Rebecca Nelson & The Band of the Welsh Guards – Reverence – Available in New Zealand November 2019
This album is part of a wider initiative to support first responders and NZDF personnel. I have teamed up with some very special friends to establish a new charitable trust called Te Kiwi Māia. The purpose of this album is to raise awareness, support and funds for Te Kiwi Māia who will receive all proceeds from NZ album sales. (Details of UK sales coming soon…)
Our ultimate goal is to establish a homestead similar to Help for Heroes in the UK, where our first responders and NZDF personnel can go for support and respite with access to various services, facilities and activities that promote mental and physical wellness.
TE KIWI MĀIA – The Courageous Kiwi Charitable Trust.
“We are a charity that provides support and respite for first responders and New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel, both current and former, who have physical or psychological injuries as a result of their service to Aotearoa and our communities.”
The Band of the Welsh Guards
It is such a privilege to team up with The Band of the Welsh Guards for this exciting project, but you may be wondering how on earth I managed to secure their services to record an album…
I first met The Band of the Welsh Guards when they traveled to Wellington, as part of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo in February 2016. We formed a strong bond through our mutual love of music and rugby. They were also blown away by my acting skills as I pretended to play the clarinet to make up extra numbers in the marching display. Not one to shy away from an opportunity, I told them that I would love to perform with them one day (as a singer, not a pretend clarinet player).
I kept in touch with some of the lads and in 2018 I was invited to London to sing at their St David’s Day concert at the Guards Chapel. This strengthened our relationship even further and I raised the idea of recording an album together with proceeds going to charity. The band were excited to jump on board and after countless skype calls and emails, followed by sign off from the UK Ministry of Defence, I was back on a plane to London to lay down the tracks.
They are incredibly talented musicians and I have made some very special friendships. Needless to say, they sound incredible and I can’t wait for you to hear them on the album. For now, you will have to settle for this video of our performance in The Guards Chapel.
More info on The Band of the Welsh Guards…
The Band of the Welsh Guards was formed in 1915 in the same year as the Regiment. The musicians in the band are drawn from all over the United Kingdom and are permanently based in London where they have the opportunity to enjoy a varied and challenging musical career. They can regularly be seen at the world famous ceremony of the Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace, as well as at the Nation’s many other State and Ceremonial occasions. The Band has the opportunity to enjoy several diverse performance opportunities and can be seen performing regularly with the Royal Philharmonic and Hallé Orchestras in some of the most spectacular extravaganzas staged in the United Kingdom.
Inspiration behind the album – My friend Poppy
I would like to introduce you to my very special friend, Poppy Pawsey. Poppy is a beautiful soul, she is kind and unassuming with a big heart. We first met in 2013 when she travelled to New Zealand on a long look exchange with the Royal New Zealand Navy Band. I had the pleasure of getting to know her as we toured around the North Island and we became very close friends. She returned to the UK after a 3 month stay but life as she knew it was about to change.
Poppy was medically discharged from the Royal Marines after 12 years of service. Her whole world turned upside down, she lost her purpose and spiralled into a deep depression. Thankfully she was able to get the help she required and I am truly inspired by her strength and courage.
Poppy’s journey led me to Tedworth House, an incredible facility run by the charitable organisation Help for Heroes. Help for Heroes offer lifelong support to those who have suffered injury or illness while serving in the British Armed Forces. As I was walking around Tedworth House with H4H co-founder Mark Elliot, and reflecting on Poppy’s story, I was inspired to create a similar facility here in New Zealand that could be utilised by both our NZDF personnel and First Responders. This is where Te Kiwi Māia was born.
My favourite part about this story is that Poppy features on the album! She had not sung for 3 years after being discharged from the Royal Marines but I managed to convince her to be part of this project. It was such an incredible moment hearing her sing again for the first time in studio, there were many happy tears! She was also amazing support while I was laying down my vocals, her musical knowledge and guidance was invaluable. She has rediscovered her love of music and has performed a number of gigs where she now lives on the Sunshine Coast.
I am so proud of you Poppy, thank you for being my inspiration and supporting this initiative.
He has the voice of an angel and has been my National Anthem buddy on the pitch at a number of All Blacks test matches. He is one of the most genuine people you will ever meet and I feel very blessed to call him a friend. You may recognise him from the amazing group SOL3 MIO or more recently battling it out on Celebrity Treasure Island.
