Lunchtime Lockdown: Wendy Kirkland

Welcome to our lunchtime lockdown series. Here at Jazz in Europe, we wanted to take some time and speak to artists in the Jazz industry, all across the world, about how life is during this unexpected and challenging moment in time.

As you all know, gigs and events have been cancelled everywhere and for many musicians, this is their only income. However, everyone is pulling together to support each other and as dark as the time may seem, it has also become a time for inspiration. We are all in this together and perhaps by sharing experiences, we will realise we are not alone and can overcome these challenges – and what better way to do this, than through Jazz.

Wendy Kirkland is our first lunchtime lockdown guest. Wendy is a fantastic UK based pianist-singer who has been touring across the UK, playing to sold-out venues and receiving amazing reviews. She also runs the incredibly successful Chesterfield Jazz Club with her husband Pat Sprakes – a space they created as a much-needed Ronnie Scott style venue to develop and sustain a jazz audience. Her current album ‘The Music’s on Me’ has received incredible reviews including the Jazz Journal stating, ‘She’s a jazz pianist and she’s a jazz singer and does both with feeling and flair’ and ‘Kirkland impresses on every level. Superb, recommended’ from Kind of Jazz.

Welcome Wendy! So…how is life for you at the moment?

Really weird! Obviously, the loss of all the gigs this year I’d worked so hard to secure has been a knock-back but knowing there are loads of others in the same situation, whilst it doesn’t help, I suppose it just makes you feel at least part of something!!!! At first, I thought, what a drag but at least there will be a lot of time to practice and do a lot of other stuff I was wondering when I’d find the time to do, but the financial worries have been the overriding concern, and I have been researching help for that, so I haven’t actually done any extra work yet…also, my energy is a bit low and that’s not helped. Sorry if I sound negative…I promise to cheer up soon!!

You don’t need to apologise for anything! Honesty, always good. Many people are still trying to adjust to this new temporary way of life and financial problems are a huge concern for everyone and you really are not alone! You have a huge following and many people who would have come to see you perform, now can’t, for a little while at least, so what is the best way for everyone to support you?

Well, if they haven’t bought my albums, people should do so! Without any income from gigs and the teaching isn’t so good either – some students have chosen to suspend lessons rather than try Skype or Zoom with me…the only source of income through music at the moment is album sales. Unfortunately, we all know about the streaming income for most musicians being rubbish, plus people are saying they don’t have a CD player any more – but I do offer downloads of both albums.

Yes, streaming is a challenge and just does not produce a valid income. But one of the many great things about Jazz is, it is one of the few genres where people still buy physical CDs and of course, people can buy downloads too.

You must miss performing with no gigs for a while, so what are you doing musically?

I’ve got to write some arrangements for a project which is, supposedly, going to be gigged in November but watch this space. I will complete the arrangements though, as when things pick up again it will definitely go ahead, I’m sure. There’s also practice of course, plenty of time for that…and I’ve been doing some Facebook live of me practicing. Not thinking really about what I’m going to play, not really concentrating on making it slick…but hopefully engaging others and also encouraging them to do the same perhaps.

We’ve been watching your Facebook live sessions – it’s really good to see people engaging with their audiences. More and more musicians are now doing this and also looking at how to earn some money from this too.

Any particular challenges and positives you are finding at the moment?

Just the challenge of trying to stay positive and keep my head above water at the moment…But as a positive, I suppose there’s nothing wrong with a bit of enforced R&R….

Any words of wisdom for people stuck at home?

If you play an instrument, practice! Try and see the positive, I’m trying too! Get out in the garden if you have one. I feel for people who don’t, at the moment. I should be out there setting some seeds in my greenhouse. In fact, I think I’ll get out there and do that this afternoon! Try and do a bit of exercise or yoga or something – I’ve got a bike on a stand in the cellar, and an app which allows me to cycle all over the world, so I shall be doing a bit of that this afternoon too!

Huge thanks to Wendy for being our first Lunchtime Lockdown guest. Please do click on her links below to support and follow.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube.

You can support Wendy by buying here albums direct. Click the button Below for more details



Senior writer: Fiona Ross

Photo credits: Mark Ludbrook and a Wendy home selfie!

Last modified: May 24, 2020