One Zero Presents has teamed up with Dorothy Ella to bring you Jam Sessions with Dorothy Ella at Dubrek Studios. A cunning little plan that the two of us devised after her appearance at the first Fusion#/One Zero Presents collaboration at Dubrek Studios.

If you’ve not caught Dorothy Ella on the local live scene across Derby, Nottingham and Staffordshire, then you should – and 17th February 2020 is the perfect opportunity to do so.

Dorothy Ella is a solo artist in her own right, as well as having her own backing band for her longer funk/soul sets. She’s an excellent compare on the Open Mic scene, being encouraging, supportive and enthusiastic with veterans and first-time performers alike.

We caught up with her to get a better idea of her background, direction, and intentions for the Jam Sessions with us at the studio…

One Zero Presents: We’ve seen your name here and there over the last year or so making a name for yourself – how did you get into music in such a big way?

Dorothy Ella: It was when I moved home from studying music in Manchester to work in a pub that I realised I need to be doing music to have a sense of fulfilment in life. I started going to the many open mics around Derby, meeting incredible people and musicians such as Mike Hardy, Emma Buckley and Lee Reidy, to name a few, who all made me feel part of their music scene. After seeing everyone’s smiles and success I decided to take a big leap and quit my job to do music full time and I’ve never looked back!

It is hard work at times being self-employed, constantly making sure you have gigs and keeping a positive attitude when things don’t go your way, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I am so lucky to be surrounded by such a lovely community and I’m extremely happy that I get to call this my job!

OZP: Derby appears to have quite a thriving Open Mic scene both on Saddler Gate, and further afield – how supportive are people of each other’s nights?

DE: I have never experienced such a supportive community. It’s a little bubble of musical people that keeps expanding. We all promote and attend each other’s gigs and events when we can and constantly boost our musicians when things are getting tough. I think that’s very important.

OZP: With so many welcoming places that encourage new talent around, what will Jam Sessions with Dorothy Ella at Dubrek Studios be offering to make it that little bit extra special?

DE: Open mics around Derby and ones I run are very inclusive and welcoming so I’d love to keep that aspect but do something different by changing the format slightly. There will be some individual slots still so people are able to showcase themselves but also have a space for everyone to come
together and share some music by playing and singing as a big group.

And of course JAM! You can’t go wrong with snacks, especially if they involve sandwiches and doughnuts!

OZP: How does performing with other musicians (and other musicians that you’ve never met before) help those starting out to improve their performance?

DE: You’re able to learn from other people, whether that is specifically chords of a song or developing a musical ear to know how to adapt your playing skills to gel with other musicians. Performing alongside people can also help improve your confidence by sharing your passion for the song and good vibes with everyone in the room!

OZP: Which three newcomers that you hadn’t seen before 2019 impressed you the most?

DE: Honestly, I couldn’t just name three. I’ve met so many artists over the last year that have impressed me, not just with their musical talent, but with their kindness and generosity towards other people and musicians. So EVERYONE for many different reasons!

OZP: And which artist do you think you’ve seen develop the most across the year?

DE: Again I can’t just choose one! There are a few young regulars at open mics I’ve hosted at The Dog and Moon, Blacksmith’s Lounge and The Coopers Tavern, Burton, that I’ve seen develop immensely in their confidence and ability over the last year. Just of a few of these include (and in no particular order) Milly Ayesha, Mae Monypenny, Jordy Baines, Temari Shirosagi, Max, Connor Pearson, Joe Bates, Eden Lissart-Jones, Leah Wilcox and Jordon Gaynor.

OZP: You played for the first time upstairs at Dubrek Studios under a Fusion# line up – the first time in Derby with your full band – what drew you to returning to Dubrek Studios and One Zero Presents to start a jam session evening?

DE: Dubrek is such a cosy & welcoming venue. The staff, the artists and the audience were all lovely, I felt part of something and could see myself being a part of it all in the future.

OZP: And in the warmer weather, have you any plans to take the evening out back into the garden at all?

DE: Oh, I’d love to get the jam going in the back garden! There’s an amazing gazebo out there with the old Dubrek sign, too! It would be perfect!

OZP: If you could invite any three musicians for jam sandwiches, jam doughnuts and a nice cup of tea, who would they be and why?

DE: Probably Jade Bird – She’s an incredible musician I’d love to talk to her about her music. She seems super friendly and would definitely enjoy a cuppa!

The band Parcels are one of my biggest inspirations – They’re from Australia so I think they’d find a cuppa and jam sandwiches a novelty! Of course, it’d be amazing to soak up some musical knowledge from them too.

I think I’ve already gone over my three musicians limit by choosing a band, but I’m going to go even further and say all of the amazing artists in Derby! I love our little community and I really enjoy hearing everyone’s story of how they got into music, how far they’ve come and it’s great to share that passion with so many people. We’re always performing and appreciating each other’s music but we rarely get time to sit down and have a cuppa together!

OZP: And finally, can you eat a jam doughnut without licking your lips?

DE: Haha! I’ve not tried that in years! Let’s do a competition!

Jam Sessions with Dorothy Ella at Dubrek Studios will be starting on 17th February 2020, followed by March 16th, April 20th and May 18th!