TWENTY TWENTY D-ONE
Well, that’s a wrap on another year! Apologies for the lack of blogs this year (oops!) I guess my only excuse is that I didn’t want to tempt fate by writing about finally having events to play at again…
I’m ending 2021 very grateful for many things – music, my family and friends, the vaccine, Netflix, my neighbour’s cat, and the fact that I managed to make it to the end of the year without being defeated (yet) by the covid Squid Game that most musicians seem to be enrolled in currently.
I can’t deny that 2021 started off bleak, with lockdown number 4289308 and some rather stressful house renovations. However, things miraculously perked up in February when I was invited to perform for a week in the Maldives with Entourage. I know. I nearly died of excitement (I spent an afternoon dancing to the Vengaboys when my fit-to-fly test came back ok). It was one of the highlights of my year and I still can’t quite believe that it happened. The photos are far too obnoxious to share but this was my general mood:
When May came around, weddings could go ahead again and that’s when the madness started! Since then, I have managed to squeeze in playing for a total of 45 weddings this year, and it’s been a joy seeing so many wonderful couples get married, especially when so many of them had been postponed from last year. I’ve had the pleasure of returning to some of my favourite venues such as The Old Marylebone Town Hall, Hedsor House, Coworth Park, The Four Seasons Hampshire, South Lodge and Grosvenor House, as well as performing for the first time at some of my new faves such as The Nomad Hotel, Foxhill Manor and Tunnels Beaches in Ilfracombe, Devon. Check out this amazing clifftop ceremony at Tunnels Beaches that I played the violin for:
Weddings took me all over the country, and that week alone I clocked up the miles travelling to Devon, Anglesey, Chester and Horsham! Crazy times but I was actually really grateful for the road trip after being cooped up at home for so long, and super happy to play with other musicians again! You can see how happy I was to play with André again at this wedding in Anglesey. He looks equally thrilled.
Another highlight of 2021 was performing at Goodwood Races with Entourage. We even made it on to the telly as part of ITV racing - CLANG. The good old English weather kicked in towards the end of the week, meaning it was slightly less ‘Glorious’ Goodwood, but the punters were on top form and partied hard, nonetheless. Here’s a little video montage of some of our performances:
With Entourage I also played violin for the launch party of Haugen restaurant in east London, an epic wedding proposal in Chelsea, and some more joyous weddings around the country. It’s also been nice to see my House of Angels ladies during this year, and we’ve had ridiculous fun playing for events at Century Club Soho, the Liver Building, an Ibiza-themed pool party and a gig in Manchester with firm fave, Rick Astley, for the second time. I’m never, EVER, gonna give him up.
This last year has made me really appreciate what I get to do for a living. One of the things I enjoy about it is how every event I play at is different. I’ve loved the variety of events this year, from a sixth from leaving party at Bede’s Senior School, to an 18th birthday party at Harvey Nichols, an immersive Moroccan bazaar-themed 50th, to a very special MBE celebration at Cliveden House. Here’s a video of me playing a Christmassy number during sound check at Cliveden on TikTok. (Yes, I’ve succumbed to the pressure of TikTok but I still have no idea what happens on there, HELP!)
I felt truly festive in the run up to Christmas this year, performing for three party nights at Bolesworth Castle, along with DJs and sax player booked through my agency – Bubble and Squeak Entertainment. I was also VERY honoured to be asked to play for Hitchin’s Christmas light switch-on event. I’ve had so much fun playing to the local community in town this year.
Talking of LIGHTS, it would be rude not to mention the performances I’ve done as VIO-GLO LED Violin Show for some corporate events, which included parties at 12th Knot, Sea Container London for Tradeweb, and for the Mercers’ Company annual dinner.
Another massive highlight of the year was getting to perform for the Euros 2020 at Wembley. My bezza Emma and I performed as electric violinists over DJ in the VIP lounges for both semi-final matches. This was up there in the jammiest gigs of the year, as we got to watch the matches from the VIP areas and pretend that we knew what the offside rule was. I feel very lucky to have witnessed the incredible England – Denmark match as well as the Italy – Spain penalty shoot-outs! I had never been to a football match before the Euros but I THINK I could get into it. Here’s a picture of us dressed appropriately for the occasion:
Another jammy corporate gig this year involved playing acoustic classical violin for Chaumet at their boutique in New Bond Street. I accompanied an afternoon tea event for their most important customers and got to don some of their VERY nice pieces of jewellery. You can check them out in my reel here. Other corporate events of 2021 included playing for BT launching their new office in Birmingham, and a Christmas do for Benniman Ltd. at Redhouse Barn.
You may also have spotted me on the telly box as a backing violinist with Little Mix on The Graham Norton Show, performing with Bolt Strings. I am a BIG fan of Little Mix (as well as Graham) so this was a real highlight.
The big news of this whole day though was that I walked past Martin Lewis AKA the money saving expert and nearly fainted. Forget Superman and Spider-Man, he's MY hero. TV-wise you may also spy me in the background on an upcoming episode of I Can See Your Voice in 2022.
This year I also released a new violin cover video on YouTube (yay!) – my version of Shivers by Ed Sheeran, filmed in Santorini by wonderful husband, Chris Reid. We filmed it in the space of about half an hour in Oia’s midday sun. Behind the scenes is always stressful when filming in public, but I have to say this one was particularly difficult, trying to avoid tourists and wedding photoshoots, sweaty weather, and the Santorini neighbourhood watch coming after us. I think it turned out alright though!
Probably my biggest accomplishment this year (aside from Chris naming me the ‘Rembrandt of Caulking’), was completing my year-long ‘Music Production Master Diploma’ course with Point Blank Music School online. I’m so glad I pushed myself to do this and start making my own music. The skills I’ve learnt from this course have already really helped with my remote string recordings that I offer clients, and I’m planning on using this to focus on creating and producing some original music in the new year. Santa also brought me a new MIDI keyboard so there really is no excuse now.
So that’s about all that happened in 2021, which, looking back, has turned out to be quite a lot! Lots of work, lots of parties, not so much cheese and wine. I’ll be bringing in the new year playing electric violin at The Ivy in Cobham between 8pm-12.30am if you fancy booking a table!
All I can say now is a big well done for powering through to the end of this essay, and to the end of this year. Happy New Year and I wish you all health and happiness for 2022! x