In the week the person with my favourite voice of all time: Queen Aretha Franklin announces her retirement, I've been reflecting on my heroes and idols, and which of them shaped me musically and as a vocalist.
Coincidentally, this is the also the same week that my brother and I went to see 'Jackson Live' ... the show itself is concrete proof that Michael Jackson really was one of a kind, but it got me to thinking how being into his music has influenced me over the years: I was a HUGE fan and thanks to my cousin, MJ was the very first gig I ever went to. I was practically a babe in arms and was apparently far more interested in the size of Wembley Stadium than the show itself! However, these experiences shape us and to this day, I believe the guitar riffs in 'Dirty Diana' set me on a path towards Nirvana and Guns n Roses in my teenaged years. I also think Jennifer Batten, with her hair in lights, is still one of the most memorable stage moments I've seen - that woman can really rock out!
My musical tastes have always been eclectic, there's an obvious Musical Theatre influence that was born out of a love for the old movie classics: to this day, Mum and I still occasionally make time to watch them together: last time it was Funny Girl - there's a love for Barbara Streisand that cuts across the generations in my family.
Then there's electro. I discovered The Prodigy when I was a teenager. I first saw them live at The Cliffs Pavilion in Southend (I believe I was actually grounded at the time!) This set me on a path of discovery I still follow. Electronic Music has so many facets, I'll never stop listening, learning and writing. It's lead me to discover bands like Crystal Fighters and Hot Chip: both of which feature in my top five gigs of all time.
These are just a few examples as I continue to be influenced by each new discovery: I think I could probably write a book on this topic, but it would be an ongoing book that I'd never finish!
I'd LOVE to hear from you with your own stories ....
Incidentally, Ms Franklin isn't quite done ... she's recording an album of duets with Stevie Wonder before she heads off ... as you do .... CANNOT wait for that one!