When and how did you come to start playing music?
I began playing the piano aged 3, I started on a toy piano picking up tunes from the TV. My family spotted a gift and I had my first official lesson aged 5.
Tell us a bit about the path of your musical development.
I had sporadic lessons throughout my childhood and some fantastic music teachers at school, including Don Rendell, British jazz legend (he taught me how to play the saxophone). I used to attend various youth activities in the area and all of the people that I worked with when I was a kid I ended up working with later along the journey as a professional.
How did you get into jazz and why did you choose to focus on studying/playing jazz?
I always had the word 'jazz' in my head when I was a small child, even though there weren't any people around me that were into jazz.I sought the information and when I met Don and also another great teacher, Chris Wilson (at school) it all fell into place.I think it's my calling.
When you are composing, what are the key elements you aim to incorporate in your music?
I love rhythm, harmony and melody in equal measure. Tone, timbre and groove are essential too. I try to make a story from music and groove at the same time.
Which musicians have had a key influence on you and your music?
I love all the greats like McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Hermeto Pascoal. I love how musicians like George Duke incorporated soul and funk into jazz. I also love Chopin, Schoenberg and Scriabin, James brown and Alan Holdsworth, I basically can't name just one musician, also vibes and feelings inspire music.
If you were introducing a friend to jazz music for the first time, what 3 artists or albums would you recommend to them?
Keith Jarrett 'Koln concert'
Nikki Yeoh 'Solo Gemini' :)
John Coltrane 'Love Supreme'
Please tell us a bit about an upcoming/future project.
I released my debut album in 2014 and have recently been nominated for JazzFM award 'Instrumentalist of the year' so there is plenty more from me. I'm just getting started!!
What key advice would you give to young female musicians planning to build a career as professional musician?
Don't get wrapped up in the politics of being a woman in a male dominated industry. Just be better than you think you can be, practise and listen to everyone. Your playing ultimately speaks for itself...and if anyone gives you grief, come and find me and I will deal with them :)