The rise of West End Girl, Tanya Edwards

From California to Calcutta, music is a universal language. As a musician, you can travel the globe and no matter what language you speak, the melodies and various instruments serve as a translator and unifier for music lovers of every kind. As a touring singer, I love that no matter what city I’m in, I can tap into a local bar, open mic, coffee shop or night club and find people that share my passion for music.

Some cities are recognised for a specific style or genre of music. New Orleans, for example, is known for jazz, Nashville for country music, New York for Broadway and so on. Here in the US, we have access to every kind of music and the cultures and communities that surround them. And if you have managed to immerse yourself in one of these communities, you will be keen to find your tribe when you travel abroad.

So jazz lovers, have numerous festivals around the world in places such as Rotterdam, Montreaux and Cape Town.

For country music, there is Calgary, and various cities in Australia. And for those who love the lights of the big apple’s Broadway, there is London’s West End theatre district.

It’s like a candy store for those who love the old song and dance, set amidst restaurants, shopping and tourist souvenir traps. Many historic theatres host musical revivals, plays and even some of the newer theatrical presentations that have made their way around the world. As a singer, especially one who can sing and act, musical theatre can be a lucrative career. When stability and security is an issue in the entertainment industry, the promise of a paid, long-term contract is the answer.

I grew up watching movie versions of musicals such as West Side Story and Singing in the Rain, so it’s a nice treat to see a live show. In August of last year, I saw Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and was blown away by a richly diverse and talented cast. One performer, Tanya Nicole Edwards, stood out to me as she sang, laughed and danced effortlessly across the stage, and I just had to meet her. I introduced myself after the show, and she informed me she would be soon ending her contract to begin a new one with the hit musical Motown: The Musical. Tanya Nicole’s talent and determination has led her to be a part of the musical theatre community for several years.

She has appeared in: Motown: The Musical (Shaftesbury Theatre), Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Aldwych), The Book of Mormon (The Prince Of Wales Theatre), Hairspray (Singapore and Malaysia Tour), Dirty Dancing (Aldwych), The Lion King (Lyceum), and The Legend of the Lion King (EuroDisney).

Tanya has found her niche and made a home in the West End, but her story doesn’t end there. In this issue of iSing, we catch up with Miss Edwards and find out where this West End girl will end up next.

Tanya’s top tips for singers

– Vocal warm ups (before auditions or just to stay in shape)

– Physical warm ups are just as important for vocals so complete a 10 minute skip and stretch

– Research agents and never target only one, send your CV to plenty as you’re a little fish in a huge pond

– Prepare for auditions, never leave learning a song to the last minute

– To grow as a performer means having patience and being a sponge, learn something new at every opportunity from show to show and gig to gig

Instagram: misstanyaedwards

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Denosh Bennett is a Canadian-born singer, dancer and artistic director with two decades of experience in the entertainment industry. Her versatility and broad résumé has led her to tour as a dancer and/ or backing vocalist with many international artists including Faith Evans, Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, Drake, Whitney Houston, Robbie Williams, Demi Lovato and Rihanna.