Nicola’s approach to the words and embodied interpretation of the song holds equally strongly for CCM, folk, jazz and theatre singing. She also works with singer songwriters focusing on lyrics in performance
Working with singer/songwriters
Nicola works with all manner of musicians, composers & lyricists who want to develop their singing to lie alongside their other skills.
‘Getting the words to shine through and shaping the phrase and dynamics to express the emotion of your song is what makes one performer stand out from the rest. If your writing is strong but your vocals are weak, if you are a great player but find stepping forward into singing a real challenge, I will help you become a fabulous, courageous singer and an expressive lyricist. ‘
Nicola offers expert coaching in all matters relating to Song, from vocal technique, fusing words & music to creating and expressing powerful lyrics. She has written and performed extensively in multiple styles with specialisms in Spanish idiom (see below) and deep experience of the English Song repertoire (see below). She is a writer, author and director as well as a lyricist.
As Lecturer in Song Interpretation at Pembroke College, Oxford, she works with each of her students to bring the text alive and create authentic, embodied performance.
‘So many singers struggle with the song repertoire because it is both technically demanding and requires a deep understanding of the poetry that has been set to music. Often singers focus on the vocal aspects of the song and forget the core of meaning from which the song came – the words. Without a grasp of this and the relationship of the words and music, it is hard to achieve a strong, authentic performance that shines out to the audience. This is the alchemy of performance, and it is what we can work together to create.’
Expertise in the Idiom and gesture of performing in Spanish
Nicola trained in Spain for a decade, learning to use fan, gesture, movement, dance and percussion in the interpretation of Spanish Song. As a singer she trained in Madrid with Teresa Berganza, the great Spanish mezzo, creating her own shows with recitations of the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca accompanied by Flamenco guitarists. Her Spanish show CASA Margarita – la Casa del Amor, a mixture of narration, Spanish classical music, dance and song, toured the UK and Southern Spain for 3 years.
Interpretation into Performance in English Song
Nicola is a deep expert in the interpretation and performance of English Song and works closely with singers preparing for concerts and recitals. Her second degree was in English at Oxford University and she has studied both poetry and music hand in hand for over two decades.
She is on the committee of the Association for English Speakers and Singers and has written two books for singers: The Wordsmith’s Guide to English Song: Poetry, Music & Imagination.