Days Gone By: Rachael Calladine sings heart out for Dubai
After performing with the top names in music, the singer has collaborated with a Radio 2 DJ for her new single.
Her musical credits read like a who’s who of the international music scene.
A career of more than 20 years has seen Dubai-based singer Rachael Calladine sing alongside Kylie and the Spice Girls, jam with legend Prince and share a bill with Jamiroquai and The Prodigy. Originally from the UK, the songstress is regarded as one of the country’s top soul and jazz vocalists. She has more than 25 shows at the world-famous jazz club Ronnie Scott’s in London under her belt, as well as appearances at other top venues in the UK and Europe such as The Jazz Cafe London, the 606 Club, London, Cafe De Paris, London, La Pigalle in London, Nachtcafe Munich and The Blue Note in Milan.
Currently signed with Dubai artist management and events company The Fridge, the 42-year-old, has just dropped a single in collaboration with Radio 2’s DJ Schooly. Called Days Gone By, the funky, soulful house track has been released by American company Tony Records. Soundbites caught up with Calladine on her influences, musical connections and performing in the UAE.
Q. Describe yourself in one sentence?
A. A kick a** singer (laughs). I also regularly practise Muay Thai and have a black belt in martial arts which is the other half of me.
Q. Biggest musical influence?
A. Early jazz and blues, Bessie Smith, Sarah Vaughan.
Q. What about the music? What would we get if we saw you live?
A. Soul with enough jazz and funk, funk, funk.
Q. Earliest musical memory?
A. Sitting on the stairs at eight-years-old singing Heart of Glass by Blondie because I thought it sounded better when I sang it there (an early venture into room acoustics).
Q. First time you remember considering giving up in the industry?
A. I haven’t.
Q. Tell us about the new single with DJ Schooly. How did the collaboration come about?
A. Schooly is from the UK and we have a lot of friends in common, it makes sense to write together as we both come to music from the same direction and share the same ideas. I love him, he’s great.
Q. Most famous person you’ve ever met through musical connections?
A. There are a lot. I have jammed with Prince and his New Power Generation band, done backing vocals for the Spice Girls a lot of times, fronted Us3 as lead vocalist on a European tour, worked with Kylie [Minogue], toured with Jamiroquai, Joss Stone, Brand New Heavies, Incognito and The Prodigy, met Will Smith, recorded with Ray Davis from The Kinks in his UK studio (Konk) in London, chatted with Helen Mirren on a gig, worked with Whitney Houston’s producer Narada Michael Walden. I don’t tend to think of them as famous though as they are just other musicians and I sometimes get the privilege to work with them.
Q. What’s it like playing Ronnie Scott’s?
A: Awesome and intense. There is nowhere to hide and you have the weight of the history of the club on your shoulders but I love it.
Q. What’s next for you?
A. We have something special coming up with The Fridge. I can’t say anymore at the moment but it’s going to be fabulous.
Q. If you could only take one record to a desert island what would it be?
A. It’s My Life by Talk Talk.
Q. Funniest on-stage moment?
A. It usually involves some “special behaviour” from a member of the audience, dancing and such, I can’t really let any band secrets out as the guys would kill me but needless to say there are a lot of those.
Q. What brought you to the UAE and why have you stayed?
A: I came for a new challenge and I stayed because I found one.