Meet England-born UK Open Mic performer Rebecca Mitchell (a.k.a. Bossa Nova Baby):
Hi Rebecca Mitchell (a.k.a. Bossa Nova Baby), thanks for joining us! Let’s get into it:
Do you play solo only, or also in a group?
How old are you?
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
How did that place influence your music? (if at all!)
It didn’t influence it at all.
Where are you based now, and why?
I live in Cambridge, which is where I work.
What got you into making music in the first place?
I had been a professional dancer for many years, and had always liked the idea of adding singing to my performance repertoire. My mother was a professional pianist, and I think I felt I had some degree of instinctive musical ability, but for one reason or another, I kept putting off trying to learn to sing. In 2019 I took part in a Come and Sing performance of Handel’s Messiah, which was incredibly inspirational, and at the beginning of 2020, I found a teacher and started classical singing lessons. To my astonishment, I increased my vocal range by an octave in eight months, which at my age I hadn’t thought possible. On one occasion I have even reached C6, but I’m most comfortable in the E4-E5 range. I’ve spent the last couple of years studying mainly English and Italian Renaissance music, and I’ve also been to Italy on two occasions to work with teachers there. I love the works of the Elizabethan lutenists such as John Dowland and Philip Rossiter, and also the great Italian composers such as Vivaldi, Monteverdi and Porpora. Classical singing is the genre which I most admire, and I believe it forms the best technical base for singing in other genres. However, meanwhile, I have also been nurturing a secret interest in rock and roll, which I have enjoyed listening to since childhood. At high registers, I sometimes struggle with tension in my voice, but I realized I could sing the lower-pitched songs of my rock and roll heroes in my speaking register with no effort at all. I started making rock and roll videos at home to share with friends and my late fiancé, and one friend had the idea of approaching care homes and offering performances for the residents. Recently I took the plunge, and I’ve been overwhelmed by how much enjoyment I’ve been able to bring to my elderly audiences.
What instrument/s do you play?
Who would be in your top 10 musical influences, and why?
Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Also Cecilia Bartoli, and the countertenor Roderick Morris.
Do you write your own songs?
How many years have you been writing songs for?
I haven’t written any. My focus at the moment ent is performing for senior audiences, and it’s important to sing songs that they can recognise.
What process, or processes, do you often find yourself using when you write songs?
I will let you know when I’ve written some!
Why did you get into playing open mics in the first place?
As a dancer, I have always been proactive about seeking out performance opportunities, and this is even more important for me now as a singer, so that I can build up performing experience. I have not always heard positive things about open mic events, but when I came across UK Open Mic it looked like the perfect event for me to cut my teeth on. Also, I thrive in front of an audience: I find singing or dancing for myself at home very dull and uninspiring.
What advice would you give new performers who are just starting out playing their first open mics?
Just go for it! There’s nothing to fear. Attend an event run by UK Open Mic, where you will find that everyone is very friendly and supportive. It’s more like a group of friends jamming in someone’s living room than a gig in a pub!
What’s the hardest thing, for you, about playing open mics?
With any sort of performance, I always worry that there might be a problem with the equipment, but so far this hasn’t happened! There’s nothing else that I particularly find difficult.
What’s the most bizarre, or fun, open mic, or gig, you’ve ever played, and why?
Nothing specific comes to mind. I always find performing fun!
If it’s not already, are you hoping to make music your full-time career?
What do you currently find the hardest and biggest obstacles to moving your music career forward?
Ideally I would love to give up my day off job and become a full-time artist!! Who wouldn’t? I’m under no illusions, though.
What’s the one truth about you that people often find surprising?
That I’m 48!
What’s the most exciting project you’re working on at the moment?
Nothing particularly exciting, just developing my repertoire as much as possible.
Do you have your own music video, channel or playlist you’d like to share?
Where is the main place should people go to find out more about you?
We’re done! Anything else you want to share before we go?
Thank you for welcoming me at your events!