Throughout 2016 I spoke with a number of my colleagues about their work. Initially speaking with people wrangling various animals at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, I quickly opened the discussion up to other musicians and artistic practitioners that I know. These discussions, edited down to 10-15 min podcasts – which I called Tales From Backstage – were good fun and full of interesting stories and insights.
Then, at the beginning of this year, I appeared on Soho Radio with some other artists (I had come on to talk about my show Over My Shoulder, concerning a famous daughter of Soho, Jessie Matthews). The experience of talking with other artists reminded me how stimulating and revealing these discussions can be. Consequently, I decided to revisit the podcast series and to try and think of other colleagues who might want to talk about their work and experiences. I’m really pleased that my first few emails were replied to with enthusiasm!
Here, then, is a new series of podcasts. I have already started, by talking to the irrepressible soprano Natalie Raybould the day before her performance of Pierrot Lunaire at the Guards Chapel on 27 February. The podcast I’m publishing today is a chat with the artistic polymath Kerry Andrew a week or two ahead of the release of her new album with her band You Are Wolf.
All podcasts can be heard via claremccaldin.com/podcast, or on iTunes, Mixcloud, or any other podcast player (like PlayerFM) with a good RSS feed.
This week I posted my eighth podcast episode – the second part of an extended conversation with composer Stephen McNeff in which we talk about writing for singers, what makes for successful collaboration and what else he has in the compositional pipeline.
I’ve called the podcasting strand of my activity Tales from Backstage because I want it to be a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes, not just in my own work but also in the lives and work of my colleagues. Sometimes this is the story of how their path has literally crossed mine backstage in a particular performance such as the Royal Opera’s Carmen, where I met Kay, Anita, Sharon and Sam. Other conversations – with Sandy, Stephen and Liz – take place in a more metaphorical backstage area, where we discuss how and why we do what we do.
Hopefully all of these podcasts reveal interesting truths about life in the performing arts – many of my conversation partners reveal themselves as multi-talented multi-taskers, juggling roles as teachers, writers, producers and creators, which is the reality for most performers rather than a single-focussed occupation.
What kind of people would you like to hear about? Let me know and perhaps there’s one near me and my iPhone, ready to chat.