At what point did realize that you wanted to do performance artist for the rest of your life?
Being born deaf, my first language is BSL (British Sign Language), with hearing aids I can hear a little bit. Like any other teenager growing up I wanted to become a “pop-star”, and my dream was to perform on stage, however, growing up I soon realised that I could not sing. I remember being aged about 9 and I loved listening to Celine Dion. I cannot hear the lyrics, but I can hear how the music/voice changes to high to pitch, and I presumed that this was a very powerful song full of emotion. One day my Mother showed me that the inside of the CD case, contained a book with lyrics in. That was a very special moment to me as I became aware of what the song was about, as I followed the lyrics in time to her voice. I learnt the lyrics of by heart and then started to sign them in time to the music and this was how my passion for SignSong started. I wanted to give other deaf people access to the music around them, but also found that it inspired hearing people to learn Sign Language too, as it gave them a visual experience to a familiar song, and also it demonstrates that Deaf people can do anything except hear!
What is a performance artist? Tell us about the ranges of work you do?
For me, I perform all over the UK although I have performed internationally too, I translate and perform songs into Sign Language and then create music video’s for which I direct and edit myself. These videos are then put on YouTube and are often used on TV Programmes such as Channel 2’s SeeHear programme for Deaf and Hard of Hearing viewers here in the UK.
I perform at many deaf events, and can be booked for festivals, shows and celebrations etc.
My work ranges from emotional power ballads right through to rap music.
What is your best performance that you’re proud of so far?
This is tough as there are two!
One of my favourites is when I performed with Ronan Keating on Stage at Wembley Arena, London. It was a huge audience and I signed “When You Say Nothing At All’ whilst Ronan sang. It was amazing for me as he had always been my idol. (The story about this is on my website!)
The other is when I was invited over to Toronto to perform at the Toronto International Deaf Film and Arts Festival to perform on stage to a huge International audience whilst my music video was being shown in the background.
If you could give a young performance artist advice based on your experiences so far, what would you recommend that he/she should do?
Never give up. Have belief in yourself, follow your dreams and ignore others who say your dream is impossible.
What are your future plans?
I would love to work with well known singers and performer their songs in Sign Langauge on stage with them or teach them how to sign their own songs. I would like to create music video to be used on music channels such as a deaf version on “MTV” or “The BOX”
I will carry on performing and translating songs and making music videos to provide access to other deaf people that are interested in music, and carry on inspiring others to learn Sign Language.
Completely Silly Random Questions:
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional. with whom would it be?
Ronan Keating (anybody famous really) just to see what famous real world are like.
flights to flight, hotel to hotel, music videos, TV shows, Tours. I just want it all!
Do you have any strange phobias?
Not strange but definitely spiders!
You have the choice to live with a gorilla who knows sign language or a dog who sings lullabies, which do you choose?
Well I’ve already got a dog who smiles and makes singing noises when she is excited, so Im going to pick the Gorilla, but does it eat me?? Yeah, I think I would pick the gorilla who knows sign language so we can communicate and would be interesting to live with them for few days.
What if you’re in hell, and you’re mad at someone, where do you tell them to go?
Get the hell out of here!!!
When is the last time you played the air guitar?
Last time was when I was about 10 years old watching the film called ‘Wayne’s World’.
The ten questions Lipton asks are:
What is your favorite word?
What is your least favorite word?
What turns you on?
Fans. They keep me sane, buzzing and keep me going in what I love to do.
What turns you off?
Lairs. Fake. Two-faced.
What sound or noise do you love?
What sound or noise do you hate?
Humming (My partner always does it when she is cooking arrghh annoying!!!!)sometimes I had to bite my tongue or tell her to stop or otherwise I turn my hearing aids off.
What is your favorite curse word?
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I would like to be a BSL exam assessor to make sure that, students only pass and go on to become interpreters if they are really up to the correct standard.
What profession would you not like to do?
I would hate to work in the sewers, the smell would be awful and you don’t know what else people flush down the toilets! I could not cope.
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
“I’m proud of you, you have never given up when times have been tough, now come on in, your Nan is waiting for you”.