Category Archives: Interviews

Standon Calling: The Scruff

Ahead of this year’s STANDON CALLING festival we chatted to Adam from THE SCRUFF.

The Scruff headed into 2018 as ‘ones to watch’, following on from what felt like a breakout few months for the Bedford natives. A somewhat turbulent start to last year saw a member emigrate, a rebuilding process and a new outlook on their sound as the band regrouped with new guitarist Jack, to release Her, an anthemic single inspired by the passing of drummer Omar’s mother. The single was swiftly picked up by Radio One, who made it BBC Radio One Introducing Track Of The Week, as well as receiving support from Steve Lamacq at BBC 6Music and picking up This Feeling Radio X Track Of The Week too. Following a relentless tour, which saw the band play 40 shows in 3 months, the band headed into the studio to produce their next single White Flag, The Scruff’s strongest work to date.

You can hear our interview here:

The Scruff are all over social media and you can find them here:


Standon Calling: Blushes

Ahead of this year’s STANDON CALLING festival we chatted to Tiff ffrom BLUSHES.

Blushes are a 4 piece indie-RnB band based in Aylesbury, UK. Blending RnB and Dream Pop, the songs of Blushes journey through melancholy and romance. Recently discovered by NME to feature in their Under The Radar programme, the band were then personally approached by BBC Radio 1’s Phil Taggart to play their track To The Bone. They have also received features and support from HMV, BPI and UK Music, as well as being featured on London Live and BBC Introducing, and were also included in NME’s 100 Artists for 2018 list.

You can hear our interview here:

You can find out more about Blushes here:


Catherine McGrath Interview

I was lucky enough to interview Catherine McGrath – one of my favourite artists! Catherine is a rising country-pop singer, who first broke into the spotlight when touring with the likes of Kelsea Ballerini and The Shires. Her debut album; ‘Talk of This Town’ is due for release on July 27th, featuring some of the music from her existing EP’s such as: ‘Thought It Was Gonna Be Me’ and ‘Just in Case’.

Paul Humphreys from Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

OMD’s current album, The Punishment of Luxury, was released on September 1st and its title is a reminder of our materialistic lives and how we are slaves to the “ad men” regarding possessions and wealth.


Now, 3 singles in and the latest track, What Have We Done, is out and I was delighted to speak with Paul Humphreys from the group.

We spoke about them having almost made it to 40 years, the decline of vinyl, Paul’s thoughts on digital downloads (the album is also available on cassette!), classic computers and the sadness that the music world has endured these past couple of years with the loss of so many artists.

Track by Track: Paul also very kindly took us track by track through the album…

Michelle Ward spoke with Andy McCluskey ahead of its launch.

OMD are playing at the Cliffs Pavilion on Wednesday 1st October.

Phoenix FM 10th birthday: Jordan Gray

Jordan Gray came down to the Holiday Inn to chat to presenters Bob Simpson and Keith Rogers and play a few songs live, including new single Platinum.

There was also some news about a rather significant change of direction in her career … but to find out, you’ll have to watch it all again.

Jordan’s been a great supporter of the station over the last few years and it was great to get her down once again. You can find out more of her latest news on her official website.

Spotlight on … Brentwood Fairtrade

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Sara Macham sits down in the Phoenix FM studios with Caryl Kwei, secretary of the Brentwood Fairtrade campaign group. Find out how Caryl and her team of volunteers got Brentwood certified as a fairtrade town, what makes a fairtrade school and why we should all care about where our food, clothes and even footballs come from.


If you would like to know more, visit If you would like to help Caryl, you can find more details and how you can get involved at

New Essex band “THE GOLD” interview

The Gold are a brand new Essex based band who met through school and have jammed together for years. They took over a year to write their first album and came into the Phoenix FM studio to tell Xanthe Bearman all about it.

The Gold are:
Joe (vocal)
Tom (synth)
Josh (bass)
Louie (drums)
Dan T (guitar,synth)
Danny (guitar)

Their debut single ‘Scream’ is being streamed on VEVO with it’s official release at the end of September.

More info from : The Gold on Facebook

The Gold Aug2016

Spotlight on … Ingatestone Musical and Operetta Group

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Phoenix FM’s Sara Macham catches up with Amy Welton, publicity officer at the Ingatestone Musical & Operetta Group (IMOG), at its weekly rehearsal as members prepare for the next production – Carousel – to be performed in October.

IMOG - IMG_0940

This ‘little theatre group with a big heart’ has about 30 members of different backgrounds and musical ability. Dating back to 1970, IMOG is still going strong, and this year will another string to its bow when it puts on its first ever pantomime.

Amy talks about the history of the group and its repertoire, and about the everlasting appeal of Carousel and its famous songs.

IMOG - IMG_0943

You can find out more about the production and book tickets here:

Spotlight on … Brentwood Arts Cinema Club

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Phoenix FM’s Sara Macham went along to the monthly film screening hosted by the Brentwood Arts Cinema Club and had a chat with the group’s committee members Joanna Moncrieff and Phil Mynott.

