelda May.
• How did you first get into rock'n'roll?
Well I've always loved 1950s rock'n'roll and rockabilly music from being knee high. Always dancing to Elvis in front of my mam and dad. Sometimes doing the old Chuck Berry leg once I got going! I can remember day in and day out watching and listening to my dad sit listening and playing guitar to the likes of Johnny Cash, so our music at home ain't never been modern. In my eyes this genre of music was going to take some beating.
• Which 50s singers do you most admire?
I absolutely adore Ruth Brown, Etta James, LaVern Baker and Imelda May. Amy Winehouse was a great inspiration too. Her voice was amazing.
• How old were you when you first sang in public and how did it go?
I was eight years old when I was on stage with my dad and my Uncle Mac. I had to sing a song by the King himself, Elvis Presley, 'Hound Dog'. I'll never forget the feeling of my first time on stage. The nervous shakes before I went on stage and also while I was up there. There sure was a whole lotta shakin' going on.
• How many gigs have you done and what sort of experiences have you had with audiences?
I haven't had a full gig yet. That's the nervous thing. I'd love to but up here in Sunderland it's been so hard to find a band to work with. Then I was put in touch with Pat Reyford and he arranged for me to work with amazing musicians at Sugar Ray's Vintage Recording Studio in Essex.
• Do you play any instruments?
I pinched my dad's double bass off him and he showed me a few notes and I picked the slappin' up myself. Then for my 16th birthday in February I got my own double bass, my 'Baby Bettie!' I couldn't live without my double bass. Could even write a song about her!
• How would you describe the experience of recording at the Vintage Studio?
Recording at the studio was amazing. I had a great feeling inside telling me things were gonna go sweet and they sure did. I enjoyed every moment of it from being given my mic to saying goodbye to all the guys from the studio, Pat Reyford, Dean Amos and Dave Privett.
• How fulfilling personally has it been doing the album? What was it like listening to the finished version for the first time?
Doing the album was a dream come true! I'd dream of recording in a vintage recording studio just as you seen in the old films. It is a moment I will cherish forever. It's a dream I grabbed with both hands and loved every minute of it. Listening to the finished version of songs for the first time, I was shocked. The sound the band had created was incredible. My jaw dropped on one of the songs. but it was also very emotional as I thought of my Nana Jennie who sadly passed away five years ago. She would have loved to hear me sing. My granda inspired me to write Just Me And My Grandpa. I can still remember when my nana and granda took me to South Shields and Nana was in and out of every shop while me and Granda just strolled holding hands. I just loved the moment.
• You got the opportunity to meet Imelda May and Darrel Higham. How did that come about, and what was it like singing in front of them?
Meeting Imelda May and Darrel Higham was such a huge and starstruck moment for me. I went to see Imelda in concert on a Monday night and loved her! I watched everything she did on stage and thought to myself I'd love nothing more to be where she is in life. Anyway, myself and Mam and Dad have good friends called Mickie and Jean Downey who are also great friends with Imelda and Darrel, and they knew how much I idolised Imelda.
So on the Tuesday night after the gig I was just sitting at home and got a message alert on Facebook... 'Jean Downey has sent you a message'. So I thought to myself it will be Jean asking me if I enjoyed the gig. Turns out it was Imelda using Jean's Facebook account, asking if I would like to come over to meet her and Darrel at Jean and Mickie's house.
We dashed over and I was gobsmacked to walk in and hug Imelda and sit next to my idol on the sofa. I had them butterfly feelings. Then she said to me: 'I heard you like to sing, Can we have a tune?' I was so excited I said yeh. I was not going to let this moment pass me by. I got up, my dad picked up a guitar and I sang Till The Well Runs Dry by Wynona Carr.
Half way through the song she started to join in. It was a dream to think I was singing with Imelda May. When it was time to head off, she signed my CD cover and looked me in the eye and said, 'You really want this don't you?' I nodded and said 'more than anything'. She told me to sing every day and never to give up on my dreams. It was a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life.
• How difficult has it been coping with bullying at school? What advice would you give to anyone in the same position?
Yes I was bullied, but not for singing. Nobody from school knew I sang. I hid all that side away. Then when I got home I'd be in a different world. The bullies targeted me because they were getting to the age where they wanted to smoke and drink and have all these parties, etc. But I knew in my head that all I wanted was a sucessful music career. One day my friends rang me and told me to me them at the park, so I told myself I've got to stop hiding the real me away and wear my clothes and hair the way I want to wear them and not to try and fit in with the in crowd. So I went out in my favourite dungarees and top and all of my so-called friends just laughed and joked and said I couldn't hang with them anymore.
So I thought, OK, it doesn't bother me... until the next day in school. I went in being myself and everyone was laughing at me, I put up with that for two years until I finally couldn't take anymore. So yeh, it's been hard but my mam and dad have been the best, and helped me through everything.