I am so excited to announce that Moses MacKay’s stunning voice will feature on “Reverence”. It was so awesome working with this talented man again and I can’t wait for you to hear the tracks he is singing on. Moses Mackay
First Responder Choir
I recently had the pleasure of meeting NZ Police Commissioner Mike Bush to talk about our vision for Te Kiwi Māia I also mentioned the plan to release an album to start raising money and awareness for the Trust.
He was extremely supportive of the initiative and even offered the services of The Manukau Police Choir! We got some of the team together and put the call out to other first responders to join us in studio, it was so much fun!
I am so honoured to have these amazing people on the album! Thank you so much for jumping on board and supporting Te Kiwi Māia.
Royal New Zealand Navy Band Maori Culture Group
It is no secret that I am extremely proud to be part of The Royal New Zealand Navy, so it gives me great pleasure to announce this next group of amazingly talented singers that will feature on the album “Reverence”.
I have been lucky enough to stand beside some of these special individuals at services and commemorations around the world and they have taught me so much about Maori culture.
It is, of course, The Royal New Zealand Navy Maori Culture Group. It was awesome to have these guys in studio, they always bring so much fun and energy and I love working with them. I can’t wait for you to hear what we have been working on!
Recording at Wellington Barracks – London UK
I would like to introduce you to Keith Farrington and George Hanson from Music House Productions , one of the leading brass band audio recording companies in the United Kingdom. These lovey lads recorded The Band of the Welsh Guards in London for our upcoming album.
Following a successful career in the police service, Keith made the transition into the audio recording industry where he has produced CDs for some of the finest brass bands in the UK. His work has taken him across Europe and even as far as New Zealand where he produced an album with the late Riki McDonnell QSM.
George is Keith’s right hand man, he is an accomplished bass trombone and tuba player and he studied music and sound engineering at the University of Huddersfield. They both bring a wealth of knowledge and skills which complement each other beautifully to produce outstanding world class sound quality.
We chose to work with Music House Productions for this project because of their fantastic reputation and saw them as a perfect fit given much of their recent work has featured military bands within the British Army.
Recording vocals in New Zealand
One of the most important things to consider when recording an album is finding a producer you can trust. So much time and effort goes into planning and preparation so you need a producer who understands your vision and can bring it to life. I was lucky enough to secure the services of talented kiwi producer, Dave Rhodes. With over 20 years of recording, production, performing, and studio management experience, along with a very fine reputation, I was confident that Dave was the right man for the job.
Dave has recently returned to his hometown of Whitianga on the Coromandel Peninsula after six very successful years as the Studio Manager at Depot Sound Recording Studio in Devonport. Prior to this, Dave spent 8 years working at Stebbing Recording Studios where he learnt from some of New Zealand’s top engineers and had the pleasure of recording music for Six60, Topp Twins, Hollie Smith, John Rowles, and many more.
Dave travelled back to Auckland so we could record the vocals at his old stomping grounds, Depot Sound Recording Studio in Devonport. He then returned to his boutique project studio in Whitianga to complete the mixing and mastering.
It was amazing working with Dave, his knowledge and experience really came to the fore and he put me at ease from the minute we walked in the studio. We had so much fun laying down the tracks, working with our special guests and eating way too many sweet treats!
Thanks Dave for all your hard work, you’re an absolute legend!
The man behind the camera
I needed to organise a photo shoot in London for the Album artwork but I didn’t know any photographers over that side of the world, so I put the call out on Facebook to my friends in the UK. Poppy messaged me and said “I know this amazing photographer who I worked with as part of the Invictus games, his name is Theo Cohen”. I thought that’s perfect, there is an instant connection there with Poppy and the military so I jumped online to check out his website.
Premier League football players and stunning luxury lifestyle shots for MINI and BMW grace his home page. I click on the “about” tab to find he has successfully worked with brands, advertising, film and production agencies, including; Pepsi, Adidas, Team GB, Help for Heroes as well as those aforementioned – Wow this guy is the real deal!
I was a little nervous contacting him regarding my little old album given his impressive track record, but I sent through an email telling him about the project. Theo showed a genuine interest and agreed to jump on board.
We met up in a little studio in London and he immediately put his two nervous, amateur models at ease. Theo not only gave great guidance and direction, but also made the shoot really fun! He is an incredible photographer and a kind, genuine person. It was an absolute pleasure working with him.
Thank you Theo, you are amazing! I hope we get an opportunity to work together again in the future.