Emma Sidney’s career started in the field of opera. However, things changed when she had pleasure of meeting and jamming with jazz legend Gil Askey for the first time. This lead to a thirst for jazz music. It’s a path she’s pursued ever since, culminating in 3 albums of quality vocal performance, including her current disc Cherish.
What was your first gig?
My first gigs were with Sophisticated Ladies, a trio I formed because I was too scared to sing out front by myself. I’m not sure which came first of these. We sang ‘Operator’ at the Musicians Union Club. Red tops and black pants. That same year we sang at the ballroom at Merrimbula Jazz Festival, a cavernous space with a grand stage. It all felt surreal and wonderful.
What microphone do you use on stage generally?
My mic is now a Neumann condenser, KMS 105. Beautiful tone.
Is it the same for recording?
The Neumann U87 has been my best friend in the studio
What’s your latest recording and when will you be back in the studio?
My latest recording is Cherish and the album is available on band camp now www.emmasidney.bandcamp.com/cherish. I am currently writing new material and collaborating in the US and Australia. I think it’s a good practice to get into the studio at least once a year. I am looking forward to working with my new band, the GO, and recording with them.
What gigs have you been playing lately?
I’ve been singing with The Met, a big band full of Melbourne’s best. Most memorable gig?
Singing at Scotchmans Hill in front of 7,000 people while the weather changed. With Anthony Warlow and Rhonda Birchmore on the big stage with a big band, I had my trio at the top of the hill and a new baby. People were dancing and laughing, the sky was changing colour and the wind picked up catching at hair and clothes. It was like an Arthur Rackham drawing. A whole day of amazing music punctuated by breastfeeding a six week old baby. Unforgettable.
Worst stage nightmare?
While singing in Tokyo I was taking requests, which I love to do and in Japan they tip if they like your rendition. A man came up to me and deftly flipped the tip down the front of my dress with chopsticks. Did I jiggle it out? Reach down? I can’t remember but I know I went every shade of red imaginable.
Album that changed your life?
Every great album is a revelation and there are many. I’ll go with Voices by Mike Stern with the amazing work of Richard Bona.
What gigs are coming up in the next few months?
I’m at Ruby’s Music Room in Melbourne Wednesday 14th May, 2014 6-8pm. For further dates go to www.emmasidney.com
A vocal tip for the kids?
Singing like yourself is the only thing that gives you a chance at being famous. Don’t copy, don’t mimic, find your voice and develop that.