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The whole story .... 

 
My family moved to Suffolk when I was only a baby and despite all my travels it still feels like home. Music was always a part of my childhood - from my Dad dancing us round the living room to old big band sounds, to jamming on the piano with my brother Danny (who was always much better at it than me), to sneaking into my brother Mark's bedroom to listen to his Mod albums and gawp at his walls covered in newspaper cuttings torn out of a book about the 60s. I grew up on Tommy Dorsey, 1920's New Orleans Jazz and Motown, and I spent my teenage years idolising Prince, immersing myself in Hip Hop and occasionally dabbling in soft rock - well someone had to...

I always wrote songs. I wrote my first when I was 7 - a folk song about fishing. Ask me when I'm drunk and I might sing it to you - unlikely otherwise. In my teenage years my songs were full of the usual angst and of those songs only one survives that I still play - in a much mutated form - and that's Forget You, on the Domestic Bliss EP. Later on, I wrote the odd song with bands I was involved in and tried collaborations with guitarists.  Although quite a few good songs came out of that, none of the bands or duos ever really lasted. When I tried to play those songs alone, my only option was to try them on the keyboard, but I was never happy with how they sounded - I learnt classical piano from when I was a kid and never learnt to play by ear so that was always a struggle. Intermittently I would try to learn to play the guitar, but despite many attempts I could never quite work it out. So the songwriting took a rest and life carried on...

When my second kid was about 6 months old, I decided that the one thing missing in my life was singing, I needed to sing and the odd karaoke night (and lets face it, they are odd) just wasn't cutting it. So I decided it was time to get out and perform my own songs, and the only easy way of doing that was to finally get that guitar playing thing cracked. I started taking lessons with the amazing Mark Stuart - his flexible approach to teaching meant I could learn to play guitar just the way I wanted to: through playing all those old songs I'd written and abandoned with just the chords scribbled down on scrappy bits of paper. I got up for my first Open Mic night at the Brewery Tap about 6 months later - I learnt much later that my friend (who I didn't know at the time) was videoing that night - so he's got a useful blackmail tool should he ever need it. It was pretty dire - having been a performer my whole life it took me by surprise how much having a guitar in front of me threw me. Never one to give up at first attempt I soldiered on....
 
Now, a few years later, I'm gigging regularly - both solo and with a variety of awesome collaborators, am a veteran of more open mic nights than I can count and am a seasoned and enthusiastic busker! I've been described as a 'bluesy songstress', been told by people that my songs have really affected them and that people love the energy that I bring to every performance - and that'll do for me. Hopefully you can come and hear me sometime soon, have a good time and let me know what you think.
 
Justine x