So, how many Jamie Cullum fans watched the amazing scenes from this year’s Royal Wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and how many of you were swept along during the service by the amazing rendition of ‘Stand By Me’?
Now, how many of you know the link between that incredible moment in history and our very own Jamie Cullum?
Aisha Sheerena & Shanna Goodhead were part of The Kingdom Choir who delivered that unforgettable performance, but 48-hours before were also standing by Jamie on the stage at his ‘Pub In The Park’ concert.Since then they have been extremely busy providing the backing vocals on Jamie’s current tour.
We spoke with Aisha & Shanna to get the scoop on that Royal Wedding performance, and also to find out what it’s like touring with Jamie Cullum.
Welcome to you both, thank you for taking the time out to talk to me today.
JCF: Obviously we need to talk about the day that recently made history, which had an estimated audience of 1.9 billion, The Royal Wedding for Prince Harry & Meghan Markle. You performed “Stand By Me” with The Kingdom Choir (which was beautiful by the way) what was that like?
SHANNA: It was amazing, a very surreal experience.
AISHA: I was very emotional, at one point during the ceremony I wanted to cry. I still can’t believe we were a part of it, to be honest.
JCF: How did performing at the Royal Wedding come about? And did you meet any of the Royal family?
AISHA: A friend of ours Bim was contacted by Clarence House to curate a choir. She contacted the both of us separately in March, asking if we were available to do a gig on 19th May in Windsor. We both said yes. But had no idea until the morning we went to Windsor (for our first rehearsal) that it was the royal wedding. We were all sworn to secrecy, so we were so lucky to have each other to talk to about it.
JCF: You performed with Jamie at Pub In The Park in Marlow literally 48 hours before the wedding. How did the two performances & preparation differ from each other?
SHANNA: There’s was no difference at all because they are both on such a high level that they both needed just as much attention
AISHA: We had two full day rehearsals with Jamie and the band and two evening rehearsals with the choir for the royal wedding, so preparation didn’t differ much. With regards to performance, we are able to be free and perform and really feel the music with Jamie, whilst the royal wedding, of course, is very formal… so no jumping up and down like we all do during Mixtape. Haha
JCF: With festival season well and truly underway, fans of Jamie are really enjoying hearing his new music. Which Jamie Cullum song do you enjoy performing the most and why?
SHANNA: Next Year Baby because I can relate to so many lyrics in that song. It also has a feeling in it that can’t be verbally expressed only physically. It takes me on a journey one moment I’m emotional thinking about ‘call my nan every Sunday’ the next I want to twerk my booty like I’m in the club, I also all of a sudden ‘think’ I know how to salsa looooool..
AISHA: This is so hard, as Jamie has so many tunes. But I think I’d have to go for Mankind. I absolutely love performing it, the intimacy. Also with how the world is at the moment… We really shouldn’t write off Mankind.
JCF: Tell us how you landed the job in Jamie’s band?
SHANNA: Our friends Baby and Nym previously did the Bv’s and referred me and my sister.
AISHA: Our friends Naomi and Baby who sung with Jamie at Glastonbury last year referred us and we are so thankful, as we are having the most amazing time.
JCF: How did you both get into singing?
SHANNA: I started singing from the age of 5 my sister Aisha always used to ask me to sing to everyone, which made me love singing even more.
AISHA: We come from quite a Musical family, our uncle and aunt sing and we have another aunt who was a dancer in stomp in the West End, so we were always around music. I actually can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to sing.
JCF: Who are your musical heroes?
SHANNA: Faith Evans she has a sound that just like Jamie is timeless, they both throughout their careers have been able to vocally stay absolutely amazing live!! And that’s one thing I take very seriously. It’s one thing to be able to be an amazing recording artist but it’s another level to completely take people’s breath away each time you perform live.
AISHA: I love Erykah Badu. Her style and vibe. She is so timeless!
JCF: Your harmonies are superb, above and below the melody. How difficult is it to apply such skills with an artist like Jamie, who…mixes it up, without, (it seems) 🙂 warning anyone? Do you secretly wanna give him a nudge and say, hey, hang on fella?
SHANNA: Thank you so much 🙂 no way we love it, Jamie is such a genius to be able to be a part of those moments always feels good. Also, me and my sister have sung together in so many different spontaneous moments that we are used to it. We work together and there is a vibe that we just feel as we are in the moment.
AISHA: I couldn’t have put it better than Shanna has.
JCF: Do you have any creative influence over the harmonies and backing vocals? Jamie embraces many forms of music, as we all know, and champions all musicians. Does this help with your own creative input?
AISHA: As you know all of the guys in the band sing so it was a matter of us adding additional harmonies and vocals. Also, on the new song Mankind, we had a lil jam session to create something special. which was really exciting.
JCF: Many backing singers, given their wide skill set often “hear” the imperfections of a particular song. Would you feel comfortable in raising this, after all, isn’t perfection in a song, what everyone strives for?
AISHA: I think perfection is subjective and with me personally I find flaws and imperfections beautiful.
JCF: Can you tell us what it’s like touring & performing with Jamie? (I bet there are lots of laughter and pranks)
SHANNA: 100% a lot of laughter and plenty of banter!! A lot of knowledge too, I’ve learnt a lot from the guys. I’ve gained a lot of inspiration from all of them, they all inspire me to do better with regards to my journey in music. Being around them is such an honour they are so down to earth.
AISHA: Completely! I have heard so many horror stories about tour life, so feel so blessed to be with Jamie and the whole band. My stomach muscles well and truly get a full-on workout from all the giggles.
JCF: What’s next for you both? (And we’d love to hear all about it in the future)
SHANNA: At the moment we are hoping Jamie likes us enough looool to have us continue on his musical journey with him. I will also be featuring on a project the choir from the Royal wedding has coming up. I’m also trying to make time for my own musical journey and discover myself and where I belong vocally and where I want to take my musical career.
AISHA: I really look forward to hopefully more dates with Jamie and the Band, and am really excited to be part of his new album… I’m using a bit of law of attraction there to make that happen!! Haha. Besides that I have a few projects I’m working on at the moment, I also will be reviving my personal YouTube channel and getting together with my sisters again.
Thanks again, Aisha & Shanna for taking part in this interview, we look forward to hearing more about your travels around Europe with Jamie!
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I have been a Jamie Cullum fan for over 10 years. My passion is creating a place to keep fans connected & kept up to date with the latest news.
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