At His & Hers, we get to go to some of the best gigs! And we get to meet the loveliest of people. Calli Hughes has quite a reputation. She has a beautiful voice, with an impressive range; is a gifted actor, and performs with a great band.
We interviewed Calli, discovered her childhood ambitions and enduring achievements. In her own words:
“I have wanted to perform for as long as I can remember! I have always been able to sing and, as a child, would stand in front of my dressing table using my hairbrush as a pretend microphone and sing. I used to experiment with different sounds by singing in echoing corridors with natural reverb.
“I never really wanted to be an actress myself but I loved teaching drama and directing dramatic performances… I went on to study for a Diploma from LAMDA. I enjoyed every minute of it and found it really enriched my teaching. I also taught at LIPA for three years. Being a member of Bev Clarke’s ‘Hand in Hand Theatre’ greatly enhanced my performance technique and gave me more confidence.
“It is very important to support people who wish to become performers, but also I feel the Performing Arts are vital to all round development of confidence and self-expression. Pupils need to understand that ‘Performing Arts’ is a very competitive industry, and talent, as well as a lot of luck, play their part. I always feel it’s a good idea to have a ‘back up’ just in case.
“Music brought myself and Mark (Calli’s husband) together as we were in the same band and, I needed a lift to gigs. It went from there! Mark is the driving force behind the music we create and coordinates the musicians. I have been friends with Mike Bennett, the drummer for a very long time. (He was the drummer of my very first band!) Mike Hughes, Mark and I have been performing as a trio for many years. Paul Tolley and Brian ‘Saxophone’ Jones joined us for ‘Songs of the Poets’ and ‘Heart of a Woman’
“’Hand in Hand Theatre’ has given me a chance to perform different styles of music, the highlight being the opportunity to sing on the RSC stage in Stratford upon Avon. I was part of the cast of ‘A Winter’s Tale’ which we performed as part of the ‘Open Stages’ venture. The performance has been a highlight of my career so far. ”
“Rehearsal time is quite intense as we approach a concert, both vocally and to ensure all runs well with the band. I draw inspiration from many sources but mainly I love songs which are memorable and leave the listener with an enriched experience. Favourite performers include Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Kate Bush, and Stevie Nicks. I also love Melanie. She has such an unusual voice which is what inspires me most about an artist. Her version of ‘Ruby Tuesday’ by the Rolling Stones’ has never been equalled in my eyes.
“The lyrics have always been fundamentally important to me (probably because I was also an English teacher with a strong love of teaching poetry!) Lyrics always stay with me. The material is mainly dependent on my choices but the band may help to influence the style of the performance.
“Making a difference in the world gets me up in the morning! We’re not here long. All the better if that difference helps other people too! I feel I have been blessed with a good voice so it’s a good feeling to use it to help others who are having a difficult time… a sort of ‘paying it forward’! Claire House is close to my heart. I have worked with children all my life. We have also raised money for ‘Hope Charity’ for the homeless of Liverpool which is also important to us.”
His & Hers has been at both ‘Songs of the Poets’ and ‘Heart of a Woman’ concerts at the Floral Pavilion and loved both, and aside from Calli’s gorgeous voice, this is one talented band, with mesmerising saxophone and guitar. My favourites? I love Calli’s version of Sandy Denny’s ‘Who knows where the time goes’ and her (and the band’s) version of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Dance me to the end of love’.
Details of future performances:
- Songs of the Poets. West Kirby Arts Centre. Friday 20th September 2019
- Heart of a Woman. The Big Room, Heswall Hall. Saturday 9th November 2019
- Songs of the Poets. The Williamson Art Gallery, Birkenhead. 22nd November 2019
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