Miriam Stockley is a one off and has one of the most incredibly beautiful and sought-after voices in the whole of the music industry. You may possibly not know the name but you’ve definitely heard her sing and maybe even seen her live as she’s sung vocals not just on her own projects but for an array of talent that reads like a Who’s Who of the cream of the talent in popular music of the past few decades.
Having appeared on albums by Queen, Tina Turner, Mike Oldfield amongst many others, she has done countless live shows, including being one of the three primary backing vocalists during the main section of the giant Freddie Mercury Tribute concert at Wembley Stadium in 1992 as well as TV and film soundtracks.
Having moved to Florida some years ago, she continues to write, record and work alongside producer husband Rod Houison (who himself has worked on a huge range of artists including Phil Everly, The Who, Cliff Richard and Echo & the Bunnymen). In 2006 she formed world music group AO Music with Richard Gannaway and Jay Oliver, an ongoing project which led to the establishment of AO Foundation International, a non-profit organisation which supports global aid for disadvantaged children.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xD11FpDa3NY&w=560&h=315]
Constantly in demand and having been seen by a billion people worldwide during the Freddie tribute and heard by millions as part of the ‘Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring’ soundtrack, this unsung superstar has been as busy as ever, even when most of the world has been shut down.
First off, and most importantly: How are you doing?
Thanks for asking…. Rod and I are doing better than a lot of others out there. 🤞🏼 We decided to isolate very early on, as we saw the writing on the wall.
How have you been keeping yourself busy?
Rod and I have been doing martial arts for the past 13 or so years and we do live online classes five times a week. We’ve also been catching up on some much-needed maintenance around the house, doing our taxes (in both countries), cooking more, Zoom’ing with friends and family around the world, doing recording sessions and I have been co-composing and recording tracks for my AO Music World project.
Have you been doing any online live shows or seen any good ones?
No, I haven’t done any live online shows. I try not to spend too much time on social media, as I prefer to get out into the fresh air, especially after working in the studio for long periods of time.
I’ve seen a few select online shows, but I’m just not a big fan of watching artists perform in their living rooms…[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuPb5aK1Ox0&w=560&h=315]
Have you had to change your way of writing material?
No, not at all. I have been writing and recording remotely for the past 25 years with musicians, singers and producers all over the world.
Do you keep in touch with your fellow bandmates / other musicians much?
Yes, we are in touch all the time. We Zoom or we send messages to each other on the very social media I try not to frequent too much!
What plans have you had to change this year?
I had travel plans to the UK and a large convention in Switzerland, which has had to be cancelled.
My kids and several music biz friends live up in Nashville and we usually go up there several times a year to write, see live music and catch up…. Those plans have had to be shelved.
What do you think of the social distancing gigs (like the one that happened in Kansas recently – 229 people in a 1,100-seat venue) or the thought of drive-in gigs as has just been announced by Live Nation?
I love the idea of drive-in gigs! 229 people at a concert hall seating 1,100 is a bit strange to me, but whatever works for some. I certainly wouldn’t want to attend any live gigs in person right now. Maybe more Abbey Road-type roof gigs?[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xeVV2KD1GqU&w=560&h=315]
How do you think the music industry will have changed after this period of lockdown?
I think that everything will be different. More people will be recording from home – as if there weren’t already millions out there doing it lol. A lot more virtual concerts will be taking place, far more online personal appearances/interviews/podcasts and promotion for artists.
Unless there is a proven vaccine for this virus, I cannot see the live part of the industry fully recovering. With constant warnings of yet more Covid-19 waves, plus mutations… not to mention stupid people being unable to follow safety guidelines, we may well have to face the reality, that this virus is here to stay and we need to adapt.
What plans have you got for when the isolation finishes and gigs start back up again?
I’m one of the lucky ones… most of the work I do is done virtually. As I said earlier, I started recording remotely about 25 years ago, when the internet was still not widely available to the general public and I am used to working this way.
How can people support you during this time?
The general public should remember that music isn’t free. This is our livelihood and with the advent of platforms like Spotify and Pandora, a huge chunk of our income has already disappeared. They should honour us by continuing to download our music and helping to spread awareness of our music.
Interview by Paul Monkhouse for MPM