This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
BANDSTANDING: Tony Ricketts looks at Music in the West “I’VE GOT A BIT OF A NAME FOR MYSELF ”

That piece of Kiwi understatement is in a sense true: Sarah Spicer is not well-known like Aretha Franklin or Lady Gaga. But she’s certainly on the speed-dial of some important phones: this month she sings at Sky Convention Centre to PM John Key, she has a song on the Anthem In Black collection for next year’s Olympics, her voice and her songs can be heard in film soundtracks and TV campaigns. And she has the masters of songs she recorded with John Lee Hooker shortly before he died.

“John was frail then, afraid of dying, talking about those who’d gone

before. That recording is sacred to me, I have to do it properly.” Part of doing it properly is having the experience and resources to do it justice, so Sarah set about laying foundations. “I decided to get a degree, in early childhood education, then had babies. We recorded some tracks, and got on TV, I taught for a while. When we broke up I lost everything except the kids, and started again.” Sarah joined Pulse, a commercial three-piece diva group, “dressing up as glam disco chicks! It’s not who I really am, but very good experience, learning how to dance in high heels, how to be an actor. At the time I loved it.” With mainly corporate shows she also learned the business side of music, and these days Sarah does it herself, “no agents, no managers.” She gave up teaching, formed Sarah Spicer Ltd, and “I’ve been

doing it ever since. More and more gigs came, lots of new songs. We have two Asian students living with us, and a friend who is a recording engineer.” An in-house engineer? “Yes, Benj Birkett, plays drums too, and we’re well on with a new album. I want John’s song on the album, I’ll get it ready and see what offers come in. I’ll send it to the family first, though, I‘d like their approval.” Sarah’s own songwriting has an underlying theme. “”I sing about

The heavy card is disintegrating on my Crown Records LP of The

Great John Lee Hooker, which I bought in 1964 when a local band, The Spencer Davis Group made the Birmingham Top Ten with Dimples. I never saw him play, so it’s a rare privilege to talk with someone who knew him well. “When I was 19 I was hanging out with John, I sang this song [Fred Neil’s Little Bit Of Rain] to him, he sang it with me, then we went into his garage studio and recorded a country version. I laid down some guitar and he did three vocal tracks. There was a technical thing, it sounds real hissy, sounds like rain.” The song begins: ‘If I should leave you Try to remember the good times, Warm days filled with sunshine And just a little bit of rain, And just a little bit of rain’

the truth and the power we all have within us. I write from my experiences of coming through hardship.” At 14 Sarah went to live with her US-based father (“I was a troubled teen”) and played music with her blues-guitarist brother. “When he died I was forced to learn

guitar, to play in front of people.” The Anthem in Black song, Lights, wasn’t about sport, “It came from

the energy of horse-riding through the bush during a spell in Thames. Someone at Auckland Rugby (where Sarah plays regularly) suggested I send it in. Mike Chunn loved the song, I performed it for the Olympic Committee, and got on the album.” There’s another Anthem In Black set due in September. Tatler

readers may like to check out Sarah’s new song, maybe vote for it. That album will be out mid-2012, when Sarah’s album is also due for release. Seems to me Sarah Spicer may be on track to have a bit more of a name for herself.



Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32