Part 2 of the Band of Sisters interview, with Lynda Hayes:
Lynda Hayes, singer, songwriter and voiceover artist is truly an inspiration. She co-wrote 'Too Late Now' alongside David Mindel, a song exploring a journey of life through tough relationships. Until she finally met Mr. Right, Lynda says, "I had to kiss a lot of frogs!" Although the song may be portrayed as humorous, she didn't want it to be portrayed as tongue-in-cheek humour, but more a real life perception of a life without love, and giving up on love, which she did until she eventually found her husband, Steve Stapley, who also plays on the track. It's a familiar tale that all women can relate to at some point in their life. Lynda's story is very heart-warming, giving all single girls hope that there is someone out there for you - it may take you a while, but he's there!
Your song ‘Too Late Now’ is about the search for Mr Right, a lot of women will be able to relate to this. Is this song for the former single girls?
It took me many years and many boyfriends and I had to kiss a lot of frogs. But it isn’t too late; I finally found Mr Right, but I was quite old when I found him, like 102 or something! But it’s worth it because it was just so great, but before then I was miserable and very lonely.
How was it working with your husband on the track?
He plays guitar on the track. We’ve worked together from the day we met, so I’m used to it. It’s almost like I can hardly work without him. In fact, I can’t!
Does the song relate to your personal experiences? Have you got any memorable dating stories?
Definitely! Well, I was married a lot. Steve’s my third husband. It took me a while, like I said. I did meet a lot of men in my life and tried to find the right guy; I wasn’t right for them and they wasn’t right for me.
How did you meet your husband, Steve?
It wasn’t until I had to work on a project with a friend, who said “have you ever heard of Steve Stapley?”, and I said “No”. My friend then played me one of Steve’s tracks and I said ‘Oh that’s really good, he’s a good singer.’ My friend then put Steve and I together on a project and then he came to my house to rehearse, and as soon as I opened the door I said, ‘Oh it’s you, because I swear I knew him!’ It turned out we had met a few years ago, but that was it. I haven’t let him out of the house since, and that was twenty years ago!
How did your music career begin?
Well, it’s kind of like a family business. My mum was a singer so it just seemed natural that I became one, too. My other brothers and sisters they’re not musicians or singers. But I just did it; it was something I had to do. I started doing it when I was little and then I kept doing it until I was old. My kids are both musicians and so is my husband. I tried to stop my children from becoming musicians, and with my first son I even forced him to get a degree from Kings College in English Literature…but he’s still a drummer! Being a musician is a tough life and you never know when your next pay cheque is going to be. It’s like being a trapeze artist but sometimes there’s no other trapeze to grab on to, and you’re just sort of hanging around waiting. I’m really shy, but as soon as I get in front of a microphone I’m fine. I’m so much more relaxed on stage than I am at home.
In addition to singing, you’ve hosted your own radio show, done a bit of acting and voiceover work, but what is your Number One passion?
I guess my number one passion is my family, but after that would be…GOD, I LOVE RADIO! I had such a fun show and it was really interactive. I was like London’s big sister, and people would phone-up and tell me their problems.
How does it feel to be part of Band of Sisters?
It’s the most incredible project and the one thing that I love about it is that a lot of the people on the album haven’t even met! We did it all on the internet! It wouldn’t have been possible without Facebook or the internet because everything was done online.
How did David Mindel approach you for the album?
I know David; he knew all the singers. He pulled it all together like a God. I don’t know how he did it! It was almost like a miracle. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. You hear of the odd song being made where musicians are in different countries, but never an album. Not that many songs, not that many singers and not that many musicians. It’s madness the task that he did. It’s huge!
What is the initial message of the song? What were you trying to achieve when you wrote it?
There is a feeling of despair when you give yourself to a man and you hope for the best. When it doesn’t work out, time goes by and you think you are never going to find happiness and you become settled in the idea that you are alone and you have to become happy being alone. As soon as you become really comfortable with being alone and not needing anyone anymore, that’s when you find the right guy. I was a single mother, I lived alone, I was so lonely, and I made my mind up not to date anymore, because when you have a kid and you’re raising them you don’t want to be like ‘this is Uncle Dave, this is Uncle Ricky, this is Uncle Mike.’ I was a single mother, I was alone and that was it. It was ‘too late now’ - that’s really how I felt, ‘I’ll never find anyone’. Once you give up and stop looking, that’s when it finds you. I can’t believe somebody actually likes me. That’s my point! Women go through a lot; the way we feel stuff is different to the way men feel stuff…that’s why we’re women. It’s really nice to be able to express that. Nobody else can feel for you something that you don’t already feel for yourself.
You have worked with a lot of musical legends, who has been your favourite?
I’ve worked with so many. I’ve had a very long career because I started when I was really young. I’d have to say I loved working with the Riddler from the original Batman. I opened the show for him. I loved working with Dizzy Gillespie at Ronnie Scott’s - I did three seasons with Dizzy and Ronnie. I’ve worked with a lot of cool people. I’ve been very lucky and it was fun. When I first came to England I was managed by Ronnie Scott. I got to play with all kinds of Jazz greats there. I mostly love doing Country, Blues, Jazz and Rock.
You were spotted in a club in New York by Victor Lownes, would you say he kick started your music career?
It was my Uncle Jim, he owned a petrol station in Chicago and I was living in Louisiana doing art at College, and I sent him a tape of some stuff I was singing in a bar, just to get through College. He liked it and he gave it to a guy who managed a group called The Harmonicats, and their manager liked it and said ‘Come to Chicago and we will get me some gigs.’ With that, I went to Chicago and that’s when I started doing a lot of gigs. They had me in all of the Playboy clubs in America opening for comedians and stuff, and other shows, too, and it took about two years on the road solid, with only three days off in two years! When I went to the New York club, that’s when Victor asked me to do the London club, and I stayed here. People were so nice to me how could I leave!
You headlined at the Playboy Club, that must have been a lot of fun!
Yes I did, that’s how I came to England. Victor Lownes heard me singing at the New York club and asked me if I’d come and sing at the London club and I said ‘OK’. I was supposed to do three weeks there, but I’ve been here for thirty five years now! So, it’s going well!
What achievement in your music career are you most proud of?
I think the Toys R Us commercial, because it’s been running for twenty-four years. It’s about Christmas, and it means a lot to people. Every time I say ‘there’s a magical place’ people are like 'Oh my god, it’s you!’ Everybody knows it. I’m most proud of that. I did that with David Mindel’s company.
What’s next for you?
My husband and I are working on an album of beautiful songs. He’s such a great writer. We’ve got a lullaby album out, Sleepy Old Town, and it’s beautiful. What we’re working on now we like to call ‘porch songs,’ just songs about life and love and it’s acoustic, it’s just the two of us, it’s really easy and cool. It will be released in 2014.
So there you have it! A timeless, classic album, sure to be enjoyed and respected throughout the years. Mindel added, "Sitting next to these fantastic players and listening to these brilliant singer, and I was just sitting there with my acoustic guitar, in musician’s heaven."
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