Award-winning Belfast blues and soul queen Kaz Hawkins brings her own very special blend of music to BBC Radio Ulster.
Kaz Hawkins Got The Blues begins on Sunday 26 March on BBC Radio Ulster at 6.30pm.
The larger than life singer, whose life reads like a blues ballad, swaps the bright lights of the stage for a spell behind the microphone sharing some of her all-time favourite music.
In this new six-part series Kaz plays her favourite tracks from artists such as Etta James and Bessie Smith and digs out some classic blues and soul performances from the BBC Radio Ulster archives.
Kaz says: “I think the reason I’m drawn to blues and soul music is the passion and the fact the artist can completely let go of all their inhibitions. And also the vulnerability of the message in the songs. Old blues is raw and was used as a way to vent frustration, so I guess not much has changed in the modern format.
I love the journey of blues and soul, everyone is inspired by it in modern music and I just wish it had a bigger stage in mainstream music. For me, it’s about keepin’ the blues alive.”
On presenting her new radio series, Kaz says: “I’m loving it, though I think I could drive my producer Ralph McLean insane.
He’s very patient with me as talking into a mic at the BBC is a completely different format to singing and telling my stories to a theatre full of people, but I do like to challenge myself so I hope listeners like it too.”
So what can listeners expect from the new series?
Kaz explains: “My journey through blues and soul has been heartbreaking and exciting so trying to fit my favourite tracks into a 30-minute show is making me research the music all over again – from the artists that I love to choosing the right songs so that people can understand why I love blues and soul so much.
I will be playing songs from those who have influenced me most in my own music and telling some cool stories to go with them, about the places I have been to. “Like Etta James who will open the show and the pilgrimage I made to the very place she recorded her music. Hopefully, listeners will relive those memories with me and perhaps they will be inspired, or just dance or sing to the music.
From local legends to international legends of blues, soul and rock’n’roll one thing is for sure, I’m gonna have fun with it.”
Series producer Ralph McLean adds: “I’ve known Kaz for years now and I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone as passionate about soul and blues and the power of music to change lives. She feels these great songs deeply and that voice is just magical. She’s a natural behind the mic as well even though this is her first go at presenting. She’s a star and the love she has for this music is infectious.”
Kaz Hawkins Got The Blues is a McLean Media production for BBC Radio Ulster.
For more info about Kaz go to – Kaz Hawkins