BY JASON LI
Despite having performed for over 30 years as a professional vocalist, Anna Nightingale has never consider herself as a singer. Instead, she’s always told her guests that she is an entertainer. Anna always works towards connecting with her audience by greeting and chatting with those who like her music. After all, she believes the real fun of performing lies within the capacity of engaging the audience. Read on to learn more about her style of connecting with people, the unique performance lineups she offers for bookers, and how living in Spain for several years has influenced her career.
What made you decide to pursue a career in music?
It was quite a coincidence. Many years ago, I played keys and did some backing vocals for a rock band. I went to a karaoke bar with my bandmates one night and was asked to form a singing duo with a professional singer. That was what kick-started my solo career!
Growing up, who has been your musical influence?
Definitely Ella Fitzgerald — she is my idol. I love listening to her soft, velvet voice. All genres and styles of music appeal to me, but hers stand out by miles, without any doubt.
What about your PERFORMANCE approach do you think differs from other female singers out there?
I have a massive repertoire of songs stretching from the 1940s to the latest 2017 hits. I never stick to just one genre of music: I can sing country, followed by a rock ‘n’ roll smash, and finishing with a soft ballad. I’m pretty sure you do not see this that much often in a vocalist.
Explain a typical Anna Nightingale performance. What should guests expect?
Apart from hearing an extensive and diverse repertoire, they can always expect to receive a very passionate and spirited performance. I never shy away from expressing my emotions and sentiments through singing and body language. That is what I do, and believe me, it does really show.
What would you say is your favourite genre to perform? Why?
I really enjoy performing jazz. In my opinion, among all the genres that I do, jazz demands the most difficult techniques. Singing it brings me great satisfaction because I get to emulate my idol, Ella Fitzgerald.
You probably have numerous unforgettable music performances throughout your career; can you name one that is the most memorable?
Definitely performing with the Glenn Miller Orchestra in front of a packed house in Moraira, Spain. It was a special one-off concert paying tribute to the big band era. Rather than me singing to an audience who were there for dining, drinking or dancing, people at the venue were specifically there to listen to us. It was so exciting, and the atmosphere was unlike anything I have ever seen before. What a buzz that night was!
You have lived in Spain for 6 years and performed there with a band. In general, can you share how did your music experiences overseas contributeD to the entertainer you are now?
Those years of performing were, to say the least, a ‘baptism of fire’. The audiences were not very forgiving and had very high expectations of the performers; I even saw my colleagues got booed off the stage! Thankfully, these intense scenarios actually motivated me to keep practicing and perfecting my vocal skills. This helped me become the all-round performer that I am.
Oh, and piece of advice – when you feel nervous before a show, a few buckets of gin really helps!
What acCOMPLISHMENT in your music career are you particularly proud of?
I have been invited to sing for Thames Hospice on numerous occasions. I respect and admire all the people in that organisation so much and am especially blown away by the amount of work they do in providing medical care and emotional support to those living with life-limiting illnesses. Every time I perform at Thames Hospice, I feel very privileged to provide joy and happiness to the patients through music.
What other performance options/ lineups do you offer?
- I offer a ‘Bond & Bassey Tribute’, where I specifically sing an entire collection of James Bond themes teamed with the music of the great Welsh singer Dame Shirley Bassey. The audience can anticipate a very theatrical and cabaret-esque production.
- I also provide a ‘Carpenters Tribute’, which are all tunes that are very evocative of the 1970s. The set list also incorporates a few disco classics for those dancing aficionados.
- I do a ‘Wartime Revival’ set as well, which I have performed for The Royal British Legion and The Royal Air Force. I am usually dressed for the set, either in uniform or in 1940s attire. Who doesn’t love a performer dressing up?
- As for performance lineups, I often collaborate with an acoustic guitarist, where we perform unplugged music from all eras with or without a PA system, depending on the venue.
- I am also the lead vocalist of a 5-piece Motown and funk band. We have a set list of the most distinguished Top 10 hits that everyone knows and loves from the 70s to the present-day. We are mainly hired for private parties, but occasionally events at local pubs and bars too. Every member are all veteran musicians, and we get along very well, on and off stage.
What would you Say is the best thing about your job?
The capacity to put a smile on someone’s face and hear them say that they have had a fantastic night, is the best thing about the job. As an entertainer, my goal is to bring happiness to people. Every time I hear an audience member at a concert or wedding tell me how they loved the choice of songs, or the way I sang to them, these performances suddenly become so much more rewarding and worthwhile. I would never swap anything else for this feeling.
You can hire Anna Nightingale through Headliner Entertainment. We help you discover and book live entertainment specifically catered to your event.