The singer chatted to Emma Clarendon about singing alongside  Melinda Hughes at Crazy Coqs in Brasserie Zedel tonight.

 Hi Alison thanks for talking to me. What can we expect from Diva II Diva? Melinda and will be singing songs we love while sharing our enjoyment and enthusiasm . . . and some bad jokes with our audience.

What sort of music will you be performing during the show?We ring the changes and skip across several genres; from a little light swing to opera and Melinda will of course be performing her witty, self-penned songs. I saw her one woman show at the Edinburgh Festival this year and she had me roaring with laughter. 

How does it feel to be performing with Melinda Hughes again? Mindi and I go back a long way, it is always a pleasure to work with her. Even when she makes me wear a posh frock.

What do you love about performing live? I love that it’s live! I love the discipline of studio work but live, in front of an audience, keeps you on your toes, make the heart race a bit faster – anything could happen (and often does). Truth be told we are all adrenaline junkies – it’s the best high you can get.

You’ve worked with so many different artists – is there anyone you would still like to work with? That list would be far too long to include here. There are so many talented musicians, writers and performers out there.I am always pleased to collaborate with others whether they be established performers or up and coming artist with something new to say.

Have you any advice for any aspiring singers?  The journey for each individual is different. Some spend years developing their style/sound and only show it to the world when they are sure of what they want to say. Others are surprised by the path they find themselves on – learning on the job. However you begin my advice is first, practice your craft and next PRACTICE YOUR CRAFT. Thereafter, take care of your voice; the voice is a versatile instrument but can be broken and even destroyed by unthinking use. Be open to new ideas and ways of singing – challenge yourself – but once you know what you want, ‘who’ you are, don’t let anyone try to change you. When I first started singing professionally I was told my voice wasn’t ‘right’ (I think they meant it wasn’t girly enough or soul–y enough or on some occasions jazzy enough) and for a hot minute I worked hard to sweeten my sound, to alter my voice hoping to fit but the goalposts were ever changing. Then one day I just said, ‘bugger that for a game of soldiers’ and went back to doing what I do. My voice is deep for a girl and loud but that’s the way I’m made. Once I embraced all the tones I could produce I was much happier and made better music because of it. 

Last bit of advice; singing is a pleasure everyone can share in (whether you sing well or not) but only embark on a singing career if you truly love it. It is hard work if you want to make a living as a singer and unless you are very lucky it will take determination and time before you see progress. The music business is not for the fainthearted and though it might look easy and glamorous from the outside, the day to day workings are often dull and can be brutal. That said I have loved every moment (well not every moment but most) of a long and varied career. I’ve sung opera (not just with Melinda), pop, funk and jazz, I’ve toured the world and worked with some extraordinary people. That’s not bad going for an East End girl who only wanted to be a contemporary dancer when she left school. 

By Emma Clarendon

Alison Limerick appears on stage with Melinda Hughes at Crazy Coqs in Soho tonight from 7pm. Tickets available at www.brassieriezedel.com

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