Bright Young Thing
PUBLISHED: 10:44 31 March 2011 | UPDATED: 19:08 20 February 2013
Up and coming singer Jo Gunnell shares her love of Theydon and aspirations for her own big band...
Up and coming singer Jo Gunnellshares her love of Theydon and aspirations for her own big band
Who are you and what do you do?
I am Jo Gunnell and Im a jazz/soul singer, performing sets around London and Im currently working on my own material.
Where do you live and whatdo you like about it?
Theydon Bois, I love the church, the friendly communityand the pond.
Tell us about your family
My dad is a local builder; mum is a director of research forthe NHS; my sister works in a local hospital, and my brotheris doing an MSc in London.
When did you first start singing?
Ive been singing ever since I could speak but I started learning the technique behind it around 11 years of age at Davenant School where I had singing lessons and joined the choir.
Mr Powell, our music teacher, is a legend. He has been teaching me to play the piano and I feel truly honoured. At 14
I left Davenant to study full time at the Italia Conti performing arts school.
What is the most exciting thing that has happened to you in the past year?
Probably graduating from musical theatre college, Urdang Academy, because I had time to learn and practice the music
I love whilst visiting places like New York and Los Angeles.
I have also been doing regular gigs at the famous Ivy restaurant in London and met a few celebrities along the way.
Who are your influences?
Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald, Julie London, Lauryn Hill, Joss Stone and Jill Scott, to name a few!
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I have just come back from Los Angeles where I recorded some tracks. I was thrilled to get the opportunity so hopefully, in five years time I will have a great album that people love and I will be touring with my own big band.
What are your hobbies?
Besides all aspects of performing I love socialising and keeping active. I love partying with my friends and visiting local clubs.
What makes you relax?
I rarely let myself relax but if necessary I would run a hot bubble bath and wallow with my music. Sometimes I go to the jazz archive in Loughton library; its a great place and David who works there is so helpful.
What makes you smile?
Seeing other people smile and being with my friends and family. I spend hours on the phone and great get vibes from my iPod.
What is your worst habit?
I guess talking too much if that counts! Im also a bit scatty.
What is your favourite song and why?
Stevie Wonder Dont you worry bout a thing because I like dancing around to it to cheer me up.
Do you have a claim to fame?
Ive been lucky to grow up surrounded by successful people like my aunt, Sally Gunnell, who is best known for her massive achievements as an athlete. Winning an Olympic gold medal was fantastic and our whole family were so proud of her. Im best friends with Pixie Lott and a couple of boys from the dance troupe Flawless who are a real inspiration.