Interview: Tracey Campbell (606 Gospel Group)

Left to Right: Liz Swain, Tracey Campbell, Alison Beck, Sharon McPherson, Kathy Wilkinson, Sophie Harriot, Nick Jarret, Edwin Fawcett. Band: Steve Harris (p), Andre Gabriel (b), Steve Raman (dr).

Gospel singer TRACEY CAMPBELL once did backing vocals for Mariah Carey, Mica Paris, and Westlife (to name but a few), has travelled all over the world singing with Secret Garden, sung for two Popes, and conducts gospel gigs and workshops in the UK Switzerland, Germany. She has also been a member of Miko Giedroyc's Soul Sanctuary since its inception.

The 606 Gospel Group, which she leads and which will feature at the first festival in Abergavenny (more information HERE), have performed regularly in the London and Marlborough Jazz Festivals. The group has also performed at Lambeth Palace, St David’s Cathedral, Brixton Prison, live on BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service, and in front of millions on live television as part of the ‘fourth debate’ between the Prime Ministerial candidates in the 2010 general election.

We interviewed her:

LondonJazz: Can you tell us the story of this video?

Tracey Campbell: A couple at the one of our 606 Gospel Brunches asked us if we could sing them a song for their silver wedding anniversary, and off we went! Throughout the entire song they stood in the middle of the 606 and danced in each other's arms. The up-tempo funky/Latin riffing at the end of the song was totally spontaneous.

LJ: How long has the group been going on?

TC: It grew out of the "St. Pats Gospel Group" [actually this is called Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir] at St Patrick's Soho Square. That was where I originally got to know Miko Giedroyc and quite a few of the others

LJ: How many are you?

TC: It's variable. We have been 5 voice a capella, anything from that up to 10 singers with a 6-piece band

LJ: And I remember you used to be the fastest band at packing up in the whole of London

TC: Yes we used to dash across town to St Pat's, where the service started at 5pm - we only had an hour to pack down and get across town!

LJ: Where were you born and where do you live now?

TC: I was born in Waterloo in London, but I've now been out in Essex for a year. I never thought I'd end up there!

LJ: What's the vibe of the choir?

TC: The strength of our group is that we know each other so well. It's that impromptu thing knowing you can go with the atmosphere of the time . We want to introduce people to gospel and give them an uplifting experience.

LJ: And you've made a CD?

TC: Not the group , but me. Called Simply Hymn it's on Amazon and iTunes. As a physical CD there's only one place to get it: Manna Christian Centre Book Shop, Streatham, (020 8769 8588)

LJ: And you're off to Abergavenny. Rare for you to leave London, isn't it?

TC: It's a privilege to be at this completely new festival at the start, cool to be invited, quite an adventure. We used to do Marlborough Jazz Festival and we've been in the London Jazz Festival programme lots of times (at the 606). We have gigged in Wales before, at St David's Cathedral, which was amazing and deeply atmospheric.

LondonJazz: Have a great time in Wales

Tracey Campbell: I'm sure we will!

606 Gospel Group.

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