Pop star Sam sings teacher’s praises

Joanna Eden and Sam Smith.
Joanna Eden and Sam Smith.

Chart-topping pop star Sam Smith has been singing the praises of a Leasingham-born woman for her part in setting him on the path to success.

The critically acclaimed singer, who already has two UK number one singles to his name, learnt his craft from jazz specialist Joanna Eden, who grew up in the village.

The 22-year-old BRIT award-winner has been giving his former teacher Joanna global exposure when asked in the press about his start in music.

Sam’s family signed him up for singing lessons with Joanna, who taught him from when he was 10 to 18.

A typical response from Sam comes in an interview with the New York-based publication The FADER.

He told them: “I remember our first lesson: I sang Frank Sinatra’s ‘Come Fly With Me’ and ‘Get Happy’ by Judy Garland. You know when your parents say you are good at something? You are just like, “Yeah, whatever.”

“But when my teacher said, ‘You’ve got something here’ - I had never received a compliment for anything, because I was always quite average. For someone to hear my voice and be like, ‘Wow’ - I really fed off that.”

Joanna said: “I had no idea that Sam was mentioning me wherever he toured until I was asked to do an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine. The interviewer encouraged me to Google my name and Sam’s and hundreds of results came up...all over the world!”

Joanna’s musical roots are in Lincolnshire because her father was a bandsman at RAF College Cranwell.

Born in Leasingham, she lived in the village until she was nine before moving to Heighington, near Lincoln, where she lived until she was 18.

“I have very fond memories of attending my Dad’s concerts at the Whittle Hall,” said Joanna, who today lives in Saffron Walden.

Joanna will be bringing her Jazz at the Movies band to Sleaford Playhouse on Saturday, October 4 at 7.30pm.

The critically-acclaimed band also features the sounds of the Chris Ingham Quartet which includes the multi-award-winning clarinetist and saxophonist Alan Barnes.

Expect jazzy spins on the evocative songs and soundtrack themes from classic films including The Aristocats, From Russia With Love, The Pink Panther, and When Harry Met Sally.

n For information, call The Sleaford Playhouse bookings line on 0333 666 3366 or go to www.sleafordplayhouse.co.uk/whats-on/jazz-movies.