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KIRSTY MERRYN

1. Are you looking forward to singing at The AJC?

 

I am! I have been playing jazz with these guys for a long time; over 10 years now in the case of Tim and Tom (eek!) and it is always a delight. 

 

2. What can The AJC's audience look forward to on the 30th?

 

A mix of styles and lots of energy! I'll be singing a lot of beautiful jazz and blues classics, and also a couple of my own songs. I write in a more nu-folk style and usually perform just myself with a piano, so it will be nice to try some different variations using a full band.  Also, I should expect a glamorous frock or two! 

 

3. How do you start writing one of your songs? The fantastic 'Constantine', for example.  Did that start with a melody idea, or did the lyrics come to you first?  

 

Constantine is actually about a beach in Cornwall - Constantine Bay.  It's about that feeling you get of encountering the earth at its most elemental and ancient, about how aware you are of your own mortality in contrast. I think it's actually a very empowering feeling. I usually start with an idea and build a melody and chord structure around that on Piano or Ukulele. Then I write some lyrics. 

 

4. Who do you feel has really influenced you as a performer?

 

Nina Simone undoubtedly, from a very early age. She was my jazz first love! I found a CD in a charity shop when I was 16 and my life was changed. Nina was an absolutely incredibly performer and musician and her energy has really inspired me. A lot of the nu-folk musicians that are around right now are definitely influential for me too, such as Cara Dillon and Seth Lakeman. 

 

5. Who are you really enjoying listening to at the moment?

 

Oh dear, should I admit this? My

guilty pleasure is pop-punk, I am currently loving 5 Seconds Of Summer!  Jazz wise I'm a traditionalist - a lot of Ella (Fitzgerald) and Louis (Armstrong) and a whole lot of Nina Simone. 

 

6. When not listening to jazz, what other styles of music are you into?

 

All sorts of different things - as I said, I have a real soft spot for pop-punk and Nu-folk, but also much more traditional folk music too. 

 

7. Away from music, what other passions take up your time?

 

I am a bit of a crafter; I love to knit and sew and I also like to run. I am lucky enough to live right by Greenwich park, and running through the park is an excellent chance to have a break from hectic London life.