Clare Teal: With a little help from my friends

Setting up for our penultimate gig of the year in Maidstone on Sunday I reached for my microphone bag, it felt surprisingly light, gingerly I unzipped it to find a microphone shaped hole. Doh!

Singer Clare Teal

I must have left it at the previous gig. Many singers have the ability to sing through any mic and sound amazing, but a lot of us form close attachments to specific microphones.

I see it as an extension of my voice. In the studio I use a Neumann U47 wherever possible a beautiful old valve mic, built between 1949 - 1965, it gives great clear results adding magic to the upper mid frequencies, incidentally it is George Martin’s favourite microphone.

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On the road my weapon of choice is a Shure Beta 87a at the risk of boring you all to tears, I love this condenser microphone, again it does lovely things to upper mid range, but isn’t boomy and has a really great reach meaning I can explore a big dynamic range. Without it I feel a bit out of kilter, although sometimes it’s good to try new things.

As I write we’re heading to Bath for our last gig of the year. My brilliant Muddy is battling through rubbish weather on the M4, having driven thousands of miles this year.

Our trusty manager Alison has made countless phone calls to track the microphone down, and hopefully get it, or a replacement, on stage by 4.30 this afternoon.

Megan our fabulous bookkeeper, is busy making sure all the musicians’ invoices are paid before Christmas; said musicians, Jason Rebello, Simon Little and Ben Reynolds are just leaving their homes to get to Bath in time for soundcheck.

Guy Barker MBE is currently glued to his computer writing beautiful arrangements for our new album to be recorded with The Hallé Orchestra in February. These charts, over the next 12 months, will be played by literally hundreds of musicians. Many of them we have had the pleasure of working with this year. Radio producers Cali and Anthony have done a tremendous job helping to bring the joyous world of swing and big band to the masses.

I am tremendously lucky to do what I do for a living and am very grateful to have the help and support of so many wonderful people, not forgetting The Yorkshire Post’s own Catherine Scott and you lovely readers and listeners. XXX.