I run with wolves (and how far I’ve come)

I grew up in a mixed heritage working class family, surrounded by the belief that music was not a realistic career and for years this belief shaped my life and decisions (though not always my spare time). I felt empty but generally accepted it. Then while working in retail, in my 20s, I started a bedroom project with my cousin just for fun and we ended up getting a youth project grant to record an album! But the studio went bust and the funders went out of business. We lost the album we’d nearly finished and I thought that was my dream was over, feeling like it was a sign to give up.

A few years later my nan saw an advert for a community newsletter job and I ended up working at a local community media centre on a youth magazine. Some years later the company started more arts projects and a music project and built a music studio in the back of the centre. I started meeting other artists and musicians and being asked to help on tracks (’cause they heard I used to sing). I started getting dragged to gigs (despite my fears) to sing for rappers and DJs and they encouraged me to get back to making my own music.

I spent 10 years juggling community work by day, writing and recording more and more at evenings and weekends (around having a family) writing and gigging the night scene in Bristol – and sometimes there was overlap like community festivals and creative projects at my local community centre.

Slowly I began getting paid gigs and commissions, local radio play and media/city recognition and even an arts council grant and then recommended for a composing project with schools. I’d also just got a long freelance gig running a network of community creatives, advocating for community-led culture and the idea that an artist can come from anywhere.

I’m now a freelance creative, doing a mix of songwriting commissions and contracts and performances, public speaking on community led action and creativity, and looking forward to more projects that help others be creative both for the joy and the potential careers.

I feel like I’ve reached both a milestone and a point to grow to the next stage in my career and life. So for International Women’s Month I’ve released a new song (today in fact! March 10th 2023). This song signifies for me the moment I felt I had become a woman after ten years of making music. It’s called Run With Wolves and is inspired by the book Woman Who Run With The Wolves and my friend Catherine.

I #runwithwolves because I run free, I follow my heart, I love the night sky, I protect my pack. Do you #runwithwolves ? and why?

Also available on many of the usual music sites – some links here


My new album is coming later this year. The last few tracks are being finished off. I have some exiting new collaborations but what excites me most is the story behind the whole album.

In East Asia dragons are like the heroes bringing good things to the people, unlike in western culture where they are a monster to be slain (apparently slayed isn’t a word?).

My dad is from Kowloon, next to Hong Kong Island, the literal translation for Kowloon in Chinese is NINE DRAGONS. I think maybe because there is a large wall there with 9 dragons (there are walls and screens with this art on them in many places too by the looks of google).

I looked up these dragons but I didn’t personally connect with the qualities of these specific nine dragons. So I came up with nine qualities that I and (I think) others journey through in order to become their best self and achieve their true potential – both in purpose and talent/skill they have to give to the world.

So on the album there will be 9 tracks. Each song brings forth a dragon. The Dragon brings you a quality. Through singing along, playing, watching, etc you will gain the power of that dragon.

I’m just finalising the last few songs and qualities, but at the moment it looks like this:

1. Voices – Self Discovery/Purpose
2. Dark Idea – Ambition/Determination
3. Superhuman – Self Belief / Self Love
4. The Lost Ones – Bravery/Strength
5. Enough – Resilience
6. Break the Rules – Tenacity
7. Anything – Gratitude
8. Gonna Be – Faith
9. Heart of a Dragon – Courage

I’ve self funded/done the writing, recording and production, plus some great collaborations. Now all I have to decide is do is try and crowdfund/preorder to get physical/CDs done? What is the future of the album if you’ve no CD player and nothing to hold? And what dragon do I need to bring forth in order to know the answer!!??

[Cover art Bart Blazejewski]

Just keep swimming

Have you heard Dory from Finding Nemo, she says just keep swimming, right?
And  that’s what I keep telling myself at the moment.

You see I’ve been ‘on the grind’ for 9 years as a solo artist, probably only got decent in recent years and now I am super proud of my album Empress and the event I put on (video below). I’ve had a emotional dip after this festival, but people say that’s normal after all the build up. And after some really supportive chats with various people lately I’m like ready to conquer the world again!

But if you are trying to conquer something, whether it’s big or small I want to tell you not to give up. I need people to tell me that often!

I wrote my first song when I was 7, I can still sing it today and it was about my dolly: “Oh baby Anna how I love you so, and when I see you I rock you to and fro”. I wrote about monsters in a jungle!? in early senior school:”Danger danger, run away, Danger danger, don’t let them get you any day (repeat)” and later in my teens: “Well I’ll love you forever if you stay with me tonight, oh I’ll love you forever if you treat me right.”
The melodies and lyrics got slightly better each year, even better when I learned how to play an instrument, even better when I actual dedicated time and believed in myself and had actually lived a life to talk about.

I went through various bands I tried to start, and was always the last one standing. I stopped music during uni only to sing at our final ball and regretting those 3 years I’d stopped (though I did co-host a radio show). I started writing at home when my daughter was little (I had her at uni). On return home my cousin let on she could sing only for me to drag her into a duo with me. 5 years later,  we had many demo songs, one lost album after three years of recording only for the studio to go bust and us not have our files, and she had a baby and decided to take a break. I’d thought like the world was telling me to just give it up! – But I was dragged back into the studio and on stage by rapper friends and they said why don’t I just be a solo artist?

I went from my family telling me I sounded like a cat when I insisted on performing to the family at various parties as a child, to performing at O2 Academy Bristol and celebrating my 3rd solo album (after 3 solo EPs) this year. From tape recordings to studio recordings. From making people screw up their faces (age 5) to making people smile. I was not born good at writing or singing or anything. I just keep working at it because my heart calls me to do that, and that’s all you have to do if you have a dream deep in your heart, keep going, you can do it! And enjoy the journey, ’cause it’s probably a long one!

There’s so much more I could say, and I’m sure I will later, but for now, my point? I suppose I’m telling myself and I’m sharing this message to you, like my friends and supporters shared with me this month: Don’t give up, or as I like to wiggle and sing to myself impersonating Dory ‘ just keep swimming’

So yeah, I did this, what’s next for me, who knows! (But I better start my next vision plan now!)

To hear my song FIRE all about following your dreams, listen to it on my new album Empress on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon and more.

To keep in touch and get a free song subscribe to my emails (the free song is currently ‘Fire’ btw! – depending on when you read this of course!)