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Oxytocin & Adrenaline: the story behind the album

Wow, I can hardly believe that I’m nearly there. After several years now of spending my spare time writing, polishing, arranging, recording, planning… the first song is uploaded and will be coming out on the 16th of August. It’s so exciting!!

Music has always been a favourite hobby but took a bit of a back seat when my kids were little. But 10 years ago I started a community choir from my lounge room, little knowing where it would take me. I invited my friend Bonnie Mackinnon to join, after we had a joint family soiree for which she casually wrote a new song!

Bonnie became a founding member of the new choir, and after a year, she and I also started jazz a cappella group Sass & Grit, along with Greg Taylor and my husband Hugh. But this wasn’t enough for Bonnie… not too long after that, we started yet another group, Celtic folk group Adder’s Fork.

Each of the groups plays a different style of music and fulfils a different need. For all of them, we have always arranged most of our own music, to get it just right for the ensemble we were working with. One size definitely does not fit all when it comes to musical arrangements!

And on top of that, Bonnie was writing heaps of new music, especially for Adder’s Fork. I found this really inspiring, and began to do the same. So while our first (self-titled) Sass & Grit EP was all cover songs, our second EP (Fireside) is made up entirely of original songs by me, Bonnie and Greg (and we’re working on Hugh!). Adder’s Fork has only released original material, both in our first EP (Adder’s Eggs) and in our forthcoming second EP (Adder’s Beasts).

However, both Bonnie and I found that we were writing songs that didn’t quite fit any of our three groups – clearly we needed more! In 2019, Bonnie suggested that we each write our own solo album. Initially I felt slightly horrified – was there really enough time in my life for such a huge endeavour? But it turns out that if you really love doing something, it’s not much of a sacrifice to give up all your spare time to it. Very soon the idea began to seem a little less crazy and a little more achievable. By early 2020, I had five songs and I felt that things were shaping up.

Then covid-19 hit. We all know what a shock that was initially, and what a toll it took on many of us. Partly due to all the extra commitments on my time (supervision of home-schooling and preparation for online rehearsals on top of work), I found myself in a very bad flare-up of chronic pain and corresponding bad anxiety. It was a tough time. But it was also somehow a trigger for a lot more creativity. Of the original five songs, two have been dropped, and the other 8 songs that make up the album were written between September 2020 and September 2021.

This has been a huge endeavour and several people have contributed very generously of their time - first and foremost Hugh, Bonnie and Greg, all of them in myriad ways. A big thanks also to my band (Hugh, Bonnie, Greg, Nick, Emily and James), and to my kids, who threw themselves behind the project too (and will be appearing on some videos and in some tracks). I’d also like to thank Ben Worsey of Everland Studios (sound engineer) and Alex Salter of Grey Area Sound (producer), who’ve done an amazing job.

So now, it’s time to send the first track out into the world and see what happens! I’ll be releasing the 11 tracks one by one as singles, so follow me on your favourite streaming service and on Facebook to find out when the next one is due. Also stay tuned for an album launch in late October.

A song is a form of communication and is missing half its purpose without a listener – so over to you! I hope you enjoy listening.

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