Take 5 : Helena Debono

Helena Debono chats about love and life after lockdown

Helena has been captivating audiences with her emotional renditions of Jazz standards and her own original music since she was a teenager. Her natural, effortless vocals have already received acclaim amongst the UK Jazz scene and leave audiences wanting to hear more.

Classically trained and enjoying all genres of music, it was whilst attending the Arts Educational Schools in London that she discovered her love of jazz and songwriting. She has performed at many venues including Ronnie Scotts, Pizza Express Soho, Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Manchester Jazz Festival and many more.

Helena graduated with a BA (hons) first class degree in Jazz Music from Leeds College of Music.  She has performed at many venues in Leeds including the Brudenell Social Club and Hifi.

Since returning to London, Helena became the female vocalist for The National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO), during this time she was interviewed by Emma Smith for BBC Radio 3 “Jazz Now”. In the Summer of 2019 Helena was thrilled to perform with ‘The London Gay Big Band’ at London Pride in Trafalgar Square. She has also performed with ‘The Puppini Sisters’.

When did you realise that you wanted to be a music artist? What or who has inspired you?

I always did Musical Theatre and sang as a child but when I was 14 my music teacher introduced me to Jazz. That’s when I knew I wanted to be a music artist. I always knew that performing and singing would be in my life one way or another but I am so grateful to my teacher for showing me the great Jazz artists and for encouraging me to pursue this career.

Who, living or dead, would you dream of collaborating with?

I would have loved to collaborate with Amy Winehouse as she is such a huge inspiration to me. I love the way she so easily mixed Jazz with Soul and Pop and created such an exciting and unique style.

Tell us about your single ‘Little Life’ – what is the song about?

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 whats really going on.

Tell us five things you love about the city/town you live in – London – and why……

1- I love how busy it is and the hustle and bustle of being in Central London.

2- I love the music scene, there is always a gig or a jam night happening.

3- Summer in London is so much fun. Sitting in the park all day until late with some friends is just the best.

4- I love how every street is different, you can be in the middle of Covent Garden and then take a turn and you’re in a super quiet back street. I love that.

5- I love how London is so diverse and full of different cultures. You can meet so many people with inspiring and unique voices and stories.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

Like everyone else, I am most looking forward to getting back some of the simple pleasures I enjoyed in pre-Covid life. It has definitely been one of the strangest years but I am really excited about releasing my album and getting to perform live again! I really have missed the buzz of being with the band and connecting to an audience.

You can find more information about Helena Debono at...