Multi-talented singer and pianist Ian Shaw spoke to SJM editor Charlie Anderson.
Are you all ready for 2018?
“I’m like a schoolboy. As soon as I get my diary bought from WH Smiths, I think I can start my life again. Nothing exists until I’ve got my big red diary.”
Are you happy with what you’ve achieved in 2017?
“I think so, yeah. The album was a reflection of two and a half years of my life, meeting great people.
On my albums I always try very hard to be relevant and to write about things that people might be interested in rather than just singing songs about moons and dunes. I think I’ve had quite a good year, apart from an eye operation which wasn’t good. But god bless the NHS!”
You’re appearing in January at the South Coast Jazz Festival with Liane Carroll. You’ve worked with her a lot and you’re both good friends.
“We’re good friends. We both have a South Coast connection. She lives in Hastings and I’ve got a place down in Kent. I’ve known Liane many, many years since we met on a European tour of experimental music with singers. It’s always great fun to do a show with her because we have the same ‘musical muscle’. And Claire Martin, who is curating the whole festival, is also a great friend. We’re all contemporaries in the jazz, blues, soul singing field.”
So the concert is called ‘Latin Flavours’.
“Yeah. The whole latin thing is a massive, broad church of music. We’re going to take a lot of existing songs written by the likes of Antonio Carlos Jobim and we’re also going to do some contemporary songs in a more latin style. Pop songs maybe. A bit of sunshine for murky, South Coast January! I don’t know if they’re going to be doing mojitos at the bar. Who knows…”
What else do you have planned for next year?
“I’m touring my new album, Shine Sister Shine. The title track was co-written with Tanita Tikaram, the pop singer. We start touring that in 2018 all over the world, taking in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Canada, USA and of course UK and Europe.”
“I continue to support Side By Side With Refugees, a charity that I’m really proud to be a part of, along with Claire and Liane. We all recognise that by the end of next year there will be 75 million refugees in the world and we use music to try and make people aware of that, and raise money for it. That’s quite a big passion of mine. In fact, a lot of the album is about displacement and about kindness.”
“One tune is called Carry On World starring everyone, which is all about these amazing women that I’ve met in the last few years, working in the voluntary sector. There’s the title track, Shine Sister Shine, which is a tribute to all the amazing women artists, campaigners, writers of the world. And there’s another one called Keep Walking, which is a tribute to a friend of mine who is a young Eritrean woman who had to leave her son behind in her country in order to escape persecution.”
Liane Carroll and Ian Shaw perform at the South Coast Jazz Festival on Sunday 21st January, 2018 at The Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham-by-Sea.
[Photo of Ian Shaw by Natacha Horn]