What is your name?
My name is Helena Debono
What is your genre of music?
My music is a mixture of jazz/pop/soul. I guess some would say Neo-soul.
Give us a little bio about you.
I grew up in London with my mum. I pretty much came out of the womb singing and dancing so my mum took me to dance and singing classes from a very early age. I went to a little primary school and was always getting in trouble for talking too much or singing when I should be doing my spellings. I joined a Musical Theatre group when I was 6 and performed in lots of shows around England. I then attended performing arts school before studying Jazz at University. Since then, I have been performing with many bands across the UK, including National Youth Jazz Orchestra and have been focussing on my own music.
What made you go into music?
I have always loved music and singing and was initially drawn to the performing arts/musical theatre. However, at fourteen, a teacher at my school introduced me to Jazz and I fell in love with Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Etta James etc and realised I wanted a career in Jazz.
Who are your influences?
I have been influenced by many artists over the years but the ones that seem to keep resonating with me over and over again are Amy Winehouse, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Etta James and Lianne La Havas. However, as an artist, I think its incredibly important to keep learning and to let your list of influences grow.
Are you a signed?
I am not currently signed but hopefully in the future. I have really enjoyed making this record without a label as I have learned so much in the process.
Your new single ‘Little Life’ is out, tell us more about the single.
I released the single last Friday (12th March 2021). I am so incredibly proud of it. It’s my first ever release and it really was such an amazing journey watching it grow from being on a page in my notebook to being something that I can now share with so many people.
What is the meaning behind the single?
The single, ‘Little Life,’ was inspired by the book ‘A Little Life’ by Hanya Yanagihara. Yanagihara’s writing inspired me to reflect on my own past relationships and that of my friends. Sometimes, everything looks great on the surface but you never know what’s really going on.
Who did you work with on the single?
I wrote ‘Little Life’ with my guitarist Nick Fitch. We then got the band in, including Joe Lee (bass), Jamie Safir (keys) and Luke Tomlinson (drums), who all brought their own ideas to it. Then my producer Al Lawson, who is amazing, put his own spin on it!
Describe the track in two words.
Romantic and sad.
What was the writing and recording process like?
The writing and recording process was long but worthwhile. Nick and I wrote the song and then only went into the studio about 5/6 months later to record it with the band. We spent 3 days in the studio and then we were meant to go back the following week but the UK went into lockdown due to Covid19. We had to wait until restrictions were eased to complete the recording but in hindsight this time was so beneficial as it gave me the space to really think about what we needed to add or change.
Will we see an EP or Album and if so, what can we expect from it?
Yes, the album is coming out later on this year and I am so so excited for this release. You can expect jazzy, soul, pop goodness. Lots of emotions.
What else can we expect in Early 2021?
Well, I did a livestream from Ronnie Scott’s last week which is now available on YouTube. We were previewing some of the tracks from my upcoming album and also playing some of my favourite songs. You can definitely expect lots of new music and hopefully more live gigs (Covid dependent).
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
In 5 years, I see myself writing and recording more of my own music, hopefully performing with my band, collaborating with more artists and touring my own music. Manifesting for a Grammy!!
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
You can’t please all the people all the time.”
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Eyelashes, lipstick, lemon/ginger/honey tea, a toothbrush and of course… the lyrics!!