UK singer, songwriter, musician, composer and music educator
My guest this week is Heather McClelland, a singer, songwriter, musician and music educator based in Sussex UK, and a mum of 1.
Heather grew up in a very musical family. Her family were a travelling band with West African and Irish influences, and Heather’s first gig was the at an Irish Busking Festival at the age of 6. She has been writing songs since the age of 13. In her high school years, Heather sang backing vocals for her mother’s performances and was playing in bands.
During her university years Heather and her band toured Ireland supporting Mad Dog Mcrea . After finishing school Heather went to Brazil for three years, studying music and performing with some of Brazil's leading musicians. This trip cemented her decision to pursue her music as a full time career.
On returning to the UK in her mid-twenties, she continued to perform Brazilian-influenced music (appearing at Festinho, The Royal Festival Hall and Favela Chic) as well as collaborating with other artists including champion beatboxer Bellatrix, Wah Wah 45's Stac, and Ninja Tune's Submotion Orchestra.
As a soloist, Heather's debut EP China Mind was released in 2020 just before the pandemic hit. It occupies the space between folk and electronica, singer-songwriter and neo-classical. Her songs are ethereal and haunting, featuring her uniquely pure-toned voice and her evocative harmonies
Heather’s vocal group The Sugar Sisters is a 40s inspired trio, specialising in close 3 part harmonies. While busking, the trio were spotted by the producer of Irish radio presenter Sir Terry Wogan and that lead to some amazing opportunities, including performing on BBC Radio 2 and at Royal Albert Hall.
Heather has many years experience in music education. She currently works at the Royal Brompton Hospital as lead Artist on the Vocal Beats programme, which she helped to create and develop. The project works with paediatric heart and lung patients from birth to 25 years, offering a diverse range of music, including lullaby singing, beatboxing classes and singing for breathing sessions. Heather also works as a musician in residence at Great Ormond Street Hospital for children.
**This episode contains discussion around the loss of a parent and grief.**
Heather's music is used throughout this episode with permission.
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