Tea + a Chat with The Magic Lantern

The Magic Lantern, aka Jamie Doe, talks to us about creative osmosis, supporting CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) and working with a full band for the first time in years. He also introduces us to three more artists to add to our playlist. Jamie plays at Tea + a Gig on Tuesday 2nd May – get advance tickets here.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Jamie Doe and I'm a singer, songwriter and musician living in London. I've been performing my songs under the name The Magic Lantern for 10 years now and standing up and singing for people is one of the great joys of my life. 

The Magic Lantern has its origins in the Bristol music scene that included artists such as This is the Kit, Rozi Plain and Rachel Dadd. How does being part of a likeminded network of artists support and influence the creative process?

It can only help. More than anything, being part of group of like minded people, can give you the confidence to carry on when things are tough and cheer you on when things are great. The influences of my friends have crept into my own work by osmosis until sometimes I can't hear it until I listen back to a recording. I'm extremely lucky to be surrounded by so much love, and that gives me the confidence to keep hurling myself at the world’s indifference. 

On your ‘Love of too Much Living – Remakes’ album you asked artists in your circle to reinterpret and record your songs. How much did have to relinquish your control over the songs to reach the final result?

I had no control at all over how each artist made their own interpretation. It was wonderfully liberating. More than anything else, I was curious to see what they would do, given that the original recordings were so stripped back. The songs were very personal though, so listening to some of the remakes was quite emotional as I had never heard them sung to me, only by me. It was also very important to me that all the proceeds of the record went to the male suicide prevention charity CALM - the Campaign Against Living Miserably - who's work I very, very strongly support. Check them out:


Your forthcoming album ‘To the Islands’ sees you working with a full band for the first time in years. What is proving most rewarding about this experience?

It's been great to work with a full band again. I've been very lucky to be able to ask some of my favourite musicians to play my music with me this time. Working with them and being inspired by their musicianship has been a great experience. Together we are making something very beautiful and I think it is going the best thing i've ever done. 

How much effort do you need to put in to make your voice sound so effortless?

If only the voice worked on an effort and reward system. I find how I'm feeling makes more of a difference to how I sing than how hard I try. When I'm feeling confident and relaxed it just pours out, when I'm stressed it's like pushing water up hill. I've been singing long enough now though to realise that the difference is more noticeable to me than to the audience. 

How did you come to know about SoundsCreative Projects?

I met Tara Franks through a great recorder player called Rhia Parker. They've done some work together and we met at a house gig that Rhia organised. We hit it off straight away, and here we are!

What do you think of the Tea + a Gig concept?

I love it! I think it's great to provide an opportunity for people to hear live music during the daytime who might not otherwise be able to see gigs, which of course, normally happen at night. More please!

At SCP we believe in connections. Can you connect us to 3 great artists we should know about?

Sam Brookes - one of the best singers I’ve ever heard and a marvellous human being to boot.


Alabaster Deplume - a poet, composer and saxophonist from Manchester. There is no-one quite like him. His monthly night 'Peach' at the Total Refreshment Centre in Dalston is a unique and special thing to experience. 


Samantha Whates - a Scottish singer-songwriter I've done a lot of touring with, Samantha's songs are as deep and true as they come. 




Widening access to musical education...why it's more than important than ever

The Guardian recently published a comment piece, ‘Music education is now only for the white and the wealthy’ about the increasing lack of access to music education in the UK. Sadly this is something that we at SoundsCreative Projects have witnessed first hand. As priorities and budgets have dwindled, music education is being pushed further into the private sector – which in turn narrows access for all but the most privileged.

Tara Franks, Founder and Creative Director of SoundsCreative Projects has worked from many years with organisations including Music First and CIC Arts First Islington, and recently on a Conjure Your Own project with National Orchestra for All, all of which place an emphasis on widening access to musical opportunities and experiences more traditionally associated with privilege.

Tara’s work history has helped shape SoundsCreative Projects and how we operate. SoundsCreative Projects is a social enterprise – a not for profit organisation with a social mission – to connect people through creative musical experiences. We are currently developing our referral partner scheme – working with partner organisations to provide subsidised places on certain Neighbourhood Projects. For the past two years Music First has funded 25% of places on our SoundsCreative Ensemble workshops.

