Voices of The Day – ‘Getting to know you…”#

I’ve just been sent a set of questions to answer for the Voices of The Day Choir.  So here you go – my answers!

Whats your name?
Tessa Smith

What are your nicknames or what do your friends and family call you (no swear words please!)?
I occasionally get called ‘Smith’ which I happily respond to.  Sometimes ‘Smith Face’ which is ok too, I guess?!  I really hate being called Tess though, and find it very hard to correct people without sounding a bit catty..  So it’s ‘Tessa’ please! I’m very fond of my ‘A’.  🙂

How old are you?
I’m 24, and I’d like to stay that way for a good few years..

Are you a soprano, alto, tenor, bass, or something else entirely different (do tell us what that is)?
Despite my wish to have that beautiful resonant octave the gents are blessed with, I am not a Bass!  I can just about happily get the tenor lines, but enjoy jumping around between alto and soprano to find the most interesting line, or the one that feels right to me that day!


Where’s your hometown (or place of birth)?
Hexham, in Northumberland, is where I was born, and I grew up in a little village about 10 minutes from there.


How long have you been living in Leeds?
6 years, and I still love it.  Came for Music College, and after graduating in 2007, I stayed!


What’s your favourite food?

Ooo, that’s tough as there are so many tasty things…! I’m a veggie though, so nothing with parents.

What’s your favourite indulgence/guilty pleasure?

I have a little Champagne habit..! and enjoy a good Pina Colada (but don’t tell my bar-tending friends!)

When you’re not singing in the choir what do you do? tell us about what you do with your day? Any interests? What music/films/tv/books, do you like?
Oh, there’s just too much to talk about in this section… Read my blog!  That might fill you in a little more!  [- Go on, have a nosey at some other posts!] 

I play gigs around about the country, mainly in Yorkshire.. Epernay, Lounge, Harvey Nichols are my regular spots at the moment.  I give private singing lessons, as well as running another Choir for the W.I group I am in – Buns and Roses. (I love being in the W.I!) I’ve an a cappella group, called ‘Solaris’ who I love singing with, and am involved in a Folk-fusion project called PBS6, who have been on Radio2 and BBC6 Music recently, which is cool.  I waitress a little too (to pay for my Champagne!) and enjoy baking, eating cake, walking (to work off the cakes), writing music/lyrics, and I generally try to keep busy and creative!


How did you find out about the choir? and if a friend told you about it do you know how they found out?

I used to sing backing for a Tower of Power tribute band called ‘Soul Vaccination’ that Cleve sings with.  That was about 6 years ago, but I managed to keep turning up to enough of Cleve’s gigs so that he knew who I was (without seeming weird, I hope!)

Last Christmas, he let me know about a Gospel Christmas Choir up in Seacroft so I went up, and that’s when he mentioned he was thinking of starting this up, and did I want to be involved.  So of course, I said yes!

What was your first experience of the choir? tell us what was the choir doing at the time. What did you think of the choir? How did it make you feel. What was the atmosphere like? What did you think everyone else was feeling.

 I’m really lucky, and very grateful, to have been in from the very ground floor.  We had a first meeting in the Wardrobe (no singing!) and discussed what we wanted it to be like, and from then, the group has just grown and grown!  It makes me feel so great every week that so many people take the time to come and sing together.  It’s really wonderful! 🙂

How long have you been coming to the choir?
Since it was barely conceived!


What do you think about the rehearsals?
I enjoy rehearsals.  It’s nice to sing with that much power supporting you.  I’m lucky to get to lead the choir for a little while each week too – it’s great experience for me to work with such a large number.  I hope people enjoy it when I’m at the reigns too!


What has been you favourite moment in the choir so far? Was it a performance? A rehearsal? A funny moment?
I think the first gig at Headingley Festival was pretty special.  We’d only had about 5 rehearsals, and the numbers really picked up after that, so we were a small number..  During Cleve’s first set, we were sat to the side of the church, and all spontaneously started harmonising the tunes he was performing.  Then we all stood together and let it rip.  We felt like a choir that had been doing it for years! I knew then it was going to be something special!


Which song do you love singing the most and why? does it make you feel a particular way is so how does it make you feel?
I love singing ‘Something Inside So Strong’.  Particularly the chorus when the choir come in.  I’ve never had a particularly loud or strong voice, and that tune is very high! But when the choir come in, and I get to improvise over the chorus, something happens and I get this power behind my voice that I never really get in any of my other projects.  I think it’s knowing that we’re all together with the same energy and all focused on the same message.  It’s truly wonderful.  Thank you. 🙂 


What does choir do thats good for you and why do you keep coming back?
It makes me smile, even when I don’t feel like doing so.   It also makes me clap on the off beats so much whilst moving my feet that I feel like I’m actually becoming rather coordinated!


What do your friends think of the choir?

I think they’re probably tired of me trying to drag them along.  But I’m not going to stop, because it’s too good not to experience!

Try and finish the following sentence – “In my wildest dreams I imagine the choir and me….”

All clapping together on the off-beats, whilst stamping our feet, and singing, without a single thing out of time!  Hehe.

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