America has Coachella and we have Glastonbury. Our tiny island in comparison doesn't have a multitude of pro session vocalists like the States have which makes doing Glastonbury so special for the few that do. Myself, Phebe Edwards and Bim Amoako got to perform on the Pyramid Stage with Kylie Minogue, Years and Years, Bastille and High Contrast. Here we collectively share our thoughts and are supportive of our achievements and our peers; namely Olivia Williams of The Music Confectionary. Olivia arranged the vocals and curated the choir for Stormzy (a formidable woman at the helm) truly a historic moment and another first having a black U.K rapper headline Glastonbury with an epic creative team working with him!
This year's Glastonbury featured surprise collaborations, epic moving performances and poignant speeches at a time when society seems to be so disjointed. Glastonbury has a special way of bringing a melting pot of personalities and artistry together like no other. It is for these reasons amongst so many others that make it a privilege as a vocalist to have the pleasure of working alongside artists on this festival.
Glastonbury has always been a pioneering festival where breakthrough and established artists alike are truly allowed to express, introduce and re-introduce their art fully! 2019's edition of Glasto really didn't disappoint.
Here are our thoughts, grab yourself a cup as we pour the tea on Glastonbury ;-)
Bim Amoako at Glastonbury with Bastille & High Contrast
Vocal style: Fantasia meets Aretha
Glastonbury is a big deal. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.
Yes, there are bigger and possibly much more glamorous festivals but Glastonbury is a world famous institution and for many artists, a stage that they have only dreamt of playing previously so when you get the chance to be part of it, you should really, REALLY enjoy it.
This year I performed with both Bastille on The Pyramid Stage aka Main Stage and Drum and Bass legend High Contrast at Shangri-La, an area which was described to me as every nightclub you’ve ever heard of in one place!
I had never been to Glastonbury before simply because the idea of being in a field for three days without close proximity to clean sanitation makes me want to weep but it exceeded my expectations in many ways. It’s a massive sprawling beast of a festival with something for almost everyone so you really need the full amount of time to get even close to exploring all it offers. When you are essentially working you can only get a taste of it.
Doing double duty meant two different rounds of rehearsals. Every Bastille show set list is slightly different which has a knock on effect on movement and positioning so separate vocal rehearsals were needed to mesh our six voices together beautifully and cover all the options. This was followed by a couple of days of intense production rehearsals.
High Contrast was a little different. I have been working with both camps for over two and a half years but as a lead vocalist know the show so well that I actually missed the specific rehearsal but was trusted to carry it off.
Friday belonged to Bastille and Saturday was for HC so two separate occasions to feel the nerves!
The best way to deal with nerves for me is to be well prepared.
Hydration is absolutely key, warmups cannot be missed and you have to be almost over familiar with the material so that you give yourself the opportunity to just concentrate on enjoying the very surreal moments that are about to take place.
Thankfully both performances were extremely well received and frankly amazing to be part of.
There are always things that I would change for myself performance wise as I am highly self critical but over time I have learnt that once the performance is done, you should simply make note of the adjustments you need to make and let the rest go. Over analysing can be more of a hinderance than a path to growth if not kept in check.
So in short, I watched Stormzy’s brilliant history making headline set and got to see the legend that is Lauryn Hill in the flesh all while singing for approximately 100,000 people during a rare hot English summer.
Glastonbury was a big deal.
Phebe Edwards with Years and Years
Vocal Style: Whitney Houston, Minnie Ripperton
In all the years of my experience in singing in the industry, I have NEVER sung at Glastonbury. It was something that I had on my personal ‘singers bucket list’!
My rehearsal period was fun and intense! The energy was high as we were all aware of the significance of the show and what it meant in history. Everyone was excited and we all worked really hard to ensure we were ready!
In all the years of my experience in singing in the industry, I have NEVER sung at Glastonbury. It was something that I had on my personal ‘singers bucket list’! So when it came up in our itinerary I saw it as an answer to a personal request that I had put out into the atmosphere!
Glastonbury was breathtaking. I loved every moment. From seeing all my fellow musician friends back stage to appreciating them on stage and feeling everyone’s excitement and sharing the same unspoken energy was exhilarating!
