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Juliet Russell bring’s her Choir-in-a-Day experience to Alfresco at the Cotwolds Distillery this Saturday, 5th August

Vocal trailblazer, Juliet Russell is lead vocal coach on BAFTA award winning shows including ITV’s The Voice, BBC1’s Michael McIntyre’s Big Show and is a talented artist and composer. She has worked with Damon Albarn, Olly Murs, Paloma Faith and Grayson Perry, among others.

She has performed at Glastonbury and the Royal Opera House, and has worked with artists and organisations from Gorillaz to the Olympic Torch Project. Whoever she is collaborating with, Juliet always produces outstanding performances and unforgettable experiences.

Juliet Russell
Juliet Russell

On Saturday, 5th August, Juliet will be at Alfresco at the Cotswolds Distillery in Stourton, creating a Choir-in-a-Day, and everyone is welcome.

You’ve been working with Olly Murs?

Yes! I was involved in helping Olly prepare for his UK stadium tour, which resumes on 16th August. He’s a brilliant singer and performer, 100% committed to his craft and he is lovely to work with.

How was it working with Damon Albarn?

It was inspiring. He’s such a prolific and motivated musician and songwriter. He’s constantly evolving - finding new ways to collaborate and express different aspects of his musical personality. I admire that combination of creativity and commitment.

How do you make star singers – any singer – perform better?

The main thing I try to do is really understand what the performer wants to achieve and to help them fully realise their vision. Sometimes my role is to expand their vision of what is possible for them. It’s usually a very creative and collaborative process, based on mutual respect and trust. It’s important to be able to try things out and take chances. It’s the only way to grow!

I have studied the science of singing, in technical and anatomical terms and I’m a qualified masters level coach so knowledge of the process is invaluable, but mainly I like to bring a creative approach and to create an atmosphere where learning and change can happen in a way that feels motivating and fulfilling for everyone. I post a free Tuesday Tutorial on Instagram if anyone wants to experience a little bit of the process.

Who are your musical heroes?

There are so many! In a sense anyone who is following their passion, their calling or their sense of purpose is a hero to me. It’s not limited to music. In singing terms though having witnessed both Jennifer Hudson and Sir Tom Jones sing many, many times on The Voice, they are always ready to sing. I find that really inspiring. Even at their level of respective success, they are always ready to do what they love.

You’re involved locally with the Also Festival, but you have also done a lot of work with Coventry and Warwickshire NHS. Tell us more?

Yes, I was a co-founder of Also festival, which is a really lovely local festival focussed around ideas, books, music, food and wellbeing and now in its 10th year amazingly. During the Covid pandemic, I received a Creative Care Commission award from Warwickshire County Council (specifically the Health, Wellbeing & Self Care Strategy and Commissioning team) to create an online singing project for people being forced to self-isolate due to lung health conditions.

I have a background in singing for lung health and singing can be an incredibly positive intervention for people with obstructive lung conditions, in particular. The attendees ages ranged from 25 to 80 and included people with no singing experience to singer songwriters. What amazed me was how we built such a strong group bond, even though we have never been in the same room as each other! We created a film of our experience. Also Warwickshire has continued to develop its singing for lung health strategy as a result of this project. If any readers want to find out more, you can find more information here.

Tell us about your Choir-in-a-Day. What can people expect?

Expect an uplifting, musical and joyful day. We will learn a song together, adding harmony, dynamics, rhythm and performance skills, and performing the track with a live band in the evening. I guarantee that you will meet some great people, learn lots of techniques to help improve your singing, and have a lot of fun doing so. It’s my first time at the Cotwolds Distillery. It looks beautiful and very conducive to a day of music and singing together.

Do you really believe everyone can sing?

I really do. Humans have evolved as musical beings. In our larynx we have the most amazing musical instrument – our voice. Each of us is unique and our voice is as individual as our fingerprints. Singing involves a different part of the brain in addition to the parts we use when speaking so it’s like an enhanced form of emotional communication. It’s miraculous really.

Choir-in-a-Day is on Saturday 5th August, 10.30am to 5pm at the Cotswolds Distillery, with the option of staying on and performing onstage at Summer Soul, an evening of Live Soul Music featuring Juliet Russell. See www.hamblettsalfresco.com for tickets.

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