Tell us your real names, country of birth, date of birth, and childhood experience.
Real name: Rebecca Byram-Wigfield
Country of birth: United Kingdom
Childhood experience: Grew up with self-sufficient parents and then sent away to boarding school aged 10.
Tell us about your music career, your band name, musical background, experience, and skills.
Becca was born in the UK to self-sufficient parents, then sent away to boarding school aged 10.
She won a choral scholarship to Clare College Cambridge at the tender age of 17.
Became part of the London soul scene, playing with the likes of Soul2 Soul, Jamiroquai, and working at Trevor Horn’s studio in Covent Garden.
Moved to the U.S. not long after, securing work as a session musician and songwriter in NYC.and developing a reputation as a highly regarded analog keyboard player, synthesist, and vocalist, and becoming a resident artist at the world-renowned Hit Factory after catching the ear of Eddie Germano.
She signed to Caroline Records after Bill Laswell heard her and was swept away by her talent and her debut album, “Becca’s Smoke and Candy Store” was released. This opened the door to a long history of playing for other artists, and a catalog of songs and further recordings including “A Fair Forgery”, and two live albums, “Live from CBGB’s” and “Live from the Living Room”.
Becca’s imaginative keyboard parts and her ability to understand the balance between the unique and the familiar made her a staple ‘go-to’ keyboard player for many multi-platinum artists such as Toots and the Maytals, Moby, Mary J. Blige, Dead Presidents, The gathering Fields, Jennifer Lopez, Dido, No Mercy, Bray Film Studios, Keith Richards, Aaron Neville, Jess, Living Color, Freddy Jones Band, Blondie, Jewel, David Baerwald, Clint Black and many others.
This soon bled over to film work and song placement in several movie soundtracks including “The Heartbreakers”, “Any Given Sunday” and “Sweet November”.
Becca’s take on composition and performance is a breath of fresh air, giving her an edge in the spotlight on a stage where most artists sink into the comfortable and safe. Most recently, she partnered with Grammy award-winning producer Dave Way to create her new album, “Blue Griot”, featuring her new single “Thanks For Letting’ Me Know”, which is already being met with considerable acclaim by industry insiders and features the talents of Jeremy Stacey on drums, Nick Mancini on vibes, Paul Nowinski and Sebastian Steinberg on bass, and Craig Eastman on violin and string arrangement.
Tell us about your genre, concept, and idea behind your music video and the song.
I consider my genre “pop/jazz, or “jazz/pop”! I love jazz changes, but I also love pop melodies and things that stick in your head. My background of ’60s and 70’s R&B and British rock does not allow any other kind of melody writing- the simpler the better. I love my synth bass and analog sounds, I love harmonies and am based in the harmonically through my classical early days singing in choirs.
The concept of the song was a ‘homage’ to the ’90s of NYC- Basquiat, CBGB’s, Fab Five Freddy the whole 90’s scene at that time that is now gone. We shot the video NYC completely “rogue”: no permits, running in and out of subways and parks, and shooting quickly before the cops threw us out! It was 97 degrees and humid as hell. I was wearing a black jacket-which did not help. it was a lot of work but totally fun and worth every minute.
Tell us everything that we need to know about you as a musician and the ups and downs you have faced in the music business.
There is a big noise right now about Harvey Weinstein and his inappropriate behavior. It’s a bit funny he has been singled out, because dealing with this type of harassment was all in a day’s work for me, pounding the pavements in NYC trying to get my music heard. Getting ‘grabbed at’, execs masturbating behind their desks as they pretended to listen to my demo- this was par de course from the highest level exec to the lowest. I started off working in a studio installation company on 48th St, which was great because I learned a lot about fixing my own keyboards, and my 7 ‘uncle technicians’ protected me from the outside world! We were below the recording studio Quad, and that was the first place I got an NYC keyboard gig. The rest followed quickly from there, and soon I was a resident artist at the Hit Factory. I would walk around the huge facility at night, doing crazy stuff like using the elevator shaft as an echo chamber, or seeing how long it took to fry an egg on the G-series meter bridge…..fun times.
Tell us about other members of your band, music producer, crew, or music video director, how the song was recorded, and how the music video was shot.
The video was shot in NYC in August. it was shot by Chris Cairns, who had been recommended to me by a friend I trusted. I had seen a bit of his work and really liked it. He was also very fast and could shoot a lot in a little bit of time.
