Soprano Nancy May’s love for Braintree

With over 13,000 followers across social media, Nancy May is making a name for herself as a classical crossover singer – blending traditional and contemporary styles in her performances.


We caught up with Nancy to find out a little bit more about her background as a classically trained Soprano and her time spent performing in our wonderful neck of the woods.


A lover of horse riding, walking and spending time with her loved ones, Nancy trained at the Royal Northern College of Music and has been inspired to follow this creative career path since her first singing lesson at just nine years of age.


Now a trained and experienced classical crossover singer, Nancy sings a wide range of styles from operatic arias, musical theatre, Disney, popular music, folk and religious music, to classical cross over favourites in a classic style.


Speaking to us at CommunityAd, Nancy touched upon the influence her early years had upon her career, explaining: “We always had music around the house when I was growing up, with all sorts of music from The Rolling Stones, The Carpenters, John Holt to ABBA and more. I loved singing along to musicals in the car and performing at home and at school.

“My favourite song to sing at the moment is “Nella Fantasia” from Ennio Morricone’s film The Mission. It’s a beautiful song in Italian which dreams of a world of peace and love where everyone helps their neighbour, very poignant. I feel quite emotional and inspired singing it.”


Can you talk to us about what new music you’ve been working on recently?

“I have been reworking new and old songs with Elliot Richardson at Highfield Studio to make them our own. We have just reworked some of my favourite classic rock and pop songs in a classical style for my new EP “Why Not” and I would like to continue to make more songs our own and hopefully compose something completely new soon!”


Who are some of your greatest inspirations?

“I am inspired by fantastic singer songwriters such as Adele. I think that Katherine Jenkins is fab and she has really popularised classical music which is great! The late Dame Vera Lynn was wonderful and all she did for people in World War 2. I love the songs she sang and they are my favourites to sing now. She picked words and music so carefully to make sure that the songs would lift people and help them to resonate.

“Aside from music, I am inspired by positive people such as Fearne Cotton. I really enjoy listening to her podcast ‘Happy Place’ and think she has a really lovely personality! I’d love to have a masterclass with Maria Callas if she were to be alive, or Frank Sinatra!”


What are some of the joys and benefits you get from performing as a singer?

“There are so many benefits from singing; it’s mood boosting, confidence enriching and makes you feel good. I love practicing, I feel that I can really immerse myself in practice and forget everything that is going on around me. I experience some nerves when performing but I think that is normal and it’s good to have nerves as long as you channel them in the right way, they energise a performance!

“I’ve met some really lovely people through singing and I am always grateful of people’s support and kindness to allow me to carry on doing what I love to do.”


What advice would you pass on to budding musicians?

“Do it because you enjoy doing it. As I have got older I have realised more and more that you must stay true to yourself, don’t accept gigs that don’t suit you or your voice.

“Probably an obvious one but practice, the more you practice the more you will enjoy it!”


Having previously performed at care homes, alongside FaNs Network, and events such as the Braintree Christmas Lights Switch On, various churches across Braintree and Market Day events, Nancy is no stranger to our town and has even been asked to sing at the Jubilee Festival in the Gardens Celebrations in Bocking Gardens this June.


Reflecting on her time spent performing locally, Nancy added: “I like Braintree, it has everything you need. The town has some nice shops, lovely restaurants and cafes. It’s a close proximity to lots of different locations plus some hidden gems.

“Bocking Gardens is really lovely and so is The Flitch Way which is all on our doorstep and I frequently enjoy walking, riding my bike on the Flitch. I recently walked all the way to Bishops Stortford from Braintree. Braintree Village is also really great, there’s so much choice for places to eat and shop. I went to Braintree Comedy Club for the first time recently and it was absolutely hilarious. In short, it’s a good town with lots going on.”


Nancy’s next concert is in Saffron Walden on Saturday 23rd April at 7:30pm, alongside a fantastic trio including a violinist, cellist and pianist. Tickets are £17.50 and are on sale through her website

by Callum Knowles

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