The Blog

From Sir Bruce to Bowie; A Conversation With Strictly's Hayley Sanderson

She has captivated millions with her powerful singing on Strictly Come Dancing and has echoed the thoughts of many when expressing her views on the X Factor phenomenon.

She has captivated millions with her powerful singing on Strictly Come Dancing and has echoed the thoughts of many when expressing her views on the X Factor phenomenon.

The talented Hayley Sanderson takes time from recording her new album to speak of "a new generation of Bowies, Dylans and Princes" waiting to be discovered, those standing ovations at Ronnie Scotts and one "living legend" called Sir Bruce..

I start by asking Hayley about Strictly and wonder what singing on one of TV's most watched shows is really like

A ..It's so real when you're there that it doesn't feel 'untouchable' like it does when you're at home. When the red light goes on you are suddenly very aware that there are millions of viewers about to tune in and that the dancers, camera's, directors all depend on you getting your part right. But this is the case with every member on the team. We are all cogs and need team players for the whole thing to work!

I remember my first day, Bruce walking out for his 'warm up' (he always comes to perform for the audience before the show, old school) and the thought that I've literally become a part of T.V history, working with legends who have seen more than I could imagine in this industry! It's definitely something to be proud of! I'm really glad Bruce will still be back for a few specials, he really is a living legend.

Q Has Strictly opened doors for you?

A Strictly has been amazing. I'm asked to do all sorts of events, T.V, Radio and sessions from doing the show! It's a really difficult challenge as you spend your time doing your best to impersonate/copy to the best of your ability and you wonder if people can even hear who you are as you're singing for the dancer. Your job is to make the dancers lives as easy as possible. The live music element gives the whole process another level of excitement and drama, you don't want to distract from the images on peoples screens and you're not overly seen.

The fact that I even have fans from the show makes me very grateful! They're so supportive of everything I do and I love it when I get a song I know they're all going to enjoy!!

Q When can fans expect a new album?

We will be releasing teasers throughout the year via 'The Stylophones Trilogy'! Part 1 will be out in June, but you can expect the full album by Christmas

Q Your singing has been described as "phenomenal", is it true you merited a standing ovation or two at Ronnie Scotts'?

A ..when I think of the artists that have graced the stage at Ronnies it reminds me just how lucky I am! I wouldn't say I'm phenomenal though.. I believe you can never stop learning and the day you believe you are the best is the day you should probably retire!

Q Is it true you played with Paul McCartney?

A No, I've had the pleasure of meeting him a couple of times and performing for one of his daughters' events but never played with him. That would have to be on my laminate! I've worked with some amazing people and sung with the best but Paul still hasn't pulled out his bass on me, I would love to make music with him!

Q You spoke openly about the X Factor effect.

A I understand that for some people the x-factor could be a life changer, if you're Sam Bailey or Susan Boyle it's clearly done something fabulous for them. The thing we can't forget is that it's a TV show. It's about entertainment, the stories are as important as the singing.

Apart from Jools Holland, there really aren't many places for bands/writers/the artists to perform their pieces. There's no Top of the Pops, Saturday morning music shows etc for these people to showcase their talent. T.V companies believe that these shows are their music shows, but they are not about music, they are about entertainment.

I wouldn't blame Simon Cowell. He's not the music devil. I don't like it but unless we can come up with a fabulously entertaining idea to get the new generation of Bowies, Dylan, Princes out there, then we can't complain!

I have tried to create a place for people to make a start so we have started a night called 'The Stylophones Present' where we invite different artists to guest and showcase new tunes.

Q Bryan Adams told me he listens to Bob Marley, which artists please you?

A It depends what mood I'm in.. The Beatles have such a huge repertoire that they can cover most emotions but I try to listen to as much as possible... Anyone from Ella Fitzgerald to Sam Cooke, Betty Davies (Singer not actress), Betty Harries, Spanky Wilson, Led Zep, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Niel Young to Joni Mitchell, Greig, Tame Impala, Rachmaninov, Earl Okin.