Brentwood Arts Cinema Club 1

BACC shows films at the United Reformed Church Hall in Brentwood once a month (except August) on a Sunday evening. They are all chosen by the group’s committee and either haven’t been on general release or are films that you might not otherwise come across.

The post-film talk and glass of wine are optional, but Joanna and Phil chat about the benefits of watching a film together and discussing it afterwards.

Brentwood Arts Cinema Club 2

You can find out more about the films and membership here:

Spotlight on … Zinc Arts

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Sara Macham meets the team at Zinc Arts in Chipping Ongar – director Sonia Cakebread, marketing officer Ryan Lightfoot and head chef Adam Wooltorton – to hear about the centre’s activities and plans for the summer holidays.

zinc arts 1

Zinc Arts is a not-for-profit arts and education centre, providing a variety of arts-based activities for people of all ages and abilities. And a new cafe with a varied and fresh home-cooked menu makes it a brilliant lunch venue, too!

zinc arts 2

For more information about Zinc Arts, or to make a donation, you can visit their website:

zinc arts 3

Xanthe chats to Paul Cattermole

Xanthe Bearman went to meet her old musical theatre chum Paul Cattermole at The Cliffs Pavilion in Southend this week. He’d just come off stage as Eddie in the Rocky Horror Show and they had a chat over a glass of wine!

Xanthe Paul Cattermole Aug16

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The Rocky Horror show will be at The Cliffs Pavilion until Saturday 20th August. For more information about the tour visit

LIAM CROMBY live for CRISIS #LivingInTheWorldToday

Liam Cromby is the frontman of successful band We Are The Ocean. The band are back from touring and taking a well earned break, but Liam is using his time off to to raise money for a charity close to his heart – CRISIS.

Liam told me why he is so passionate about raising money for the homeless – he is also doing a skydive in July – and then sang his solo single live.

Hear the interview and live session here:

Over 2,500 people slept rough in London between January and March this year. To help Liam raise money, buy his single here: and for more information about the charity go to

Liam Cromby pic

Georgia sings her debut single The Girl LIVE – 10 June 2016

Georgia is a local singer-songwriter who originally studied musical theatre, and has a passion for Motown, Soul and Blues thanks to her parents music collection.

Last year Georgia came 2nd in Teenstar – the national singing competition. Since then she has been playing with her new band The Vintage Youth and getting a lot of positive interest from the music industry.

I chatted to Georgia about her upcoming debut album.

Listen to the interview and hear the live session here:

It was a real pleasure to meet Georgia and hearing her sing live was really special. For dates where she is playing live go to her website at

Georgia Xanthe pic


After my last extravaganza I had such lovely feedback so I was thrilled to be able to do another special musical theatre show for Phoenix FM.

I spoke to the wonderful West End Star Joseph Prouse about his career to date, played some lovely show tunes, and also had lots of requests!
Joseph Prouse pic

Actors Mark Benton, Lewis Griffiths, Gracie Reynolds and David Ribi all suggested shows and songs to play.

Plus theatre buffs Sue Longshaw, Louise Kean-Wood, Helen Sweet, Julie Tillin, Clare Ramsay and David Pettit also requested some great songs, thanks for your suggestions.

BEAUTIFUL is the untold story of Carole King’s journey from schoolgirl to superstar; from her relationship with husband and song-writing partner Gerry Goffin, their close friendship and playful rivalry with fellow song-writing duo Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, to her remarkable rise to stardom. NOW PLAYING AT THE ALDWYCH THEATRE with Katie Brayben as Carole King. Details from

A MUSICAL CELEBRATION is at the Queens Theatre in Hornchurch on Sun 1 March at 7.30pm, tickets are just £10.50.
Enjoy songs from West End and Broadway shows such as Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair from South Pacific, Memory from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats and The Wizard and I from Wicked. There’ll be tunes from Chess and Annie Get Your Gun, to Mozart’s Letter Duet.
Katie Milton will be joined by West End stars Nichola Jolley, Kay Carman and Jordan Langford. Details from

Wicked – Defying Gravity
Hair – Aquarius
Hairspray – Welcome to the 60’s
Beautiful – Beautiful
Beautiful – I feel the Earth Move
Les Miserables – Empty Chairs at Empty Tables
Les Miserables – Bring Him Home
Jersey Boys Medley
Ghost – Are You a Believer
Chess – One Night in Bankok
The Producers – Springtime for Hitler
Chicago – When you’re good to Mama
Into The Woods – Children Will Listen
Whistle Down the Wind – Tire Tracks and Broken Hearts
Honeymoon in Vegas – I Love Betsy
Oliver – Consider Youself
South Pacific – Gonna Wash That Man
MATILDA – The Smell of Rebellion
Starlight Express – Starlight Express
Starlight Express – Theres a light at the end..
Scott Garnham – Self Indulgent Ballad
Phantom – All I Ask Of You
Oklahoma – Oklahoma
Legally Blonde – Omigod You Guys
The Commitments -Try a Little Tenderness


Musical Theatre special

I was thrilled to host this special Musical Theatre show for Phoenix FM on Sunday. I featured interviews with four incredible artists (Rosie Ladkin, Scarlette Douglas, Lewis Griffiths and David Ribi), and played songs from thirteen musicals. Plus I featured the original song ‘Self Indulgent Ballad’ which is an hilarious song by West End star Scott Garnham.

