Yorkshire Coast Gigs - A Community Interest Company

 About  Support & Advertise  Buy us a Cuppa

Laura Welburn

Taking time out from preparing for the Top Secret Blues Festival next week and for a gig in Redcar that very evening with the Tom Townsend Blues Band and TC & the Moneymakers, I meet Laura in the Restaurant @ SJT. We begin with a summary of the various bands she is a part of.  "To start with, I joined Soul Rida about five years ago as the lead singer. Nick and Lisa in the band are brother and sister and have been together as a group for years in some shape or form since they were very young – they were doing their first gigs when I was being born! Soul Rida is such a good experience for me, and I've kind of grown up watching Lisa playing saxophone since she was in Hamps Tramps. She's been a really big influence on me, watching her up on stage since I was tiny! 

I'm also part of the Tom Townsend Blues Band, and often sing with the Paul Tilley Trio, which is Tom on drums, Paul on keys and Dave Kemp on sax. It was with another band Tom's in, The Groovesocks, that I got into all that about three years ago – they were playing a gig at the Hayburn Wyke that I went to, and I just asked if I could get up and sing a song with them. Tom had never heard me sing before, but Julia (Wray, saxophonist) had, she'd been a judge in a Scarborough's Got Talent competition I'd taken part in when I was a bit younger. After hearing me sing, Tom invited me to the Blues Club and things grew from there.

I go to gigs and open mics most nights, I just love it, seeing others perform and getting up myself. But I was definitely quite shy at school, and singing brought me out of myself. John Morgan, the Gospel teacher at Scalby School, he really encouraged me when he heard me sing, so that built my confidence."

Laura's cousin Ben is also a musician, currently on the road with 'CASH', a Johnny Cash tribute. Laura tells me they were in a band together when they were younger, Free Spirit, and that it was great experience for a young fifteen year old getting into the performing scene. I enquire as to what, if any, tribute act she might love to do should the opportunity arise. "Not a tribute act as such, but I'd love to do something like a celebration of vintage Ike & Tina Turner! I love doing those songs at Blues Club, 'You Shoulda Treated Me Right' and 'Fool in Love'... Brilliant. When I was younger I remember going to Murray's Bar too, and there was a Commitments band on – I just loved it, thought it was the best thing ever! It was a big inspiration for me."

Discussing longer term plans, Laura explains she is on the Performing Musician course at Westwood right now. "Technically I'm a mature student, I went straight into work from school but now seemed like a good time to get some formal training. It's a really good course; the college has just won a lot of awards and Westwood has been accepted to do the Level 4 Performing Musician course in future so that's really good... I think when I finish in June I want to be looking more towards the Blues Scene with Tom and Paul and those guys, I really enjoy that. We're going to try and go to perform at more festivals this year if we can. See what comes of that."

This of course leads on to the Top Secret Blues Festival about to take place, organised by Scarborough Blues Club. It's the first 'Top Secret' Blues Festival, though it's the third festival put on by the club. She explains that it's partly because it's quite limited numbers that it's billed as 'Top Secret' but also that there might be some unadvertised surprises in store for the audience too, especially at the jam sessions.  "Personally, I'm excited to see Jo Harman, she's a rising star on the blues scene, a singer who's really getting well known, so it will be good to see her stamp on things. I'm on during Saturday afternoon, and later on in the day she'll be on. I can't wait."

For more information on the Top Secret Blues Festival (19th-24th March 2013) based at Sigma, underneath The Cask Inn & Club, Cambridge Terrace, Scarborough, please go to www.scarboroughbluesclub.co.uk or contact Mark Horsley on 07956 925 925.


Laura's Facebook Page

Soul Rida