SC Ensemble.jpg

We are also pleased to announce that our partner the Vortex Foundation has been awarded Paul Hamlyn Foundation funding and will be working with SoundsCreative Projects to fund Tots Tunes ‘on the move’ sessions, reaching new audiences by running classes in local Children’s Centres in the weeks leading up to the Dalston Children’s Festival.

We are always open to new conversations, and would love to hear from you if you work for an organisation that might want to become a referral partner for a Neighbourhood Project, or if you can get involved and support in any other way.

Our new and improved website

If you have been on our website lately, you may have noticed a few changes. We have been tweaking it for two main reasons.

1.  Getting around

Firstly, we want to help you find the information you’re looking for a little easier! Among the changes, we have revamped the drop down menus for easier navigation and introduced a What’s On section, which maps all upcoming events and projects on a calendar so you can quickly and easily find dates, times and booking information. 

2. Getting to know the family

Secondly, we know that many of you come to know Tara and SoundsCreative Projects through one of our Neighbourhood Projects only – that might be Tots Tunes, Tea + a Gig or Vox Voices. We hope that the new website will make it easier for you to find out more about what we do – from commissioned work, to other Neighbourhood Projects which might be just perfect for your friends, neighbours, or your own families as they grow! We’ll be sending a few more joined up newsletters too (but not too many, don’t worry) so we can keep you updated about the exciting projects we are working on, and share a few other things that inspire us.

If you haven’t already, come and have a look around, and do get in touch with any feedback, questions or suggestions.

Welcome to the SoundsCreative Projects family :)

(Iced) Tea + a Gig - The Summer Programme

We’re still reeling from some great performances this winter from artists including Moira Smiley and Pat Dam Smyth. Thanks to all those of you, big and small, who came along.

We are pleased to announce to the line up for our summer programme, taking place, as ever, on the first Tuesday of the month at The Old Church, Stoke Newington. Get these dates in your diaries, and don’t forget, your little ones go free.

 May 2nd – The Magic Lantern

 Currently recording his third album 'To The Islands', Jamie Doe (The Magic Lantern) is a rising star of London's diverse music scene with 2016 seeing him performing with Jamie Cullum at the BBC Proms; singing on Mercury Nominated folk artist Sam Lee's 'Lovely Molly' and winning 'Best Traditional Track' at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

“Very, very special” – Lauren Laverne, BBC 6 Music

June 6th - Breakfast Club Duo

Breakfast Club Duo is an ensemble of recorders (Rhia Parker) and cello (Natasha Zielazinski). This talented duo explore the richness of wind and strings through performing and arranging music spanning the centuries, from the middle ages to the present day. 

July 4th – Samantha Whates 

Samantha Whates is a London based singer and songwriter. Despite living in the capital since her mid-teens, her heart, voice and songs retain a strong affinity with her Scottish roots, cultivating a sound that is thoroughly contemporary, rooted in tradition yet uniquely her own.

“Just gorgeous” – Tom Robinson BBC 6Music

Singing on the Green

 The Garden Classroom connects urban children with nature

The Garden Classroom connects urban children with nature

An ensemble of our regular Vox Voices singers will be performing at The Garden Classroom’s Mildmay Festival of Nature on Newington Green on Saturday 6th May at 1pm.  

The Garden Classroom is a great local organisation that aims to connect urban children and families with nature. The Mildmay Festival of Nature will be Islington’s first nature festival, celebrating all that is great about Mildmay’s green spaces with live music, talks and workshops, food & drink and children’s nature activities with a chance to connect with a collection of London’s nature providers including London Wildlife Trust, Green Wood Workers, and LBI’s Greenspace team.

The Vox Voices performance will be a small handful of songs we have been workshopping in our regular sessions including Down in the River to Pray and an a cappella arrangementby Tara of Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine.  There will also be a free for all Tots Tunes session on the same day - Saturday 6th May - on the green at 11am.

As well as live music there will be outdoor yoga, a tractor visit, tree surgery demonstrations, Morris dancing, and a visit from some Freightliners Farm animals.

Come along for a day out in the green spaces of our neighbourhood and to see what Vox Voices is all about. Don’t forget to come and say hello!