is a musician who has has accompanied Julian Lloyd Webber on tour since 2005. She is head of planning in the artistic programming department of London’s Southbank Centre and a member of heavy metal vampyre band Symphony of Pain. She lives in London with her husband, percussionist Pete Lockett
Julian was one of the first people I met when I started work at Southbank’s Festival Hall in 1988. Famous artists were coming in every day, and a lot don’t engage. But he was instantly friendly, down to earth, no air and graces whatsoever about him. He’s unpretentious, a guy who’d rather go down to the pub for a beer than to a fancy restaurant.
I was born in India but we moved to Oldham in Manchester when I was six or seven. My mum’s English and met dad at university – some of my mum’s side of the family came from Ireland. I went to Cambridge, the Northern College of Music and East Midlands Arts before going to the Southbank Centre.
I never left – now I’m head of planning. I didn’t want to make piano playing a full-time option, I like to do different things.
“Julian was talking about doing an album called Cradle Song and asked if I could help with some research. He showed me that he’d written this little tune, called Song for Baba. I took it home and wrote a piano part. When I showed it to him, he really liked it and said, you may as well record it with me. That was the first recording I did with him.
Our next project together was our bossa nova band. That started when we got booked on a cruise ship and they asked him to do a short recital; I played piano. Then I did another concert with him, worked on another album. Gradually we’ve fallen into it. We get on very well, he’s an easy person to work with, to have a drink with and to tease . . . he’s quite level all the time.
We have our own little routines and respect each other in the way that we work. For example, if we’re away, he’ll always get up really early for breakfast; I’ll always leave it to the last possible moment.
We keep to ourselves during the day; I go down to the theatre early, make sure the lights and so on are okay. We order sandwiches before the show, then never eat them. After the concert we’ll have a few drinks. We’ve played in Istanbul, Vietnam, Beirut and Barcelona as well as England and Ireland.
I’m in a vampyre rock band, Symphony of Pain – I play keyboards and electric violin and everything is co-written with Tracie Law: we’ve just released an album, Hydeology. But of course in the show with Julian, we play mainly classical.
Julian never lets personal things affect his work, he’s incredibly professional – even if Leyton Orient has just lost a match. He’s incredibly passionate about his London football team.
“He’s a really deep thinker, reflects a lot, is very passionate about certain projects; he’s very focused and quite private, doesn’t share that much personal stuff. There’ll be weeks when you won’t hear from him, but he’s someone I can call and talk to about anything.”