About Alyss

Alyss Rose McBirney is a versatile vocalist who sings a range of styles with a specialism in jazz, Bossa Nova, and Latin styles. Alyss has a special interest in vocal harmony singing, arranging, and choir directing. Alyss began studying music in 2000 and since then has performed with many bands and accompanists at venues ranging from bars to festivals. She grew up in the small Pennine town of Colne and now lives in Manchester where she enjoys the city’s vibrant music scene.

Alyss studied Popular Music and Recording at the University of Salford, but before this she had already received a good grounding in musical improvisation from her dad, whose eclectic tastes introduced her to wide range of music from around the world including quite a bit of jazz. Alyss’s mum was a club folk singer in the 1960s, and passed on a love of acoustic guitar and voice.

Some important influences:

Listening to the Singing Detective soundtrack at a young age gave Alyss her first taste of the music of the 1930s and 1940s, introducing her to artists such as The Andrews Sisters, The Ink Spots, Anne Shelton, and Duke Ellington.

In her teenage years Alyss was introduced to the world of Bossa Nova and Brazilian music, encompassing artists such as Joao Gilberto, Astrud Gilberto, Stan Getz, and AC Jobim. Joining a local samba band also gave Alyss a good grounding in the basics of samba percussion.

Later while working as a waitress Alyss discovered the music of Joni Mitchell and fell in love with her songwriting and lyrical expression.

Alyss first felt the joy of singing in foreign languages at an African singing workshop at a festival as a child. This was further developed during her A-Level studies when she learned classical pieces in Italian and French, and then later through her work with Diáspora singing Latin American songs in Spanish and in Beleza singing Brazilian music in Portuguese.

Alyss’s current projects

Alyss McBirney Jazz

Alyss sings a selection of jazz, blues, soul, and bossa nova, working in the following formats: Duo (with piano/guitar), Trio (with piano/guitar and bass) or quartet (with piano/guitar/bass/drums). Musicians Alyss works with include Hugo Corbin, Chris Manley, Simon Mulcaster (guitar), Ed Harrison, Grant Russell, Matt Owens (bass), Andrzej Baranek (piano).

The Voice Collective

Alyss is one third of the alto section in this dynamic group of singers from the Manchester area who create unique a cappella interpretations of a wide variety of musical styles.

www.thevoicecollective.co.uk

Beleza

This group featuring Alyss on vocals, Julian Harris on guitar, and Nicki Dupuy on double bass perform a repertoire of classic Brazilian songs and their own original Brazilian-influenced songs.

www.myspace.com/belezamanchester

Diáspora

Alyss sings joint lead vocals in this exciting 11 piece Latin-Jazz big band who play mainly Cuban music, but also venture into Brazilian and other Latin music.

www.diasporamusic.co.uk