Our show came with the same vibe. Locking eyes with my colleagues on stage shared the same sentiment of ‘wow look at this! We are actually at Glastonbury making history!!!!!’
We were well received by the crowd and experiencing thousands of people roaring our songs with us was nothing short of amazing!
I would love to go to Glastonbury as a punter, however I think it would take a lot of preparation! I’m a hygiene freak, so I think I could survive ‘glamping’ rather than camping! Lol
Who knows, one day!
The fact that Glastonbury is such an iconic festival means so much. In my understanding it is the UK equivalent, or in some ways bigger than America’s Coachella!
The Pyramid Stage has been graced with the worlds most iconic stars. To have been a part of that is the most amazing feeling.
I had a little pre show nerves, and when ever I feel like that before any show my go to thing to do is have a cup of tea! In this case I don’t think I was any more nervous than other shows, but I was definitely mega excited.
This excitement was accompanied by an array of upbeat songs in the dressing room with dancing and singing along and getting ready for the show!
I only got to watch the Kylie show from the green room before we had to go and what a show it was! It was by far extremely entertaining and inspiring. The vocals and dancing was absolutely fantastic, and the throwback of some of the songs she performed definitely got me reliving some nostalgic moments. Kylie looked and sounded absolutely amazing!
In all honesty, for my 1st experience of Glastonbury, I can’t actually say that there is anything I would change. I loved every moment! I feel we did a great job and brought the most energy and excitement throughout our performance and became unified in our delivery! Can’t wait to do it all again!!!
Adetoun Anibi with Kylie Minogue
Vocal Style: Leona Lewis
Kylie held on to the vision of performing at Glastonbury all these years when once upon a time the opportunity seemed to have been taken from her. I'm glad the universe had other plans, her vision was brought to life and I was lucky to be part of it.
I had woken up on the morning of Glastonbury with swollen neck glands, something I had never experienced before which for me highlighted my level of nerves!! I had done everything in the lead up whilst touring to not get ill and on the day it mattered most I was tested. This is where a positive mental attitude had to come in. I just kept telling myself I'm healed and capable to do all things after popping some very strong Ibuprofen lol!
Kylie is renowned for putting on shows that are like movies and this was no different! We had been rehearsing for weeks and performing our set in the lead up, tweaking along the way to make it something truly special. I had been working on my cardio too to keep up with the pace of the show. Abbie Osmon and I had the fun but challenging task of dissecting and recording PWL (Stock Aitken Waterman) songs like "Never Too Late" and "Put Your Hand On Your Heart". Let's just say we were truly stretched! Those songs amongst so many others in Kylie's collection are genius for close harmonies! We also had to learn choreography and staging. I truly respect the dancers because they can pick up steps just as quick as we can pick up parts and harmonies. When I entered their world it really pushed me and it's apparent that these days oohs and ahh's aren't enough. Vocalist's have to be triple threats!
Its cliche but team work does make the dream work and as a collective unit-band, crew, dancers, creative we all care so much and pulled together! It was a steaming hot day and the stage was scorching! However we had rehearsed costume changes until we just couldn't get it wrong and I love that the show chops and changes and we can be a big part choreography/costume changes as vocalists so the incredible dancers don't get to have all the fun ;-)
Watching back I couldn't believe the crowd!!! 3.9 million viewers as well as the 100,000 plus in the audience it was crazy trying to take it all in! I've done V Festival as a punter but I saw that nothing would compare to being a punter at Glastobury! I'd have to glamp for sure but I'd be totally up for seeing all the diverse artists and discovering new music.
My journey started with Kylie back in 2012 and I've learned so much from her ever since so getting to do Glastonbury with her was special. Even more so because it nearly didn't happen for her. Kylie held on to the vision of performing at Glastonbury all these years when once upon a time the opportunity seemed to have been taken from her. I'm glad the universe had other plans, her vision was brought to life and I was lucky to be part of it.
I hope that reading this has inspired you! If you have ever dreamed of performing at Glastonbury it could happen just be in preparation because you never know when or how the opportunity will arise. Carry on working on your craft and feel free to reach out to us ambassadors and ask questions we are here to help!
Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.