Musical Theatre Cabaret Month – INTERVIEW – Let’s Talk About Music!

This month we have a very exciting theme to celebrate the month of loooove. (yes, it is Valentines Day month if you haven’t remembered.) Here on The Phoenix Remix we like to take the ideology of that love day that the month is famously known for an actually focus on topics and passion projects of others.

This month we talk to Jenni Winter who is part of the Musical Theatre Cabaret. She has done many live shows as well as performing as a musician alongside improv shows in Newcastle with The Suggestibles. Since the United Kingdom has been in lockdown Jenni has been hosting live shows through Facebook taking requests and performing them live. Today we talk about all things music.

What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you about performing music and cabaret?

Have a role model. Ever since receiving this advice I use it in stressful situations. So now when I’m in, for example, a rehearsal room or devising and feeling a lack of confidence, or imposter syndrome starts to set in , I ask myself “What would Paul McCartney do?” 

What other musicians are you a fan of and why?

I’m a huge fan of Les Watts and Kerry Green. They are AMAZING performers and also devote much of their time to teaching and music education. I really admire their work ethic and their talent. 

For people wanting to learn the piano, what songs would you recommend they learn to play first?

I’d say learn to play songs you love. Simple ones though! And find a teacher who is enthusiastic and loves their profession.

Who are some musicians that you find inspiring and why?

I love Kirsty McColl, just everything about her voice and her energy I find inspiring. If I need a boost I’ll dance around the house to “My Affair”. I’m also a huge fan of Bowie, the Beatles, and also singer songwriters such as Mary Coughlan and Joni Mitchell. Also you can’t beat Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, and of course a bit of ABBA and the Pet Shop Boys!

Tell us about the styles of music you enjoy and why?

90s indie music, because I was an indie kid in the 90s and spent all my free time at gigs. the blues as I’ve played in a few blues bands and just love a finger lickin piano solo. 1920s-40s jazz standards of course, and Musical Theatre (though mostly pre 1965). When I’m out running it’s Kirsty McColl, the Pet Shop Boys or the Kinky Boots soundtrack all the way, with the occasional Cure track thrown in for good measure. I also love a beautiful female vocal, so I also listen  to a lot of Capercaillie, Mary Black, Amy Winehouse to name a few.

What advice would you give for people thinking about performing music live?

Go for it! Find your confidence and self-belief and show the world what you’ve got!

How many times a week do you need to rehearse?

Oh goodness, definitely more than I’ve ever rehearsed. It can prove tricky trying to get all members of a band in the same room at the same time. 

What about playing the instrument?

Again, I definitely should practice more. Actually playing the cabarets (especially when they were weekly) I could really feel myself improve. And now they’ve moved to monthly I can feel I’ve lost something (that would come straight back with more practise)

What is the best advice you can give someone about managing their time with music rehearsals and practice?

Make it a priority, as you would if you were working for someone else. It’s easy to cancel your own rehearsal time for other people. But get it in the diary and don’t budge!

Do you ever get to give yourself a break from music? If so why is this important to do?

Oh yes, all the time. Music is a real gift, I work hard but I love what I do. So I never need a break from music – I have classic FM on in the car, or some ABBA while I’m doing the housework, it’s the soundtrack to our lives, and I am very privileged to work in music.

Who would be your dream guest to appear at one of your shows and why?

Just any of my musician friends! It’s been so long since I’ve played with other musicians!

What about duet? Who would be your dream person to duet with?

Again ANY of my friends, whether or not they see themselves as a singer!

What is the best piece of advice you have been given about music and why?

Don’t take it too seriously, it’s music, it’s there for joy, and at the same time, nothing matters more! 

If people want to find out more about you where can they find you on social media?

I’ve recently deleted most of my social media, which I know is not great for someone live streaming a show via social media! So I live stream it to Facebook, then upload to YouTube for people who prefer not to use Facebook. But I don’t use twitter or Instagram anymore, and other than streaming the show I’m not on Face Book much. You can find the show on and then on YouTube under Musical Theatre Cabaret Jenni Winter

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