The only thing better than singing is more singing
― Ella Fitzgerald
Confessions of a Singin Hinn...
In the car… In the shower… Washing the dishes… Making dinner… Walking to anywhere… Playing with my ferrets… On stage… While I’m working… In my dreams.
I’m always singing. I’d be lost without it.
Yep, I’m Hannah and I’m addicted to singing.
Singing has been a constant in my life. It’s part of me, just as much as my Northumbrian roots.
There’s always a little song sizzling away in my head or out loud. Just like a Singing Hinny – the Northumbrian griddle scone, named for the song it ‘sings’ as it sizzles in the pan.
And, of course, that’s the reason I chose ‘Singin’ Hinn’ as my business name back in 2016.
Since then, I’ve clocked up over 1000 hours as a singing teacher, with more than 200 students across the UK – and I even have 1 in the USA!
(That means I’m an international singing teacher, right?)
Did you know?
‘Hinny’ is also a term of endearment here in the North East of England, and I’m told I ‘endear’ myself to my students with my friendly, fun and honest approach.
How it all began...
Music has been a friend throughout my life. It’s brought me soooo much joy. It got me through my teenage angst (the Metallica years). Introduced me to some amazing people and experiences. And uplifted me in some very hard times. (Special thanks go to Mozart’s Requiem and The Red Hot Chili Peppers – they’ve really got my back.)
From the little girl performing ‘Dancing Queen’ for my family (wearing my mum’s heels and handbag of course), to the 9-year-old winning her first singing competition (okay, I came 3rd, but that’s still winning in my book).
Then at 13 my first ever gig. I was supposed to play electric guitar, but the lead singer of the band wimped out and I stepped up (me, shy, retiring Hannah). It was a big deal. Standing in front of the bullies who ruined my school days. I was nervous. But I did it. I ‘rocked the Casbah’ and put ‘another brick in the wall’. It felt amazing. A personal rebellion and two fingers up to the bullies. But they continued to torment me (as bullies do).
It was a turning point in my life – I realised that no matter what I did, I would be a target. So, I wasn’t going to let them stop me. I developed a (false) confidence as a way of coping and tried to act as if nothing bothered me (of course it did, but they didn’t know).
“Music is the strongest form of magic.”
High school was the beginning of my choir days, singing with top sopranos. We toured all over the country for 3 years and had the honour of singing in the Easter Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral. What an experience! And a complete contrast to my new-found love – heavy metal. (Variety is the spice of life, right?)
I moved school for sixth form – for a fresh start – with my metal-head mates.
Music was still very much a hobby. Guitar. Singing. Jamming with my best friends. Occasionally playing with random bands. Academically, I was into the sciences – following my dream to be a vet. But I messed up my A-level choices meaning I couldn’t get on to the course – so decided to study Archeology and Swedish instead (as you do).
But first a year out, in South Africa. Doing community work in a multi-racial school and experiencing so much poverty, music, language, culture and travel. It was 1994, the year apartheid ended. Nelson Mandela came to the village hall and spoke to us. It felt so surreal to share such an amazing moment in history.
I had many roles in the school, but the thing I loved most was leading the choir. We entered a big competition. The other schools arrived in posh uniforms but we were more comfortable wearing jeans and white t-shirts. They sang their little hearts out and came very close to winning. I don’t think I’ve ever felt such pride. I’ll never forget it (and hope they don’t either).
Music continued as a hobby throughout my Uni years, jamming and joining bands – though I was now firmly a rock chick. Then in my 3rd year, I studied in Sweden. I discovered a jazz café and fell in love with the great ladies of jazz – Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone and Billy Holiday. Such amazing voices.
Sadly, at the end of my final year, I lost a close friend. The impact of this took hold of my mental health for a couple of years – spiraling me into a dark depression. I was studying and working but the darkness overwhelmed me – thankfully, I got through this time and was able to develop strategies with help that have allowed me to cope and manage my clinical depression.
“I don’t sing because I’m happy;
I’m happy because I sing.”
– William James
In 2003, I moved to Swansea for a new job, began playing my guitar again and decided to take singing lessons. I began to train as a classical singer, but I changed my style when I realised my love for jazz was greater than my love of arias.
I sang. I played. I wrote songs. And I found a part of me that I had lost. I knew then that I needed music to be my companion through life and that this time we’d stay together.
Fly Away Home
After returning to my beloved northern roots in 2006 (for my dream job), I began to take singing a step further. And I’ve been performing in the northeast music scene ever since (until Covid came along when I shifted my gigs online).
At first, I had no belief in myself and hid behind a stage name as I gigged and did open mics.
But as my confidence and belief grew, I wanted to just be me. And then, there was no stopping me!
Choirs, ensembles, a band and duos – performing at weddings, parties and other events.
I loved going on a musical journey with the audience.
But I needed more money to fund the gigs – so, in 2013 I began to teach singing, and I found a new passion.
By 2016, I was teaching 16 hours a week on top of my full-time job (which thanks to 3 restructures was no longer a dream). So I took redundancy, went on lots of holidays
and then launched into full-time teaching.
And here I am!
Hannah the Singer
• Fronted a prog rock/funky/jazz band, Life on Laputa – I wrote songs, and we recorded some music and had a little success (we’re still going).
• Leading choirs and smaller singing ensembles
• Singing within a traditional Northumbrian music folk ensemble, Ottadini, every Sunday for 10 years (so much fun).
• Jazz-based duo with Matt Spence (him on guitar and me on vocals) – we took up a relaxed weekly residency at the Hilton and I loved it.
• Acoustic duo playing guitar and singing, again with Matt Spence.
So, what can Singin’ Hinn do for you?
Well, you’re here because you love to sing, and because you want to get better at it or do it more.
Maybe someone crushed your confidence as a kid? Told you that you ‘can’t sing’?
Or perhaps, you know there’s more you could do with your voice, but you’re not sure how to take it to the next level?
I know how it feels to not have the confidence in your own voice – the confidence to be you. (That’s why, when I started performing, I hid behind my stage name.)
Together, we can develop your confidence and your voice. Discover what’s holding you back and what’s driving you.
The most important thing I can give you is belief in yourself. By helping you to understand your voice (including its anatomy) and how you can control and project it – then you can start to use it with confidence.
I help singers at all levels – from complete beginners to professionals – from the age of 10. Lessons are online – so, you can learn from the comfort of your own home anywhere in the world, at a time that works for you. I make lessons as relaxed and fun as possible – with honesty and a bit of Hannah humour thrown in for good luck!
They’re your lessons, so you’ll choose the style of music and the songs you want to learn –
because it’s important that you have fun and love what you’re singing. (My only rule – don’t bring me songs from ‘Annie The Musical’. I don’t do ‘Annie’.)
So, whether you want to be the next jazz legend, pop diva, rock god, folk star, queen of classical or just sing better in the car – then I’d love to help you get there. Because I believe you can.
Are you ready to find your voice?