Helen started singing
age three, the piano age six and the guitar age 8. Having
come from a family where music was actively encouraged - her
mother played the piano and her father had a strong singing
voice and also dabbled with the guitar - she started to compose
her own songs around the age of ten. Helen formed her first
band at twelve doing solo performances on tour in Europe from
fourteen with the King Henry VIII School, Coventry, choir.
She even appeared one Christmas on Midlands Today singing
a Christmas Carol with her father – Bishop of Coventry - which
they had written together to an old Elvis tune.
leaving school, she wrote and co-produced her first single
in Aid of Meningitis Research, forming the band, ‘Order Of
Our Kaos’ as a front for the project and as a tribute to her
best friend (Kate Stanley) who had just died of the disease.
Selling a limited edition of a thousand copies they raised
money for the local hospital, which had looked after Kate.
Helen recorded the single with producer and songwriter Charles
Norman from L.A., who she had met whilst singing on tour with
his brother Larry Norman around Europe. Helen collaborated
on various co-writing projects with Charles including a rock
n roll project in L.A. with Dizzy from Guns n Roses and the
first Merchants of Venus album in Oslo, Norway.
Helen soon realised
that she wasn’t really cut out to be a rock chick and stuck
to her plan of going to University to read Theology. All the
while she wrote poems alongside her music, adamant that these
weren’t just potential “lyrics” for her songs, but a different
art form in their own right. She won a choral scholarship
to Cambridge University, where she was the first soprano soloist
for Magdalene College Cambridge. Whilst there, she pursued
her love of Jazz by forming a Jazz duo to play at the college
summer balls. On leaving University she worked on a song-writing
project with James Taylor from JTQ and then went on to form
a band with Nigel Kennedy’s guitarist, Sagat Guirey. Spotted
playing at the Borderline by producer and drummer Peter Van
Hooke she went on to work with Rock-Pop band FLOW on an album
project with Peter, travelling to Midem together in Cannes.
Helen moved to
Dar es Salaam and formed her own Jazz band KUDU with local
Tanzanian musicians in 2001, it was at this time that Helen’s
love affair with Africa began. KUDU was a big hit and before
long they were playing at every major event in the city. She
appeared on National and South African Television and she
was even offered her own radio show. Helen was also working
in the UK with drummer James Sedge at this time and had formed
the band HoneyRiders. She would fly back and forth to do recordings
with HoneyRiders before leaving again for Africa. HoneyRiders’
first “demo” album, recorded in a mate’s bedroom studio, just
ten tracks, had some raw energy about it. They decided to
get a live band together to promote the songs and before long
they were selling out of the demo albums at their gigs and
pressing more and more.
Helen decided to
take it one stage further and formed her own label, Loud Mouth
Music, with her original friend and business partner, Shaffin,
who had intended to fund the label and band KUDU in Tanzania.
HoneyRiders played all over London, at Helen’s old haunt the
Borderline but also at Kabaret, The Gate, The Cobden, Madam
Jo Jo’s, Pizza Express Dean Street, 606club, Boujis and even
Ronnie Scott’s. The word spread as they grew in popularity
and HoneyRiders - under the Loud Mouth Music umbrella - recorded
"Letting the light in".
Working with the
very talented singer and producer Ian Shaw and engineer Joe
Leach at Cowshed Recording Studio, “Letting the light in”,
got rave reviews and airplay. Terry Wogan supported the single
on Radio 2, as did all the regional BBC radio stations. E-Map’s
music channel ‘The Box’ proved their video to be a popular
success, beating Robbie Williams and Britney Spears in its
first week of release. Suddenly Helen was doing interviews,
features in Harpers and Queen and Hello. She even managed
to acquire an eighty thousand pound cross-brand marketing
deal with Wella Hair Salon Products.
Helen was soon
spotted by Decca singing at Adam Street Private Members Club
- within a month she had signed a five-album deal with them.
She went back into the studio with producer Ian Shaw to add
a couple of jazz numbers with a HoneyRiders twist, to a revised
version of the original album as the new version was to be
released through UCJ. Andy Green - producer of Kean’s multi-platinum
album ‘Hopes and Fears’ - remixed it and it was re-named simply,
“HONEYRIDERS”. After a month or so the album was ready to
be launched again. That year they went on tour and won the
Best Newcomer award at the Marlborough Jazz Festival.
that year, as well as performing at venues across the UK Helen
had been writing more songs and was ready to record the next
album. Using her Independent label once more 'Helen J Hicks'
was born as a solo artist. Entitled simply, "HELEN J
HICKS” this debut solo album is more folk based than the last.
Produced, arranged, and recorded by Dave Cooke, Helen has
played piano as well as sung on the album, finding it easier
to express herself through song whilst playing the piano at
the same time. “HELEN J HICKS” is reminiscent of her favourite
songwriter Carole King and also has a hint of a female David
Gray about it. Helen wanted to be a little more experimental
on this album, introducing her own brand of poetry called
“folk-rap”, spoken word set to music. Collaborating again
with David Cooke she set about doing just that, and both track
6 ‘LEAFING’ and track 14 ‘ANOTHER EARTH’ are the result.
Buy Love's Not For Sale Single on
For further enqiries contact: info @ loudmouthmusic.com