West End Wendies Open Mic opens its friendly doors to singers of all genres and abilities every Thursday in the Loft at the Brasserie Toulouse Lautrec. From 7.30pm (doors 6.45pm) your host Paul L Martin invites singers up to the mic, accompanied by one of our lovely in-house pianists. Today we introduce you to Jordan Clarke, student at the Royal Academy of Music and lover of turtles!
Jordan, welcome to the blog. Let’s talk West End Wendies Open Mic. What’s it like?!
Thanks for having me! West End Wendies was one of the first places I found in London when I arrived for university, and I had no idea what I was getting into. My singer-friends pulled me along, and it was a smack in the face of colour, music and utter camp joy! The energy is addictive, and the variety of people you’ll meet is endless – that’s why I go. Absolutely everyone is welcome, which makes it a very special place indeed!
You must have to sight-read pretty well? Or do you know all the songs that have ever existed?
…I am sadly young and in-experienced in this wide world of music and theatre, but have been slowly educated (even by Paul himself)! He brings new things, from obscure music-hall songs of the 1920’s to the earthy, bluesy music of people like Rufus Wainwright. Then there’s the Wendie’s themselves, who bring me songs I’ve either had to play a billion times, or something I have no chance of ever having heard before. Pop, Jazz, Swing, Ballads, Rock, Disco, Musical Theatre – and all in a variety of fashions as far as sheet music is concerned! It keeps me on my toes, and that’s when I have the most fun!
Your Facebook bio says you’re a Pianist, Singer, Accompanist, Writer, Composer, and a Musical Director. Where do you find the time?
I have to say, I try and do it all as the opportunities swing by! It’s more a case of “here’s a list of the random things people have asked me to do in the past, and I damn-well loved it.. so I’ll do it again for you if you like”. I try to keep my focus on writing, but most of my time is spent tinkling the ivories for a myriad of personalities around London. I love accompanying people more than anything! You meet people, you hear new music, and you don’t normally have the pressure of all the attention being on you..) and so when I get the chance to play for something like this, it takes first priority! Even above coursework on many occasions…
You study at the Royal Academy of Music as a Composer. Wow, that sounds amazing. Tell us more.
Thank you for saying! Yeah, I’ve been really lucky with the chance to study in some great places, and the Academy has been a mad adventure. It’s random though! A morning of strangely intellectual company and a seminar with some acclaimed contemporary composer is often followed by accompanying some musical theatre or pop-music rehearsal with a completely different crowd of people. I love the variety! It’s not the easiest balancing act, but it’s been great so far!
Your Twitter account says you love turtles. They are cute, aren’t they? Do you have one?
I have adored turtles for as long as I can remember. OH YES – they are too cute. Hence my adoration. Someday I’m gonna own one, but for now I have an army of different-sized cuddly “turtle-teddies” decorating my bedroom…
Do you have any friends called Wendy? And if so, can they sing?
I knew one woman when I was a wee lad – a dear family friend in her older years! She’d visit every Christmas, and she’s the spitting image of Angela Lansbury. I can only dream she sings as well as Ms. Lansbury herself!
When you’re not playing with all those lovely West End Wendies, where else can we see you these days?
I should probably be studying.. but no doubt you’ll find me accompanying auditions, workshopping new writing, or behind the piano as an MD for shows every now and then! I teach at several theatre schools and stay as busy as I can spreading music, love, and turtle-appreciation – but am always happy to say hello to a new face!