She is delighted to be back for 2021 (August 26-30).
“I remember it was really, really good, a really nice festival, a great group of people all working together and all involved in the community.
“I think it was maybe the last show in England that I did, but we did a livestream in October 2020. It was at a time when everyone was thinking about how to perform and the people were experimenting with this livestream format.
“So we decided to do it. It was quite a challenge technically.
“You had to find all the right people, coming out of their little burrows like rabbits in headlights everywhere.
“And he was a different kind of nervous.
“You don’t have public comment. It’s a two-way street with audiences, and obviously if you’re broadcasting live you only get half of it.
“But I’m releasing the live album from that performance.”
It was about making the most of it all: “I feel very lucky that no one in my family has died.
“I’ve heard of people who have died, and a lot of people have died. I feel bad for those people who have lost loved ones, and I just feel very lucky that I didn’t.
“In general, I guess for me the whole experience went well. If you are a musician or creative then you are used to rough life, tough scrabble.
“You’re so used to adversity all the years that you’ve been fighting, and then it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, I remember that. “
“When I was trying to broadcast my music, the internet was just beginning. Self-published records were just beginning, and the only way to become a professional artist was to get a recording deal.
“And if you didn’t have friends in high places, then how the hell could you get there as a brand new artist?”
“I used to go there and then back up a bit.
“While I was doing Seasons of My Soul, I was working full time, then one day a week I would go into the studio.
“I did Seasons of My Soul one day a week for three years. We did it every Friday for three years.
“When I signed, the album was finished.
“It was my investment and that of Steve Brown, my producer.
“I had known these songs for many years, knowing that I wanted to do them right.
“I had no idea they would be successful. I just wanted to have a CD with my name on it. I was really surprised when he got so successful.
“I am a very community oriented person.
“I’m someone who really wants to be part of a community.
“That’s one of the things I really enjoyed about the Rye Jazz Festival, the feeling that it was a real community and that everyone was behind it.
“But when I became a successful person, you suddenly isolated yourself.
“What I struggled with the most was this isolation, being isolated and going from country to country but really on my own.
“The internal things that happen when that happens are really interesting. I could write a book about them!
“Finally, I ran away. I went to Arkansas. I went to live in the woods and it was lovely.
“I felt like I was in a witness protection program. No one was ever going to know where I was.
“We could just hide. I just felt like I wasn’t the type of person who likes to be exposed and likes to be talked about.
“I love that my music is recognized and people say that it is well written and well played, but for me, I am only interested in this music.
“I felt I needed a retirement and to focus on other things like having a balanced relationship and having a family.
“I have a four year old son who comes to school in September.
“That’s why my career has stalled a bit. I became a bit part-time with music.
“But I’m just aware that I’m in a different phase of my life right now.
“I let my career side rest a bit so I could focus on my child’s early years and do my best to be a good parent.”
The Rye International Jazz & Blues Festival features a series of signature concerts on an outdoor stage on the South Lawn of De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea from August 26-30.
They will “celebrate the best of British live music by the great British seaside”.
Performers include Paul Carrack, Gabrielle, Incognito, Courtney Pine, Rumer, Mica Paris, The Kingdom Choir, Ian Shaw and Liane Carroll.
Ian Bowden, director and producer of the festival, said: “The number of tickets available is limited, so we encourage people to book early.
“The concerts are presented in accordance with the guidelines of the Covid government to ensure maximum safety in a breathtaking setting.
“These signature concerts at the De La Warr Pavilion will be a celebration of the best of British jazz, soul, funk, gospel and contemporary music on Britain’s great seaside.
“Highly acclaimed soul singer Gabrielle takes the stage on Friday August 27 when you can hear her sing her chart-topping hits including Rise, Out of Reach, Dreams and many more.
“On Saturday August 28, we showcase an array of incredible musical talent as we celebrate the best of British jazz funk with afternoon and evening programming that includes Incognito,
Courtney Pine, MF Robots, Snowboy & The Latin Section plus more to be announced and Hastings DJ Libby Ashdown spinning her soul and funk-laden tunes throughout the day.
“On Sunday August 29th, we proudly present the highly acclaimed singer Rumer in concert. Rumer will perform songs from his latest album Nashville Tears and favorite songs from his impressive catalog of hits.
On Nashville Tears, Rumer delves into the catalog of Hugh Prestwood, a songwriter whose name is reverently spoken by his colleagues.
Nashville Tears brings together fifteen of Prestwood’s best songs, many of which have never been recorded until now, revealing truths of the heart, both intimate and universal, realistic and romantic.
“On Monday August 30, we celebrate the best of British gospel, soul and jazz with British Soul Queen Mica Paris, the world-renowned Kingdom Choir and two of the best singer-songwriters and pianists in contemporary jazz of their generation, Ian Shaw and Liane Carroll.
“The festival also plans to present a range of live musical performances at social distance at various locations in Rye, showcasing the best local and regional musical talent. The festival hopes to obtain funding from various granting agencies, sponsors and private patrons.
“Please join us either in the streets of Rye or at the De La Warr Bexhill Pavilion this August Bank Holiday weekend. For updates, information and to purchase tickets visit www.ryejazz.com .
Festival producer Ian is hopeful that many people will participate in all the fun he plans for the days to come.
“Please join us on the Streets of Rye or at De La Warr Bexhill Lodge this August Bank Holiday weekend.
“For updates, information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.ryejazz.com.”
More details on the event and its programming are available on Facebook at @RyeJazzBlues.