Meet the Artist


We are lucky to work with lots of fantastic and talented local artists, musicians, workshop leaders and community performers across the year, at our Launch event and the Festival in July.

We will feature one Meet the Artist blog each week leading up to DissFest’ 2018.

Meet The Artist – Lisa Day Vintage Vocalist – on Saturday 21st July

Firstly, tell us about you? When did you start?

I started singing age 17 when I attended The Italia Conti Academy of Performing Arts in London. Having been a performer in musical theatre I then trained as a singing teacher and then studied for a BA Music specialising in classical voice. Here I met Sarah who approached me to form The Three Chordettes 1940s trio with her and from there early this year I have also branched out as a soloist, Lisa Day Vintage Vocalist.

What’s the best bit about being a musician?

I’ve been lucky enough to perform various genres of music over my 25 years plus career! As a singer I think the advantage that I have as a musician is that direct ability to communicate lyrics to an audience and give them a story to inspire them. All music is glorious to someone somewhere, but just occasionally words can provide that extra something that will take out of yourself or allow you tell someone something that you can’t say for yourself.

Tell us about the best gig played to date

I would find that hard to pinpoint with the variety of music and places I’ve been privileged to play. As Lisa Day probably my first booking for a wedding vows renewal, seeing the ‘bride’s’ reaction to particular song request sh made and how it made her day special was a blessing.

Who inspires you as an artist?

Many people do but what I hope to hear in any musical performance is passion and commitment to whatever they are performing. Some people inspire me to perform their music to make me a better singer such as Berioz, others just because I love the music and it allows me to express myself too. If you want to know who I listen to within the style of music I’m singing at DissFest, he list would be Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Betty Hutton, Nine Simone to name a few.

Do you have any advice for young people interested in becoming a musician?

Do what brings you joy! Don’t be swayed by the opinion of others! Find what makes you whole!

Do you have a website, social media links, when is your next gig, anything else you’d like to promote?

On Facebook and Twitter @LisaDayVV

  • 22nd July I will be at Trinty Park singing at IpSwing Jazz and Dance Festival.
  • 27th July with The Three Chordettes at The Felixstowe Carnival with Essential Sounds Big Band
  • 28/29th July with The Three Chordettes at Buckingham Air Show
  • 18th August at The Barnardiston Arms Pub

Or go to the website for full details – www.lisadayvintagevocalist.uk 

Meet The Artist – Emily Frith on Saturday 21st July

Firstly, tell us about you? When did you start?

I began writing songs when I was about 11 years old, but I have only been releasing and performing my music ‘seriously’ since last summer (2017).

What’s the best bit about being a musician?

My favourite part about being a musician and a songwriter is to genuinely hear what my music means to people. I get letters in the post and messages from people all over the world, and it’s so, so incredible to hear that my music has inspired someone or has spoken to them in a way I’ve only ever dreamed about

Tell us about the best gig played to date

Honestly, every gig I play is my favourite because I just love the opportunity to be able to share my music with new people, but I did play at ‘Village Green’ in Southend last summer, on the same day as Kate Nash and my friends Nothing But Thieves. So it was definitely fun walking around backstage surrounded by such incredible artists.

Who inspires you as an artist?

I am very inspired by artists like Taylor Swift, Maren Morris, Bea Miller and Lennon Stella. They’re all incredible songwriters and musicians and their music really influences the sound of mine, but they’re all also strong, independent women who are such positive role models to their followers. #girlpower

Do you have any advice for young people interested in becoming a musician?

When you’re starting out, it’s easy to get distracted by the negative opinions of people who think you “won’t make it in the music industry” or you “aren’t good enough”, but take it from me: I used to struggle to sing a note, but I believed in myself, ignored the negativity and I strived to get better, write more songs and teach myself the guitar. Now I am releasing music and getting paid to sing my songs for people. Nothing is impossible, so if you believe in your dream, I can guarantee it’ll get you somewhere.

Do you have a website, social media links, when is your next gig, anything else you’d like to promote?

I have a website that is currently being updated: www.emilyfrith.co.uk

I also have an Instagram: @emilyfrithmusic

a Twitter: @EmilyFrizzle

and a Facebook: www.facebook.com/emilyfrithmusic

I am about to release some BRAND NEW music this summer, and it’s going to be bigger and better than ever before, so please stay tuned on my social media to be the first to hear it. 

Photo credit Rob Humm, Soundcastle Media

Meet The Artist – Rafa Mendes-Browne on Friday 20th July & Saturday 21st July

Firstly, tell us about you. When did you start?

I’m Rafa Mendes-Browne and I’m a multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter originally from London. My type of music takes elements from different genres such as jazz, folk and rock and fuses them together. I’ve been surrounded by music from a very young age and always had a keen interest in playing instruments.

