February – 2011
Let’s start with the silly stuff:
Alena: This or that?
Becky: This. No that. No this. Yes….this. Is the whole interview going to be this hard? Next question!
Alena: morning person or night owl?
Becky: Well that all depends on whether I’m in the mood for partying! Being a singer restricts me slightly and I make sure I don’t go out too much if I have to perform. There is nothing better than getting a good, early night and making the most of the next day by waking up early – you get so much more done! But once or twice a week I will do myself up and go out with friends for a dance. I’m definitely not a morning person after those nights!
Alena: red or white wine?
Becky: Red by far. It’s a less sharp, far more satisfying drink in my view. Merlot is my favourite. At university the students used to play a drinking game called ‘Amy Winehands’ (yes, a play on the name of our dear friend Amy Winehouse who likes the odd drink or two). This involved taping a bottle of white wine to each hand and being forced to drink them throughout the night. You can probably imagine the effects this had on the fools who decided to take part. I can safely say I never did but the repercussions of this game has put me off the drink for life!
Alena: love to exercise or sheer torture?
Becky: Love! I try and do some form of physical activity about 5 times a week, be it a dance class, a jog or a trip for the gym. I think being fit really helps keep my voice on form.
Alena: take a test or write an essay?
Becky: Can I go with neither!? But I think i’d have to go with essay if I’m being made to choose. Essays give you scope to develop your thoughts and explain yourself whereas tests are more impulsive and you are usually being forced to give short snappy answers. I like to be given a chance to plan and think!
Alena: eat out or take away
Becky: Eat out. I enjoy trying new restaurants to sample not just the food but also the ambiance. You don’t get this if you get take away. I am also a huge people watcher and like eating in a packed restaurant full of new faces (does this make me sound weird!!)
Alena: city life or country life?
Becky: Suburban life! I have grown up in the suburbs (about half an hour from London). In my view, I’ve had the best of both worlds as it only takes a short car or train ride to get me into the centre of town, and I am only 15 minutes from quite dense countryside. I love what the city has to offer – shops, restaurants and excitement but every now and again I need to get out!
Alena: live theater or movie theater?
Becky: LIVE – without a doubt! If you see a movie you know it is going to be edited to perfection and when you buy the DVD – you are going to see the very performance as the one you saw in the cinema. What I love about live theatre is that even though it is rehearsed it is not humanly possible to do the same performance twice – which maintains the interest of an audience and creates excitement at the same time. This question is a bit like being asked to differentiate between live or pre-recorded music in my view! Live is ALWAYS going to win (but maybe I’m biased because I’m a performer!)
Alena: hair and make up: self sufficient or leave it to the experts?
Becky: I like someone to do my hair for me. It is naturally pretty wavy and I like someone whop knows what they are doing to tame it! I quite enjoy doing my own make up actually. I always ask make up artists what they are using and try to watch how they apply it so that I can repeat it on myself!
Alena: reality TV or regular programming?
Becky: A few years ago I’d have said reality TV. I think we have too much of it now and love it when a new series starts that I can get into.
Alena: neat and tidy or not so much?
Becky: I’d like to think I’m tidy (my Mum will disagree if she is reading this!) I’ve seen messier bedrooms than mine! At busy points in my life, tidying tends to get put on the back burner.
Alena: scary movies or funny ones?
Becky: Funny! Unless it’s Halloween. I tend to shut my eyes in scary movies which defeats the point of watching a film in my opinion!
Alena: Name three…
songs you listen to over and over again: ooooh, this is tricky as I have so many depending on the mood I’m in. Getting ready to go out – Michael Jackson: Bad, Chilling – James Horner – Braveheart Theme Song (I love music from the movies), to put a smile on my face -You Make It Real, James Morrison.
things you never leave home without: My I phone (it is my life), MAC lipgloss, my driving licence
of your favorite books: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Wuthering Heights, Bridget Jones’s Diary
movies you are embarrassed to admit that you love: only one here…..Spongebob Squarepants the movie. I even have a Spongebob dressing gown to watch it in (that makes up for the other two!)
things you wish you were better at: telling a joke (I tend to tell the punch-line too early), prioritising, doing nothing (I need to learn how to sit still and chill!)
tasks you put off doing as long as possible: I am a list maker so I try not to put off any task. I find it quite satisfying ticking off jobs as they are done. At the bottom of my list however, will usually be something like ‘book dentist, book haircut’. So booking appointments, which really should be at the top of my list above ‘buy a nice top for next week’s party!!’
