There’s rumours on the Bearwood grapevine that the Bearwood Shuffle’s back this summer. Can’t wait….watch this space and keep a close eye on Bearwood Promoters' new website too, right here!
To get ourselves in the Shuffle mood we decided to catch up with one of its bright young stars, Amelia Wallace. Amelia told us why she really enjoys playing at Lightwoods Park bandstand, how she keeps as cool as a cucumber and her love of Bearwood’s charity shops (us too!)
Hi Amelia. We’ve really enjoyed your performances at the recent Bearwood Shuffles. What’s it like performing at Lightwoods Park bandstand and what do you think of Bearwood’s live music scene?
Thank you very much! The people that attend the Shuffles are just so welcoming and enthusiastic about all types of performers and performances; that is all any performer could ask for. As this is the community I've lived in the whole of my life, every time I play I am able to connect incredibly easily with the audience. The vibe given off it always so friendly, I always feel like I'm just playing to my best friends! I love how the history of the park contrasts with the ages of the diverse genres that are performed there. It's so refreshing. As for Bearwood's live music scene, I think the rest of the world has some competition! The quality of the artists produced here is just phenomenal. I come away from every single shuffle so inspired and uplifted from all of the new artists I've discovered. I'm so proud to be from such an artistic area with so many talented and supportive individuals. I hope that Bearwood continues to exceed in this field of arts because it has already brought the community together enormously!
Yeah, definitely! We agree! So tell us about your music. When did you first discover you enjoyed singing and how would you describe your music? Are there any songs you particularly like singing?
I think I've always been into things like musical theatre and the more 'creative' subjects at school. I remember coming back home from going to see a musical and not only singing all of the songs to myself, but also pretending to be the main character for about a week straight. My parents are very musical (I even hear my Nan making up her own tunes whilst washing the dishes!) so I'm lucky that I've always lived in a musical household. I also remember receiving a karaoke machine one Christmas and from then on, I was utterly inspired...I don't think my Mom ever heard the end of that Mariah Carey song! When I taught myself to play guitar, I felt much more comfortable singing and it just felt like the third arm I never had! The guitar is what started my wild obsession with collecting musical instruments that I will never ever need or use. I also think that learning to read music in primary school influenced how much I love music now. My music today is, funnily enough, inspired by my surroundings; the area I live; the people I meet; the places I'm SO lucky to be able to go to. I would describe my music as simple, raw and also(here's something contradictory) youthful but mature - if that makes sense. I like singing the 'crowd pleasers' and the songs that everyone knows and can sing along to, however, I love it when I get someone come up to me and ask "what was that last song you sang? I really liked it!". I makes me so happy that I can introduce new music to people.
You seem so confident on stage. How do you do that? We wish we could. Do you ever get nervous and how do you overcome your nerves? What would you like to do with your music in the future?
I have to mentally prepare myself for a gig. I imagine the audience, the stage, the background noise, what I should do if there should be any mishaps etc. I only ever get nervous when I am called up to START performing. Once I get into my first song then I feel like I'm as cool as a cucumber... Or a cucumber with dyed red hair. I only have one tip for overcoming nerves: just do it. Don't dwell on it, just take the first step and the rest are easy! In the future I'd love to keep performing little gigs with a mixture of bigger gigs all around the country. Even though it's a little cliché, my dream is just to travel the world and perform to all types of people. I'd also love to make a physical album one day, or maybe have it on vinyl. How cool would that be?
You cover such a great range of different songs. You must listen to music a lot. Who's on your phone right now? If you could do a duet with anyone, who would it be and why?
My phone has a mixture of the Beatles, Paramore, Foo Fighters, The Smiths, Alt- J, You Me At Six, Biffy Clyro, Bombay Bicycle Club, John Mayer, lots of little playlists of songs from musicals and lots more artists similar to the ones just named! Even though I will always adore singing with my mom or with my very good friend, Mariah, my main picks to duet with would be Hayley Williams or Dave Grohl because both of them are my idols, they have shaped my music today. If it was possible, my next pick would have been Eva Cassidy. Her voice was indescribable.
We can really tell you like living in Bearwood. What’s your connection with the place?
My main family has always lived here and I have been brought up around Bearwood. While I have grown up, I have watched it grow. It feels so great to be able to support, entertain and give something back to this community! (My nan and I are also tied at the waist to Aldi supermarket)!
Bearwood community spirit always seem to rank highly on our Bearwood All-Star list. Sorry to put you on the spot but please tell us your Bearwood All-Star. In other words, what, who or where makes you smile in Bearwood?
Just to be extremely random: I love being in my Nan's back garden which overlooks the woods and sometimes down the park in the summer, I love the people I meet at all the events I attend, busking, the happy and inspiring people I come across but most of all...the charity shops!
Amelia, you've been wonderful. Thank you. Just one more question which we like to ask everyone. What makes Lightwoods Chippy’s chips orange?
Haha! When I was little, my brother convinced me that they used Doritos and carrots to make them orange. I asked my mom as she used to work there when she was younger, she said it was just batter but who would trust her? When she served you you only got about one chip in the bag; the rest were on the floor because of the way that she wrapped them!