Miss Saigon. The epic love story, set during the Vietnam war, is back in the West End at the Prince Edward Theatre.

The Book of Mormon is a Tony Award-winning satirical musical from the writers of South Park. The show is now in London’s West End at the Prince of Wales Theatre.

The brand new production of Cole Porter’s classic, multi-award winning musical-comedy, Anything Goes is currently touring the UK. Details from

I met with the super talented actress, singer, dancer, musician Rosie Ladkin earlier this week for a chat about Musical Theatre.
Rosie and Xanthe

From 3 – 7 March at Brentwood Theatre, Billericay Operatic Society are performing the Tim Rice musical CHESS. Brentwood Theatre Box Office: 01277 200305

Since Cats first opened on the West End stage in 1981, it has become one of the world’s best known and best loved musicals. CATS is currently enjoying a revival at The London Palladium with Nicole Scherzinger as Grizabella, West End megastar Kerry Ellis will be joining the cast to play the part from 9 February 2015 until April.

Scarlette Douglas is multi-talented performer. Recent projects include the West End show “I Can’t Sing” and the tour of “Ant And Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. She kindly chatted to me about her experiences in Musical Theatre.

Disney’s award-winning musical THE LION KING is now in its 16th year at London’s Lyceum Theatre and is on its first tour of the UK.

David Ribi is a singer/songwriter, a tribute artist and an all round musical theatre performer. He is currently playing Brad in The Rocky Horror Show and I managed to grab a chat with him in between shows on tour in Germany.

David Ribi

Inspired by true events from the underground dance clubs of 1950s Memphis, Tennessee, MEMPHIS follows the fame and forbidden love of a radio DJ who wants to change the world and a club singer who is ready for her big break. The show is at the SHAFTESBURY THEATRE in the West End.

Lewis Griffiths plays bassist Nick Massi in the tour of JERSEY BOYS and I chatted to him at the Cliffs Pavillion in Southend earlier this week. Details of the tour are here

Lewis and Xanthe

The popular musical Shrek is touring the UK where you can join the ogre, Donkey, and Princess Fiona.


Rosie Ladkin Interview: 26.10 mins
Scarlette Douglas Interview: 45.40 mins
David Ribi Interview: 1hr 7.30 mins
Self Indulgent Ballad: 1hr 23.15mins
Lewis Griffiths Interview: 1hr 31.20 mins

Nick Mason chats exclusively to Phoenix FM

Nick Mason 1

It was fantastic to be joined by Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason in interview to talk about their new album THE ENDLESS RIVER.

Pink Floyd are one of the biggest selling bands of all time, from their many albums to their sell out tours, they have cemented their place in musical history.

The album has already been number one in 20 countries and counting.

Michelle and Nick

I talked to Nick on 3rd December at his London offices about his first musical influences, drumming, songwriting, recording and much more.

the endless river

The Endless River is the fifteenth and final studio album by Pink Floyd.

pink floyd pictures

To hear it again click the player at the top of this page!

Pixie Lott talks exclusively to Phoenix FM

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Singer Pixie Lott took time out from her hectic Strictly Come Dancing schedule to give an exclusive radio interview to Phoenix FM presenter Nikki Mills.

2014-10-12 Pixie Lott with Nikki Mills 03

Brentwood singer Pixie was at the Open Day for the new Pixie Lott Italia Conti Theatre School in Chelmsford, which she is opening in the New Year with her mother Beverley and sister Charlie-Ann

Pixie said, “It’s really inspiring to see talent at a young age – I want to give other children the same opportunities that I had. It’s the stars of tomorrow that you meet at schools like this”.

2014-10-12 Pixie Lott with Nikki Mills 01

Pixie also gave insights into her current stint on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing and and talked about her current single, Break Up Song.

You can find out more about Pixie on her official website, and the new Italia Conti school also has its own website and Twitter @PixieLottConti account.

UB40 talking exclusively to Phoenix FM

It’s the final day of the Brentwood Festival and we had the pleasure of Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue from legendary reggae band UB40 here in the studio.


The band spoke to me about their forthcoming album and their live set which is full of their greatest hits – although as they had 40 top 20 hits they’re always going to miss a few out!

You can hear the interview again here:

Kirsty Bertarelli live at Phoenix FM

Click below to hear the interview and session again:

We here at Phoenix Towers were delighted to receive a visit from singer/songwriter Kirsty Bertarelli today.

2014-06-24 Kirsty Bertarelli 05

Kirsty chatted with Greg Dukeson about the creative process behind her new album, Indigo Shore, and new single There She Goes. It’s hard not to bring up her other achievements – a former Miss UK who has written a no 1 record for All Saints, and who just happens to be Britain’s richest woman – so we had plenty of other things to chat about too!

2014-06-24 Kirsty Bertarelli 02

Along with guitarists Paul Sayer and Louis Riccardi we were also treated to live performances of There She Goes and recent single Disappeared. You can hear the whole interview above, or watch the session below:

Indigo Shore is available from Amazon and iTunes, and you can find out more about Kirsty at