As for bullying advice... Stay strong and be who you are. Don't change for nobody if you really want something in life, go for it and don't hide away!
• Where do you go from here?
I ask myself that question every day. I really don't know. I think sending my album to other record companies is something I want to push for. All I want is my dream and that's music. Never give up on your dreams.
Dainie Jane's First Date CD is available from Sugarbeat Records at £9.99 + p&p. A vinyl 7" single is coming soon, plus internet downloads. More info from Sugar Ray's Vintage Studio on 07976 308260.
Fever are first in vintage studio
Essex trio Fever have become the first band to record an album in the vintage studio created by musician Pat 'Sugar Ray' Reyford.
It took Pat and his colleagues Dean Amos and Dave Privett three years to realise their dream of assembling the fully valve mono vintage studio with original equipment shipped from the United States.
The studio in Wickford opened in April, giving Fever the recording opportunity they had been waiting for.
"You really feel as if you are in something close to Sun Studios," said the band's singer and double bassist Wil Collins-Nuttall. "It's quite amazing the amount of work that's gone into it, and the equipment is just mind blowing.
Proper sound"It's the only way you can get that proper vintage sound, because you are only using the same equipment used back in the day. It's nothing you can replicate with modern equipment. This is as real as it gets."
"It's very different from recording in a 'normal' studio. You have no headphones and nothing is amplified, so you really need to be on the ball. Just how it was done originally, but great fun still."
Fever's album End Of Time includes nine songs written by Wil and four covers of material by Carl Perkins, Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash.
Wil explained: "I always try to sing songs that I genuinely love, not just for the sake of doing a cover that everyone else does. I never wanted to be pigeon holed as a standard rock'n'roll or a rockabilly band! We play everything from Bill Haley to Restless.
"I think the CD is definitely a reflection of what we do live. And I always said, I would want it to be an album I would want to listen to myself. I think that has been achieved. All in all, this is an album we're very proud of, and without doubt, it really does rock."
In Fever, Wil is joined by his son Billy on drums and vocals and Nick Bayford on lead guitar and vocals. The band has a Facebook page and Wil can be contacted on 07906 492233 / 01268 768490 and at firstname.lastname@example.org
• Listen to one of the Fever album tracks here:
Sun of Sun Studio
For musicians Pat Reyford, Dean Amos and Dave Privett, creating a fully valve mono studio was the culmination of a lifelong dream and years of planning.
Equipment was painstakingly sourced in the United States and shipped over to the UK. The aim is to produce an authentic "semi live ambient sound", allowing bands to record their music in original conditions.
Pat said: "We're going to recreate that original sound in the modern era. There's no reason why it can't be done. We've got a good team. We're all into creating good music."
Dave Privett added: "You'll be flabbergasted at what's going to happen here. We're all so excited."
Bathtub electronicsAt the heart of the studio are a Collins 212E broadcast console, a 436c Altec compressor amplifier and an Ampex 300 four track tape recorder with "bathtub" electronics. There's authentic pegboard soundproofing, and the roof joists have been positioned to improve the building's acoustics.
Dean Amos has been telling us how the project got off the
Valve recording"I didn't set out to copy one particular studio in the States, as they were mainly all different. There weren't any blueprints... just ideas of the day but by following their basic idea of angle design and sound board which is filtered to leave a semi-live sound ideal for valve recording.
"Purely by chance we ended up with a live room measuring 18 x 31 feet - the same size as Sun Studio. I suppose it really has that Sun feel to it. I did, however, get hold of the plans for the acoustic panels used in RCA Studio B and had them copied exactly over here, complete with the right handles. It's an example of the attention to detail we have put into the studio.
"I think for the first time we are truly going back to the original format used in the day. It never broke, they didn't need to fix it. They just moved on with music changing and the need to move with it, but we never tire of those old recordings which can only truely be recorded this way and inspire us all.
"We are truly proud of the end result. It's the product of lots of hard work, sleepless nights and lots of dreaming."
Vintage"Sugar Ray's will be using only original vintage recording equipment, and a vast collection of original mics, to make the whole process exactly as it was done in the 1950s. We don't think there is any other studio offering this in the UK. Our aim is to inspire bands and artists in great surroundings. This is why we have decked out the lounge area with original period furniture. The walls are covered with pictures, which I think adds to the experience.
"It's not just a recording service. We can offer clients a full range of services. We will be offering DVDs with credits, and editing done with soundtrack attached, promotional photography, CD and logo designs, and 'Red Letter Days' when anyone can come and record using our house band and DVD production.
"Pat and Dave will focus on producing. Tony Diavolo will handle design. Ruth Archer and Chris Magee will look after photography and DVDs, and I will be involved in all aspects of studio promotions."
For more information, call Dean Amos on 07976 308260 or Pat Reyford on 07590 659369.
• A look at the completed studio...
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