The producer of this track is the mega-talented Dave Way, who lives in Los Angeles. As soon as I met Dave, I knew he was the only person I wanted to do this record with. He has an amazing sensibility when it comes to female vocalists, and has a lot of experience with some amazing artists like Fiona Apple and Toni Braxton among many others. He listened to me play and sing for about 20 minutes, then he said, ‘I love the feeling you have when you sit at the piano and sing at the same time… I really want to capture that- the timing, that’s the way we should make this record.” And so we did.!
Tell us how long you have been in the music industry, your experience, and your future goal.
I’ve been in the music business from right after college until today. I’ve never done anything else. I have made a living supporting other artists, songwriting and accompanying them, coming up with complementary keyboard parts, enhancing their talent as much as possible. I’ve always been able to see the ‘big picture’ when it came to adding keys to another artist’s tracks; less is more- sometimes, I would have to tell them I didn’t hear what they wanted me to play but heard less, or something totally different. I try to program sounds specific to the project and rarely use presets. I’ve been lucky to write with all sorts of amazing co-writers. I always encourage other musicians to write with as many peoples as they can. you learn so much and sometimes, another chordal approach or a different style takes you to places you would normally never consider- that’s the beauty of music- it’s a pool we all drink from. I really believe in the album “Blue Griot”- I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I want to see it reach the skies!
Tell us what inspires you to write, compose and sing.
Different things provide inspiration; an emotion, a scene you pass by, history, future, wishes, dreams, other music. I normally get a melody and lyric idea together- it may just be a fragment, but it is enough to begin a new song. The more I write, the less I write! meaning, I tend to simplify more and more as I get older. I love less, I love space and dynamic, I love strong melody hooks that stay in your head.
Tell us the secret behind making a hit song.
Hmmm…I guess if I knew the secret I’d be writing hit songs every day! I think it’s really important to write what you love, to abandon any thought of trying to fit a particular genre for style- do what you love. The hits will follow.
Tell us the message you will like to pass to your fans out there.
I’m super grateful how fans have rallied around this ‘different’ music- it seems to be refreshing to them and I think there is a huge space in modern music for real melody and playing! it can still be fun ad hooky- and the fans have shown me how much they appreciate it. I want to thank everyone who has been so enthusiastic about this record and this first single has been so gratifying to me. Thank you!
Tell us the piece of advice you will give to an upcoming artist.
Do what you love. Don’t try to sound like others. Don’t listen to anyone’s advice and follow your dreams.
Elaborate on your music careers, albums, songs, tours, recognition, or awards you might have obtained.
I think I covered a lot of this further up the email- but here are a few other things- Worked as Assistant Musical Director to Saturday Night Live, worked with Robbie Robertson on the film score to “Any Given Sunday”, traveled on Paul Allen’s yacht to the Bahamas with Peter Gabriel, worked with Lauren Hill in Florida for 4 weeks holed up in a hotel penthouse…..these are just a few of the incredible things I have been lucky enough to experience!
List Radio or TV Stations that are airing your songs and blogs that have featured you as well and send messages to them via this platform.
The single has just been released but is getting good traction from a number of radio stations in the UK and Europe already, and great reviews!
Tell us how you write your lyrics, compose, sing and record in the studio.
I tend to record one or two takes at the most; generally, I record vocals at the same time as playing either piano or B3 or whatever is my keyboard of choice for the song. I prefer to judge takes by performance and vibe, not accuracy. I do all the Background singing myself, so that takes a little time but I am the “fastest in the west!” I then overdub whatever is required; synth parts, Moog bass, etc.
Name five biggest artists that you look up to like idols.
Well! hard to name just five, but Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush, Mike McDonald.
Name the artists you have collaborated with before in your songs or artists you are willing to collaborate with in the future if you have the chance to do so.
I have written with many many other artists including Clint Black, Sharon Vaughn, Living Color, David Baerwald among others. I would write to them all again anytime!!!!!
Give us the links to your website and your entire social network.
on Instagram: Beccabyramoficial
on Facebook: Becca Byram
Give us the links to your various stores for fans to buy your music.
You can find my music on iTunes and CD Baby under Becca Byram.
Tell us about your happiest day and saddest day.
Happiest Day: the birth of my daughter.
Saddest day: losing two babies before her birth.