Tell us a bit about yourself, starting with, where did you grow up?
Hello! I grew up in the UK. I spent some years in the North of England at school and also spent time as a child in Suffolk, where we had a family home. But my formative years as an artist, in my teens, were spent in central London. I lived in Covent Garden opposite the Coliseum, I used to love listening to the Opera singers warm up in the afternoon! Then a few years ago, I decided to move to Los Angeles, and have spent time here ever since; mostly going between here & London. The balance seems to work really well for me.
Was any one in your family musical? Who got you interested in music?
My father is musical, but never really pursued it more than it being something he enjoys. He has a huge collection of guitars however, and writes songs, lyrics, poems. I’m the only one in the family that has really pursued a career as a musician. My parents have fully encouraged and supported me throughout my life to play music; it’s part of who I am. I don’t remember exactly who got me interested in music, but I do remember, at a young age, seeing someone play the violin and thinking it was absolutely magical. It quite literally struck a cord within me! I also learnt piano, and had singing lessons. I was always singing as a child, always making songs up.
Do you remember what the first record/tape/CD you bought was?
One of the first tapes I bought was a Billie Holiday album on cassette. Soon after that I remember buying a Queen album on CD. I think I was about 8 or 9 when I discovered "Bohemian Rhapsody," I thought it was incredible.
What instrument did you pick up first?
I picked up the violin at the age of seven. I completely fell in love with the instrument, and I was lucky to have a great music teacher in my early years who really inspired me - and a mother that was able to put up with all the practice! Prior to this, I used to play the piano that we had at home; I would sing all day and often sit for hours, playing around writing songs on a small Casio keyboard that I was given by my parents. It had a great rhythm section with all sorts of samples. I’d be keen to get my hands on that keyboard again- I’m curious to know what I would create all these years later! So I think it was the violin that I first picked up…
When did you think you could be professional musician?
Music to me has been some sort of soundtrack, or journal, to my life. I never really imagined being a professional musician because it was so much a part of me that I didn’t see it as a separate entity, just an extension. However, I didn’t really know ‘how’ to pursue it professionally. I didn’t really fit in anywhere, especially in a conservatoire style environment at a music college- I just didn’t think in this way and never could conform to their expectations, especially as a string player. I just knew that this was my way of expressing myself. For a few years, I put the violin down and I went to art school, I never imagined playing again, after spending over a decade learning bow postures techniques, arpeggios, scales and never feeling good enough. Until I then started to be in friends' bands and was gifted an electric violin to be able to play on stage with amplification; since then I never looked back. This changed my world. I also started experimenting with other types of music that allowed me to ‘unlearn’ all the strict Classical techniques I learnt, and this changed the way I felt about playing; it really didn't matter if you got it right or wrong, what mattered was the intention of the sound, the feeling you created, the performance you gave with it and finding your own voice.
Did you have a ‘day job’ while trying to “make it”? If so, what was it?
Well some of you will know that I also work as a photographer, I’m represented by the Ridley Scott Associates group…so if you like, I could say that was my ‘day job.’ But yes, as a teenager and into my early twenties I actually assisted a lot of creatives on shoots in London- Photographers, stylists, art directors. It was fun and a lot of hard work, I met so many great, young artists through assisting, and since that time, watched their careers grow over the years, and collaborated with a lot of them professionally to this day.
How did you meet Nick?
I met Nick through a dear, mutual friend called Alasdair who thought we might get along with each other as we shared so many mutual interests. It turns out he was right!
Were you a Duran Duran fan growing up?
My introduction to the band was with their Bond track ‘A View To A Kill’ at a very young age. I can remember hearing the song and absolutely loved the sound of the synths and then to add to it, simultaneously watching the incredible Grace Jones in the film; what an amazing introduction to the Duran world.
What surprised you the most about him?
Nick’s attention to detail is incredible!! Also, Nick really does listen and hear me as a musician, which makes him a really fantastic collaborator. I’ve really enjoyed our partnership on this project, and am looking forward to the future of Astronomia unfolding as well as my new album release later this year, or early next. You see, so many people don’t really listen. You imagine they do, they think they do, but they don't. We take it for granted , we expect it, it's a given- but no. One of the things I admire about Nick is that he does listen, and as an artist he allows it to shine, give it a platform and grow. It's a rare quality. The fact that Nick is like this doesn’t surprise me, it certainly makes me feel very happy to be working with such a great artist, as that is surprisingly rare.
Why do you think you two work so well together?
We both write music from a very visual, cinematic perspective, and share a huge amount of interests in the arts, photography & music.
How did the idea for ASTRONOMIA come about?
I think Astronomia actually came to us! As we continued to write these pieces of music, sending them back and forth to one another, it grew into this vast project that we never imagined it would be! It allowed us the space to dream during such turbulent times in the world. We realised that we had created our own universe through musical notation, a parallel existence.
Tell us about the process of working with Nick while you are in Los Angeles and he is London
We both write tracks for one another and send them back and forth, editing and adding. It has been a great way to work, and an example of how things can be in the future. There have been challenges that one would expect to arise when you are not in the studio together- for example, mixing has taken longer than normal; it would have been great to be in the studio together during this process but, we overcame it.
There are 4 albums in this collection and one, THE FALL OF SATURN, has already come out. What can we expect from the other 3?
All of the albums have different characteristics and themes around the same concept. If you enjoyed "The Fall of Saturn," I’m very certain you will enjoy the rest! I can’t give too much away. Let’s call them the other chapters to the Astronomia story…
We ask everyone who participates in our Q&As this same last question- what's your favourite Duran Duran video?
Wendy is nice enough to give a fan community member a signed CD of her last release. Keep an eye on your email as we will contact the winner!