Wanstead’s Songbird Sessions performance on BBC One’s Pitch Battle ‘ a fantastic experience’
PUBLISHED: 15:00 08 July 2017
A group of six phenomenal female vocalists took the stage on BBC One’s Pitch Battle, competing against 30 of the country’s best choirs and vocal groups.
Songbird Sessions, from Wanstead, have taken on some of the best entertainment gigs in the corporate field and much more.
Forming the singing group in 2012, Gemma Knight Jones and Kelly Fraser were once music college classmates and have developed music careers, while also forming Songbird Sessions comprised of some of Kelly’s former and current vocal students.
This multifaceted group of diverse singers all work in music full-time, from vocal education to full-time music students.
“We are a very open-minded and diverse group that definitely likes to put our own spin on things,” Kelly told the Recorder.
Backed by musicians, Songbird Sessions provide top class entertainment for the best events in the corporate field and are also available for sessions, studio and live, radio, television and film.
“Pitch Battle was a great platform to reach out to a wider audience and get Songbird Sessions out there on a larger scale.”
Songbird Sessions helps others perfect their craft by offering vocal coaching across the industry, and also runs workshops, and masterclasses in London and abroad. The group is also readily available for sessions, including studio, live, radio, television and film.
“Our goals were, and still are, to work together to create a company that provides the highest quality vocal services,” Kelly explained.
This soulful group also strives to push themselves in many different genres, including their favourite, commercial pop soul. But with each delivery Kelly explains that they wish to fulfill a general purpose. “We make it real and we make it honest.”
With the many connections that this singing group has collected over the years, it was not a strenuous task to make it onto the TV show. After a few calls and attending auditions around March, Songbird Sessions was chosen to take part in Pitch Battle, which made its debut in June.
Songbird Sessions wanted to show everyday, real women competing on a large platform.
“Going on the show we wanted people, especially women, to feel the music and be encouraged to just sing, even if you are just singing in your bathroom,” said Kelly.
As they prepared for the show, much like preparing for any gig, the Songbird Sessions group stayed very attentive and did not take rehearsing lightly, as they knew they had to deliver to a high standard.
“Quality is paramount. We are all about soul and heartfelt vocals. But we also rehearse hard for precision and we make sure to pay attention to detail.”
Kelly also explained that they make time to rehearse six or seven times a week when preparing for gigs to ensure sure all vocals are on point.
Upon joining the show the group got a chance to compete against the top six groups chosen to go on-air, including All The King’s Men and Ale Choir.
“It was such a fantastic experience just meeting musicians and broadening our networks,” said Kelly. “The whole premise of the show is amazing to us and being able to sing together with the equally talented competitors was great.”
The programme, presented by Mel Giedroyc, includes riff-offs inspired by the Pitch Perfect films, a soloist battle, and an acapella round,
Judges are vocalist Kelis and the nation’s favourite choir master Gareth Malone.
“The competition was truly lovely and we made a lot of friends so it was a really healthy competition,” Kelly went on to tell the Recorder.
Gemma has appeared in the cast of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time at The Gieldgud Theatre as well as The Lion King, Sister Act and Hairspray.
Kelly has worked with artists including Shaun Escoffery, Rick Astley and Omar. She has also performed for the Queen.
Songbird Sessions will be performing at Pizza Express (The Pheasantry) in Chelsea on Sunday, August 20. You can book tickets at www.pizzaexpresslive.com/whats-on/songbird-sessions-return