Web site: http://www.myspace.com/laurenderwent
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Hi! I'm a singer/songwriter based in Brentwood, near London. I was born in Hitchin, Hertfordshire and I studied singing at Middlesex University, where got a BA Hons (Jazz) Music degree. I play piano, percussion, and occasionally use the guitar to write with (but I often find a pen works better!!) HA HA! I used to sing and play percussion with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (of Amy Winehouse fame), where I gained loads of experience and skills, touring the UK and Florida. Actually, I recently found myself singing again with the NYJO, in the very place Amy Winehouse started her career. She apparently described it as "singing Jazz in the back of a pub to old people" !! ... quite spot on actually! In fact, it was Bill Ashton (founder and director of NYJO) who gave Amy's number to 19 Management, where she got her big break... that was just before I joined in 2000. I'd say my songs are 'Theatrical Pop'... they have been compared to ABBA, Queen, Carol King, Elton John, Victoria Wood and The Carpenters, all of which I love! They each have an important message in the lyrics, with the occasional use of comedy! I've been told they are quirky, catchy and mainstream. I'm inspired by life experience (whether lived out or witnessed) and most of all, emotions. My songs are so very close to the heart, and I would love to be able to positively inspire others in the way they live their lives... I have this crazy notion to 'change the world' through the means of music... I think it's such a powerful thing, which can be used for so much good, and so much bad... I choose GOOD. I'm very lucky to be co-writing with a wonderful songwriter and producer, Gavin Beckwith (GB Sound) www.myspace.com/gavinbeckwith. I'd say music runs in my family... my sister, Mara, is very musical and my grandad was a Jazz musician in the the 40's, playing with the Ted Heath band and he had his own orchestra at the BBC. My parents, and my cousins are also musical, so I guess I inherited it! I started playing violin at a very young age, then piano, then singing, then drums... all kind of by accident. For example, in primary school we all had to take an ear test, and I was picked to learn violin, so I must have had a good ear (I don't know how they knew, as I had my hair down covering them, so you couldn't really see if they were any good!!) ..Terrible sense of humour, sorry. Then my parents saw I was always doodling on the piano, so they got me lessons. When I was 15, I had to do work experience with my school and I had hoped for a placement in a theatre, but that went to somebody else, so I was at a bit of a loose end. Then at the last minute my sister, who was singing with a local youth Jazz orchestra, asked the bandleader if I could go around with him for a week, teaching drums in local schools... so that's how I learned to play the drums! He then invited me to play percussion with his orchestra, and when my sister left I became the vocalist. This band leader was Roger Nobes, a genius musician who has played with some of the Jazz greats (incl. Ronnie Verrall - Animal from the Muppets, Len Skeat - bass player for Peggy Lee - famous for the song 'Fever'). He took me under his wing (even though he's not a bird), encouraged me, and taught me many Jazz songs, inviting me to his gigs to watch and learn... occasionally I'd even get to sing with them. It was through Roger that I met Lorraine Craig, former NYJO vocalist, and the rest is history!