What’s the best bit about being a musician?

The best bit about being a musician is composing songs and trying to find different ways to make it as quirky and imaginative as possible. Also, travelling across the country to play at different venues is fun as each performance is never the same.

Tell us about the best gig played to date.

I performed at a charity event raising money for the RAG organisation which donates money to different causes. It was amazing to perform at a worthwhile event and to see so many talented artists come together to raise money for a good cause.

Who inspires you as an artist?

The bedrock for my inspiration can be seen in artists such as The Black Lips and Canadian musician Mac DeMarco. Especially DeMarco as the themes in his songs have added depth towards my songwriting ability.

Do you have any advice for young people interested in becoming a musician?

Keep practising and performing but most importantly you’ve got to enjoy it and also be open minded and creative as your music will constantly evolve as time goes on.

Do you have a website, social media links, when is your next gig, anything else you’d like to promote?

I have an EP which will be released i early 2019 which I’m really excited about. For regular updates about gigs and music release, follow my musician Facebook page and my Soundcloud.

Watch this space!

Meet The Artist – The Keeper’s Daughter – Romeo or Juliet on Saturday 21st July

Firstly, tell us about your theatre company? When did you start?

We started in 2011, touring physical theatre adaptations of classic novels to rural venues and creating new writing for young people. 2011 was our first community version of the play we’re presenting at DissFest.Over the years we’ve tried many ways of making work and have collaborated with loads of imaginative people. We now mainly create genre-based new writing for young adult audiences.

What’s the best bit about being a theatre maker?

Working with creative people to make inspiring art.

Tell us about the best theatre you’ve seen to date.

Two pieces come to mind. Pool, No Water by Mark Ravenhill and Frantic Assembly. I saw this three times in the same week at Lyric Hammersmith. The fusion of new writing, physical theatre and electronic music showed me that the kind of work I wanted to make existed. It was possible and viable.Tis Pity She’s A Whore by John Ford – Cheek By Jowl toured a version of this a few years ago. It is my favourite play and their production hit every beat that a Jacobean production should hit. It was brutal, funny, vibrant and shocking. It made you feel every emotion.

Who inspires you as an artist?

The people I work with, whether that be in a professional context or community setting; actors, musicians, designers, producers, business leaders, young people, older people, everyone. Inspiration is never far away if you surround yourself with intelligent, artistic people.

Do you have any advice for young people interested in becoming a theatre maker?

Make as much work as possible. Make it yourself any way you can. Make the work you want to make. Work with people who bring new skills. Go to the theatre. Listen to peoples’ advice but trust your gut. If you love it, do it. If you don’t love it, do something else.

Do you have a website, social media links, when is your next theatre show, anything else you’d like to promote?

Our next theatre show will be in early 2019. The Wandering Spectre – a promenade sci-fi ghost story for non-theatrical venues. Our new web series, filmed in Diss will be released later this year. Keep an eye out: www.facebook.com/deaddogreturns

www.thekeepersdaughter.org.uk  @keepersdaughter

Meet The Artist – Irina Richards – leading our Cartoon Manga Drop-In Workshop on Saturday 21st July

Firstly, tell us about you. What do you do and when did you start?

I’m Irina Richards and I’m a manga artist and educator. I’ve be

en a professional artist/illustrator since about 2009, but I’ve been drawing or as long I could hold a pencil. I got into manga when I was about 12 years old, because I really liked watching anime, reading comics and drawing – an it’s when I realised I wanted to be a manga artist.

What’s the best bit about being an arts practitioner?

The best bit is definitely meeting people who are as passionate about manga as I am, sharing skills, and seeing fantastic new talent emerge. It is very inspiring.

Tell us about an arts project that you enjoyed working on

I have recently completed a manga workshop project in Dunstable Library. The project ran for 10 weeks and aimed to introduce local teenagers to aspects of Japanese popular culture – manga, anime, cosplay etc. It was fun-filled ten weeks – activities included everything from drawing book characters in manga style to making a zine, and from sewing kawaii hats to decorating biscuits with cute faces!

Do you have any advice for young people interested in becoming an arts practitioner?

Do more of what you love! Don’t be afraid to seek out and take part in opportunities, however small. Showcase your art – you’ll be surprised by how many people will like it. Most importantly, believe in yourself.

Do you have a website, social media links, when is your next workshop is, anything else you’d like to promote?

For my upcoming events, head to www.irinarichards.com I am also on Instagram as @irinarichardsart I have quite a few events coming up, including a 4 week Manga Summer School at Newmarket Library, so please come along if you can!