Helen Sanderson-White

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Sirens and Other Mysteries

Helen Sanderson-White (born 1977) is a British singer-songwriter and musician from Buckinghamshire. A singer and pianist, Helen has worked in most genres including pop, folk, classical and Contemporary Christian Music, however she is most known for her secular pop, soul and jazz work. With a soprano voice, reviewers have said: "she has a really beautiful tone to her voice, rich and silky…"[1][not in citation given], "a great voice, one that captures your attention, these are songs that want to be listened to…"[2][not in citation given] and "Helen's vocals are smooth and pitch-perfect."[3][not in citation given]

Career[edit]

The daughter of a Baptist minister and a nurse, Helen's music career began at an early age in church. Her first singing performance was when she three years old and by then time she was five, she was learning to play the piano.[4] She began writing in her teens and to date has released five studio albums. She has collaborated with artists from a variety of genres including Liquidscreamer, Nikki Noodles and more recently with renowned folk singer Darren Hayman. Sanderson-White spent a large amount of her childhood performing on local circuits in Kent and Devon and honed her craft as a solo performer.

In 1995 she recorded her first demo with Ted Fletcher which spurred her on to pursue a performing career. At this point she also started teaching singing and piano both privately in and colleges to support her career and has worked with many organisations such as Oxford Youth Choir, Glee Club and Morley College, London. In the mid 1990s she moved to London and took some time out to study Theology at London Bible College. She returned to music and gained a music degree from Middlesex University where she met fellow collaborator, Rachael Forsyth.

She has been described as a purveyor of beautiful, crafted, thought provoking music and "Fresh, beautiful and profound". Her lyrics are sung with a striking purity and clarity. Described by Liquidscreamer as, "Beautiful, with just enough of a slight dark edge", Helen's songs are not afraid to ask some difficult questions, while delivering memorable vocal and instrumental hooks. Described by Cross Rhythms "Finely-crafted pop songs, driven home by little hooks that get under your skin."[5]

Early Work[edit]

Her first album "Conversations With The Heart" was released in June 2004 on an independent label, Houndsville, and was well received by music lovers. Recorded on a tiny budget in a friend's dining room, this was to be the marker of the beginning of Helen's solo career. This then led to her second album "Fallen But Not Fatal" (2006).

In 2007 Helen was challenged by a priest friend to create a contemporary setting of the Latin Mass which he could use with his young people. Out of this "The Sanctus Project" (2010) was born and to date this is used around the world.[6]

Resound Media[edit]

Between 2010 and 2015 she worked with Resound Media and released two EPs, the first being "At Second Glance" which was produced by Andy Baker. From this EP, she had a number one hit with "Do You Seek An Answer" which was number one across the UK and Europe in the New Christian Music chart. This was quickly followed by "Surrounded By Love" which reached number four in the Christian Hot disc chart.

In 2011 Helen won the UK Christian Music Award for "NCM Contemporary Artist (England)"[7] which was presented to her by country music legend, George Hamilton IV.

Helen Sanderson-White, Sheffield, October 2015.jpg

"Sirens and Other Mysteries" was released in 2013 and is a slow burning collection of intensely personal tracks. Unlike her previous records, this EP was solely based around her acoustic piano and vocal work, and was released in to showcase the sound of her live shows. The opening track "Without You" showcases a more soul-influenced style than Helen's previous recordings, featuring some subtle guitar work from Baker that recalls Sade. The EP reached number six in the Louder Than The Music 2013 awards.[8] This EP was supported by a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a music video for "If That's The Way".[9]

Her final recording with Resound Media was the uptempo, sixties sounding single "Close That Door" which was released in January 2016.

2017 Onwards[edit]

From 2017, Helen decided to continue working on demos and throughout the year released songs from The Sketchbook: The Demos. This project showcases the songs in demo form so that the listener can experience the raw development of the track. The style is more intimate and performance based.

Collaborations[edit]

In 2006 Helen's vocals featured on the songs "Ali's Song" and "Jealousy" with Cumbria based dance band, Liquidscreamer.

From 2012 to 2015, Helen worked with British dance music producer Nikki Noodles. Together they co-wrote three singles, "Insane", "I Need A Hallelujah" and "Change The Record".

Helen's session work led her to work with the renowned folk singer-songwriter, Darren Hayman. In 2014, she provided backing vocals for some of his adaptation of William Morris' "Chants for Socialists" album and also performed live with Darren at Union Chapel, London, Kelmscott House and the Wimbledon Book Fest. Helen's voice also features on Darren's latest project, "Thankful Villages 2" which was released in 2017.

Discography[edit]

Year Albums
2004 Conversations With The Heart
2006 Fallen But Not Fatal
2010 The Sanctus Project
Year EPs
2011 At Second Glance
2013 Sirens And Other Mysteries
2017 Sketchbook: The Demos
Year Singles
2012 Insane (with Nikki Noodles)
2013 I Need A Hallelujah (with Nikki Noodles)
2015 Change The Record (with Nikki Noodles)
2016 Close That Door (solo work)
2017 What Am I Meant To Do With This Love? (solo work)
2017 Twenty Eight Days (solo work)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Louder Than The Music - Helen Sanderson-White - Sirens and Other Mysteries". www.louderthanthemusic.com. Retrieved 2016-11-23.
  2. ^ "FATEA - Home". www.fatea-records.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-11-23.
  3. ^ "Today's Video Share: "Close That Door" By Helen Sanderson-White". Women of Substance Radio & Podcast. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  4. ^ BBC. "Introducing .... Helen Sanderson-White". Retrieved 2016-11-29.
  5. ^ "Review: Fallen But Not Fatal - Helen Sanderson-White | Cross Rhythms". www.crossrhythms.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-11-23.
  6. ^ Groom, Phil (2010-09-04). "Rediscovering the Latin Mass: Helen Sanderson-White introduces The Sanctus Project". The Christian Bookshops Blog. Retrieved 2016-11-29.
  7. ^ "About". Helen Sanderson White. 2012-11-06. Retrieved 2016-11-23.
  8. ^ "Louder Than The Music - LTTM Awards 2013 - No. 6: Helen SandersonWhite - Sirens & Other Mysteries". www.louderthanthemusic.com. Retrieved 2016-11-23.
  9. ^ "Helen Sanderson White's New Promotional Push". Kickstarter. Retrieved 2016-11-29.

External links[edit]