'Hummingbirds', the debut CD from British songwriter-vocalist Emma Hutchinson is now available at CD Baby. Given a 4 star rating by respected international publication Blues & Soul, the release features 11 self-penned tracks. An addictive blend of wistful ballads, fresh funk and deliciously jazzy soul, the album was recorded at Jim Barr's (Portishead) J&J Studios in Bristol, UK during 2003. 'If I'm listening to music I want to hear a great song. Doesn't matter what genre it is - pop, soul, funk, jazz tunes - whatever! Intelligent lyrics and a catchy melody. So my M.O. is to write the kind of song I would like to hear on a CD or on the radio. Vocal jazz has influenced me hugely. My Dad was a jazz singer and although he died when I was a child my Mum used to play me his records, so I grew up listening to classic songs by Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, the Gershwins and so on. What else? I'm a Motown junkie. And the Beatles and Brian Wilson - great harmonies! Stevie obviously. Bacharach & David. Ashford & Simpson. Joni Mitchell. Carole King. Al Jarreau. Female vocalists? Aretha, of course. Roberta Flack. Chaka Khan. Anyway, many songs on this CD were written when I was living in Hollywood in 1996. Some began as song-writing exercises I devised to learn jazz chords. It was 95 degrees and I'd be playing guitar and dripping sweat on Mickey Baker's jazz guitar book. Others I wrote in the summer of 2003 based on poetry I'd written which suggested a melody to me. I write about whatever is on my mind at the time. Were We Never In Love? is about my marriage break-up, Altaea is about my youngest niece and Homeless In Hollywood was sparked by the street people I used to chat with on Hollywood Boulevard. Coming from a jazz background I get off on working with great musicians live in the studio and I'm very fortunate in having an incredible band of jazz musicians who 1) can play anything and who therefore 2) interpret my songs beautifully so that 3) I look great! Since they can read each other's minds, generally we only do 2 or 3 takes of each song. Then I choose the best overall take and overdub the backing vocals. Because I do a lot of gigs I'm used to singing live with bands generally and reacting to their playing - and vice versa. In fact I often end up using the guide vocal on the finished track as it tends to have an atmosphere and an electricity that I don't get singing along to the band after the event. An example of that is Nature Takes Me In Her Arms. That was the 3rd take and the lead vocal is one live take, no drop-ins.' Band: EH/lead & backing vocals Gary Bamford/Fender Rhodes, organ Guy Harrup/guitar Valere Speranza/bass Rob Brian/drums The youngest daughter of jazz and cabaret singer-pianist Hutch (Leslie A. J. Hutchinson), Emma Hutchinson doesn't remember her father, who died when she was four. However, she listened to his records as a child and thus learned many jazz standards by osmosis. Exposed to a wide variety of music â€' her stepfather played blues guitar and reggae, her mother loved musicals and classical and her sister's Led Zeppelin and Genesis albums reverberated round the house - she was obsessed with singing, writing poetry and listening to the radio, to which she attributes her broad taste in music. Influences include Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Motown, the Beatles, Elvis Costello and Bacharach & David. Initially she began as a backing vocalist in soul and funk cover bands while working her day-job as a linguist/export manager. In the early 90's her fascination with accapella music led to the formation of Thrush, an all-girl accapella group performing her satirical and politicized songs with titles like "The Green Shoots Of Recovery", "Women On Their Way To Work" and "Give A Voice To The Voiceless." The success of Thrush led to her joining semi-professional accapella group Sweet Soul Sisters as a songwriter/vocalist in 1992. Live concerts, international radio & TV appearances and the popular Freshly Squeezed CD followed. In 1995, following the band's sell-out performances in Canada, Emma moved to Los Angeles. There she taught herself jazz guitar and played through jazz real books to rediscover the repertoire associated with her father. Participating in legendary jazz drummer Billy Higgins' workshops and sitting-in at gigs and jam sessions honed her vocal jazz chops. With her new-found musical knowledge she began writing again and composed many of the songs which were to appear on her debut jazz/soul CD Hummingbirds. Returning to the UK in 2000, Emma became a full-time musician and formed the Emma Hutchinson Jazz Quintet, the Emma Hutchinson Blues Band and the Emma Hutchinson Groove Trio, gigging around the UK while also beginning work recording Hummingbirds, which was released in December 2003 on her own Flying Jewel label. In 2004 she collaborated with Gary Bamford to produce the VoxPop Vocal Warm-Ups & Workouts for Contemporary Singers CD, a vocal exercise resource for students and teachers. Her latest CD, the EP Let Me Be Me, was released in May 2005, and is also available from CD Baby.
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