Kim Cypher: Catching dreams

Written by | Articles, Artists, News, Women in Jazz Media

Kim Cypher’s love, joy and dedication to her music is not only clear, it is highly infectious.  Her loyal fan base have been by her side throughout lockdown while she has kept our spirits high with her coffee mornings and various projects, along with her incredible husband, drummer Mike Cypher. Kim is one of those artists you cannot help but truly adore. Not only do you admire her talent, as a saxophonist, composer, vocalist, radio show host and writer, but her inner energy, her passion and dedication to not only her artistry but to others. If we want to celebrate Kim Cypher – which we certainly do – then it is impossible to highlight just one facet of this dazzling artist.

 We all define success in different ways and I like to think, that seeing people achieve their dreams in turn inspires us to achieve our own, whatever they may be. Our journeys to reach these dreams, differ and for Kim Cypher following her heart has led her on a road paved with hard work, dedication, self belief and gratitude. Gigging at the world-famous Ronnie Scott’s in London, is an ambition for many and for Kim, she is about to greet that milestone with excited and very open arms. It was an absolute joy to chat to Kim about her upcoming Ronnie Scott’s experience.

Photo By Ron Milsom

It is the dream of many musicians to play at Ronnie Scott’s. Why do you think that is?

Ronnie Scott’s…what can I say? As a jazz musician, Ronnie Scott’s and the story behind it absolutely epitomizes what we stand for. It’s about having that total belief in music and following your dreams. Ronnie Scott and Pete King’s story is so inspiring. They were a great team and they created this amazing intimate and welcoming venue, presenting legendary names in jazz, where everyone is united in their love and respect for great music. There is no better inspiration to follow your dreams. Performing at Ronnie Scott’s has been a dream of mine and my husband’s for as long as I can remember. To walk in the footsteps of incredible jazz legends and to perform on stage at this iconic venue is just mind-blowing. Musicians who perform there are ‘guardians’ of the club’s reputation and continuation of that incredible dream to present the world’s best jazz. There can be no greater honour!

Are there artists that you are inspired by or have influenced you, that you have seen at Ronnie’s?

I am a huge Courtney Pine fan. I have seen him performing ‘live’ many times. But, to see him with his ‘House of Legends’ tour at Ronnie Scott’s was incredible. Courtney is an artist who really connects with his audiences and so the intimate setting is perfect to really get that connection and share all the excitement. I was in awe that night.

Are you approaching the Ronnie’s gig any different to other gigs? More practice/set choices etc? Do you feel under pressure and doing anything differently to handle that?

I’m trying not to think about it too much! There will naturally be a great deal of excitement leading up to the gig and also nerves. We will all want to do our very best to fulfil the honour, but, that’s the same for any performance. In terms of practice and sorting out the set list, the timing of the gig as we come out of lockdown means that the band has not been performing as regularly as we were. For me personally, I am trying to fit in as much practice as I can to build my gig strength back up after 16 months without gigs. But ultimately, we are really looking forward to being reunited with wonderful, loyal supporters and friends. We have a great set including some new material and it will all be about sharing a wonderful time together. There might be a bit of over-excitement though!

Since the UK opened up, you have been straight back on the circuit with many gigs. How does it feel to be back?

In a word…AMAZING! I feel emotional just thinking about it now. Having to stop doing what we do and what is the heart and soul of us as musicians and performers has been the hardest thing. It’s not just a job that you can give up and find an alternative for, it’s part of your whole being and who you are. I missed all my bandmates so much. They are an extended family. I missed seeing everyone and that unique connection music allows with an audience. It’s only now, getting back out there that you can truly realise how happy it makes you feel and how much you have missed it. So, it’s great to be back and even more great with a gig at Ronnie Scott’s in the diary.

What would you say to musicians that feel that they will never get to play at Ronnie’s?

I feel your pain and I’ve been there! But resilience is the name of the game. You can’t expect to just walk into one of the world’s most prestigious jazz clubs and be handed a gig on a plate. Ronnie Scott and Pete King deserve the very best. So, of course you need to ensure your music and performance is up to scratch. Then, if my ‘journey’ is anything to go by, you can expect to work your socks off for years, establishing yourself as an artist, setting yourself apart, getting into the London scene, building up a following, basically serving an apprenticeship to be entrusted as a ‘guardian’ of the club’s reputation. It may be a long, tough path but with resilience, determination, self-belief and hard work it will be worth it. Trust me, I’m still pinching myself!

Has the time over lockdown, shaped/influenced/changed the artist you are now coming out of lockdown?

I think, if anything, it has made me really appreciative of what I do. I feel I am getting back out there with more passion and more determination to really give people a positive, happy experience. In a way I feel quite emotional about it all, what everyone has been through and I know the power of music to bring people together and lift spirits will be needed more than ever now. I have always been a heart and soul performer, but I think I am even more so now.

How do you hope people feel after attending one of your gigs? 

‘Love Kim x’ Album Tour At The Bull’s Head Photo By Ron Mislom

The people who support my gigs are amazing. I cannot express my gratitude towards them enough. They are part of my journey and mean the absolute world to me (hey, I’m putting on a coach from Cheltenham to bring my local supporters along to Ronnie’s!) So, I would hope they leave my gig feeling happy, energized, excited, part of a family and connected by a mutual love of music, kind of a big musical hug…just what we all need right now.

I hope you will join me in feeling excited for Kim for achieving one of her lifetime ambitions. An incredibly well deserved moment and one that will inspire many.

Kim and Mike Cypher will be appearing on the main stage at Ronnie Scott’s on Sunday 1st August for the Sunday Lunchtime Jazz session together with their fellow band-mates Chris Cobbson on guitar, Anders Olinder on piano and Mike Green on double bass. Tickets have already sold out, including a coach full of local supporters who have been very much part of Kim and Mike’s musical journey so far. There is always a warm and very special atmosphere shared between Kim and her audiences, a wonderful connection and a mutual love and respect. This really will be quite a night.

Mike and Kim will also chat to award-winning jazz vocalist Ian Shaw on Jazz FM’s ‘Ronnie Scott’s Radio’ at 9.00pm on Friday 30th July, ahead of their performance at Ronnie Scott’s. Kim and the band return to London on Friday 3rd September for a performance at the Crazy Coqs venue at Brasserie Zedel. Tickets are available here: Crazy Coqs

More information about Kim Cypher can be found at her website here.


Last modified: July 22, 2021