The Art Of The Song
Churchill's position in the UK music scene enables him to comment on the wider situation. He, too, is somewhat pessimistic about the choices open to emerging talent. "The LVP singers are representative of singers in general. They need to record and gain experience, but they need to teach and play function gigs to make a living." Churchill uses the LVP to improve members' employability. He teaches workshop techniques, helps the singers to obtain the clearance documents necessary in Britain to work with children and other potentially vulnerable groups. "I see the LVP as a small College," he emphasizes, "teaching things that to be honest, the Colleges aren't offering. The Conservatories don't want to be known as teacher training institutions so they only pay lip service to it. They still see themselves as preparing students for 'platform careers,' but 90% of music graduates are going to end up teaching. That is the reality."
Churchill's rather downbeat assessment of the business end of music is rather depressing, but honest and pretty realistic. If times ever were easy for the newbie jazz singer in the UK or anywhere elsethey aren't now. There's plenty to be positive about on an artistic level, though. Becoming a professional singer is still a career goal for many, many people. James, Simmons, Jackson and the LVP share a commendable drive and enthusiasm as well as talent. It may be a tough time to be a singer, but it's a great time to be a fan.
Melissa James, Day Dawns (Slickersounds, 2012)
Theo Jackson, Jericho (Self Produced, 2012)
Kaz Simmons, Dandelions (Fast Awake Records, 2011)
Kaz Simmons, Different Smile (Fast Awake Records, 2007)
Kaz Simmons, Take Me Home (33 Jazz, 2004)