Abi Gilchrist is a vocalist, voice over artist and choir director. She started her career as a classical soprano at the Guildhall School of Music, followed by training at London School of Musical Theatre.
In April 2016 Abi launched jazz cabaret show Miss Kiddy and the Cads with her husband pianist and composer Ross Power, and they have performed all over the world in places like India and Thailand, as well as on ITV’s This Morning and Loose Women. Miss Kiddy and the Cads launched their debut album ‘Vintage Dirtbag’ this year at Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club - a week before UK lockdown! "I also sing for many sessions and on TV and film soundtracks, and can currently be heard singing the theme tune on CBeebies shows ‘Do You Know and Maddie, The Zoo and You’ as well as on National children’s music classes and book series Monkey Music."
Abi founded UK Soul Choirs in 2010 which now have 7 branches of community choirs in SE London and Kent - and more due to open in 2021. "I have found running choirs to be the most unexpectedly fulfilling part of my career. As well as being a busy singer and choir director I have two amazing daughters age 9 and 7 who are both my biggest critics and my biggest fans... there's never any chance of getting too big for your boots with children around, nothing impresses them (well perhaps when they got to meet Andy from Andy's Dinosaurs Adventures on one of my gigs!) I am lucky enough to live in Whitstable on the Kent Coast where there is a fantastic creative community who have really supported their resident musicians during this difficult time."
Lockdown has been difficult for Abi and her husband, "since both myself and my husband are self employed musicians and we don't have any regular PAYE teaching work etc to fall back on. We always considered ourselves the lucky ones to be able to make our living from performing but unfortunately this has made this year very tough indeed since everything cancelled overnight. Luckily we have been able to continue our community choirs online with our new HOME SING community which has meant we have been able to pay the bills (and were SO thankful to all our members for supporting us) and has really lifted our spirits and given us purpose. We also really want to keep the Miss Kiddy and the Cads brand going as we had just launched our album before lockdown and were really gaining momentum, so we created a 'kitchen disco' series throughout lockdown featuring videos and live streams all of which we did to raise money for NHS Charities. We raised over £3000 in the end which was amazing and we hope goes some way to show our appreciation to all those who looked after the country."
Miss Kiddy and the Cads Lockdown shuffle!
Musician Mums Christmas Quiz!
Can you tell us what you'll miss most about performing this Christmas?
Christmas without performing is going to be very strange and very sad for me - the excitement of Christmas is 100% made by all the gigs and the choir concerts that I do. I am already feeling very lost without any of this to look forward to - I will have to watch a lot of Christmas movies I think!
What's your favourite carol/Christmas song?
This Christmas. - Donny Hathaway
And what are you hoping for this year for Christmas?
I have realised I am in very short supply of 'lounge wear' (not really being something I wore before!) I have a wardrobe full of sequins and glitter but that doesn't cut it for another night of Netflix so I shall be asking Father Christmas to get on to the Hush website!!
Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
My main musical memory of Christmas has to be All I want for Christmas is You. I have a tally every year of how many times I end up singing this in public during December. Usually its around 30 times in the month.... it's a lot! I always dread it when December comes around but strangely this year I know I will miss it (I will have to just do it for my family via zoom perhaps!)
My two non-musical Christmas memories are coming down on Christmas morning aged 10 to find a black BMX bike with a ribbon on by the tree - I LOVED that bike, and the first Christmas I had with my husband (before we were married) which we spent on tour in Cyprus away from our families (which was especially hard as my mum was in hospital) but which made me realise I would spend every other Christmas of my life with him :-)
Can you tell us your favourite thing about Christmas ?
Christmas now is all about my children and I love Christmas morning with them and their crazy excitement. I also love our Christmas Day family routine with bubbles and smoked salmon at 12 before we open presents and have lunch. I will miss not doing this with my extended family, especially my parents, this year due to Covid.
Finally, give us a hint towards what you're performing on the advent calendar?
My calendar entry is a group effort with another wonderful musician mum and a cheeky elf thrown in for good measure (male harmony) - its festive, funky and fun!
Thanks so much Abi!
For more information about all of Abi's work, head to www.abigilchrist.co.uk