More serious stuff:
Alena: At an early age you performed on West End in Les Miserables. Do you miss the stage? Any plans to return? What’s your dream role?
Becky: I would love to do a stint in the West End or on Broadway. I have always dreamed of playing Christine in The Phantom Of The Opera as it would put my classical ballet training to good use! I also adore the songs and Wishing is an old favourite of mine. At uni I got involved in theatre as much as I could. Of all the parts I played, my favourites were Anita in West Side Story (a chance to be sassy and sing in a Puerto Rican accent!) and Desree in A Little Night Music, because Send In The Clowns is such a beautiful song to have performed.
Alena: How much input do you have in what you record and when you record and how it’s recorded?
Becky: I’m pleased to say, I am having far more with age. When I was younger – I was spoon-fed. I was given songs to cover and had songs written for me. I guess this is part and parcel of being a young recording artist. With age, my voice has developed I have a much better idea of the songs and genres that lend themselves to my voice. I am lucky that my range, previous experience and training enables me to sing a songs from a variety of genres. I love finding a song and making it my own and as I have grown up, I have recognised the importance of originality. I am really enjoying writing my own material for the first time!
Alena: You put your recording on hold for a while to finish school. Was that a hard decision?
Becky: It was a hard decision, but also one of the best ones I could have made. I chose to study History at Durham for three years as I wanted to get a degree and felt that I would rather do it when I was young. I think I needed those years to take a step back, gather my thoughts and make a transition from child singer to adult. I made some great friends, learned a lot about myself and even got a chance to integrate my love of music and my degree (I wrote a dissertation exploring the exploitation of African American Rhythm and Blues artists in America during the Civil Rights era).
Alena: Do you get nervous before performances?
Becky: I don’t really, no. I remember, like it was yesterday, waiting in the wings before going on stage in the West End for the first time and being asked if I was nervous (I was 7!) I said no which seemed to surprise the adults around me! Noting has really changed. Obviously, before some of my biggest events I have felt a few butterflies. I’m only human!! I think if you are prepared, you have nothing to be nervous about. I only really get nervous when I sing in front of friends or in small venues but I am not the first performer to say that.
Alena: Any embarrassing moments you could share?
Becky: I once came unstuck at a charity concert I was doing about 6 years ago. I was suffering from a sore throat and my voice just wasn’t coming out as it should. I had to make a big decision when I arrived at the venue and did my sound check – pull out and disappoint the members of the charity organisation and guests or do something I don’t like to do….mime. I chose the latter. After all – the audience weren’t sat very close to me, they’d never know!! Famous last words. It was all going great until the last few bars of the song when the CD decided to let me down and with a little
‘squeak’, jumped back to the start. Thankfully, under the pressure of standing in front of a large audience I continued to mime away. I am told the audience didn’t realise. However, it did mean that I was stood up there for about 8 minutes, singing the same song, panicking that the CD would
jump again and I would be spending the rest of my life singing ‘You Can Be A Hero’ to a very bored audience (as pretty as the song is!)
Alena: Who would you most like to work with or sing with in the future?
Becky: I have always wanted to sing with George Michael and Gary Barlow. I love their voices and would love to harmonise with them. That goes for Josh Groban too (perhaps a duet of You Raise Me Up Josh? Call me ) Some of my more recent material has a more swing/jazzy feel and so I’d love to collaborate with Michael Buble. His music has such energy and I love the live vibe that goes with it.
Alena: Are there any songs that you particularly want to sing live but haven’t had the chance to yet?
Becky: The National Anthem. I think every singer wants to be given the opportunity to support their country and I hope my ambition is realised at some point in the not too distant future!
Alena: Your voice changed a great deal between the release of “A Dream Come True” and “By Your Side”. Can you tell us about that (how you adjusted mentally and vocally)?
Becky: Just as boy’s voices break, girls voices go through stages of development. As you have noticed, mine became far more mellow and fuller in the lower register at about 14/15. Luckily I have still retained my high notes, so I am lucky! Because of this, I haven’t really had to adjust too much at all. If anything, I am less fazed by a song which is very high or very low and I think this is partly due to having a great vocal coach who completely understands my voice and has helped it develop in the most natural way possible.