Amy Sinha is back with her new record A Sin With Love, which sees her mix her jazz sound with more of a pop element.
I caught up with the singer-songwriter to chat about the new record, having creative control whilst making it and what lies ahead.
- You have just released you new album A Sin With Love so for anyone who hasn’t heard the record yet what can we expect from it?
Well it’s a bit of everything really; it is jazz based but there are other influences like pop and a bit of folk and a bit of funk the there’s a track called A Vampire’s Dance and that is a bit more classical. So hopefully there is a little bit for everybody.
- And how have you found the response to the album so far?
It’s been really positive; I have actually been quite overwhelmed by it as I didn’t expect it.
Everybody has their favourite track - a lot of people like A Vampire’s Dance and I didn’t really expect that.
- So where did your love of jazz first start - how were you introduced to this genre?
I think it started when I was really young because I use to watch old movies with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland.
I think it just seeped into my subconscious - I didn’t know at the time that it was jazz because I was seven or eight years old.
I only actually realised that when I was about sixteen, I think I had a love for it all the time and then when I was sixteen I did Someone To Watch Over To Me in a performance and I just absolutely loved it.
- The album is very much a collaborative process in terms of producing this record between yourself and Huw Ress so how much did you enjoy the hands on producing role?
It was good. It was a lot of pressure I felt because I obviously wanted to make it really good as this is my first time doing it.
But I am glad that I had the control over it because they were my songs and I knew what I wanted in my head.
But it was good to have somebody there who was in it with me and he was making suggestions, anything that I didn’t like we didn’t go with but he came up with a few that I didn’t think of. So yeah it was really exciting, it was really good.
- Well you have slightly touched on my next question really how did you find working with Huw? And what did his experience bring to this record?
I think he comes from a more commercial side of music so not really jazz based - he has a bit of blues but he does have the rock end and pop.
And I think that that was his influence because I wanted to make it more commercial so that everyone would like it and not just a jazz audience, so I think that is what he brought to that.
- It was a process that gave you total control of writing and recording the type of music that you wanted to do how much did you enjoy that freedom?
A lot (laughs), yeah I loved it. It is the first time that I have had complete control over the music that I have done and all my musicians were doing what I was saying and I have never taken that lead role. So yeah I really liked (laughs).
- Deborah Glenister and Alun Vaughn are just two of the musicians who play on the record so how did you find working with them?
Oh it was really good. Deborah Glenister she has been there right from the start, I wrote my fist song and she was there.
She was really supportive and really had a good input and because she is a jazz saxophonist I gave her the most of the jazz stuff. I gave her the chords and she did an improvisation.
It’s really good because when you listen to the songs her improvisation makes the melody and it is really good.
Alun actually joined towards the end of the process just before we were about to record. Again he is very experienced and he is just really in tune and he added a lot to the album. I am really thankful that I got those two people.
- And how much was this album a collaborative effort - did the musicians such as Deborah and Alun have input into the sound of the tracks?
I think inevitably yes - I gave them instructions about what I had in my head but they did add their own improvisation.
I wrote a couple of bass lines but Alun did add his own bass lines to it. So yes they did contribute a lot.
- I talk to musicians all the time and some don’t like the recording process all that much so how do you find stepping into the studio?
It was hard I am not going to lie, it’s not something that I am use to as I am use to performing live.
Going into the studio is quite different because you are aware of every little thing that you do and you can become quite critical of yourself.
So it’s a difficult process just accepting what you hear and not trying to be over analytical - so that is the main thing.
- While there is piano and the saxophone on there the album is very vocal driven and your voice very much takes centre stage so why did you decide to give the album an almost stripped back feel?
I am a vocalist so that was the whole point of the album I think it was for me. I didn’t want to go overboard with the instrumental because I have come from a jazz background and I know what people tend to like; if there is too much instrumental then people lose interest.
So I had as much as I felt was needed and that was in my head when I was making this album.
- You have penned all of the tracks on the album so what inspires you to write? And who are you greatest musical influences?
Well my greatest musical influences has to be Sarah Vaughan and Elle Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra, they are the three jazz people.
As far as pop acts go I love Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey - I idolised Mariah Carey when I was thirteen and fourteen and I think she had a big influence over the way I started singing.
- You went to Leeds College of Music where you got a degree in music so how much has that helped you as you have forged a music career?
I think it was good at the time and it helped me because I got know a lot of people and I got to experience different surroundings and different types of people and personalities.
I got to sing with a big band and then there was a band who asked me to join, they were from Hull and it got me to travel a little bit as well.
The tutors were really good as well as they helped me to broaden my musical range because as a vocalist you tend to be just like other vocalists but I think the college did help me understand the instrumental side of things.
- What’s coming up for you for the rest of the year?
I am just going to promote the album and hopefully just get as many live gigs as possible. I just love to sing live. I am going to Europe later on this month so hopefully I will be doing more with that.
- So how have you found the music is being received outside of the UK?
It has been really good; somebody fro Japan bought and album and I was like ‘wow’ and people from America. It has been a really good response so it has been really good.
- Have you any plans to take on the U.S?
Yes I would love to go to New York, that is one of my aims. So I am going to try and get some gigs over there.
Amy Sinha’s new album A Sin With Love is out now
FemaleFirst Helen Earnshaw