Belgian Brasserie music winners

Music at the mills with Belgian Brasserie

We talk to the winners of Belgian Brasserie’s Open Music Programme

The Belgian Brasserie in Merton Abbey Mills hosts an Open Music Programme to provide a platform for music lovers, students or musicians in their early career to practice and gain more public performance experience. We talk to this year’s winners, Hannah Grimes (vocals) and Jack Dennis (guitarist and singer songwriter)…

What age did you both start to sing?

Hannah: I have been singing since I can remember. My mum has home videos where she starts a song and I finish it off with a big note looking for the applause! She says I used to scream until I was put in front of Songs of Praise as a baby so I could sing along. In terms of singing in public, I think high school was the first time I really sang to an audience. I remember it well, it was The Power of Love by Celine Dion and I was around 14/15. I didn’t really have the confidence until then but I had a great music teacher who was really supportive, and pushed me to perform in front of the school for an assembly.

Jack: My earliest memories are of singing Frank Sinatra with my grandad on holiday when I was around 10 years old. His favourite was My Way and I remember it well as he would always find to change the lyrics to  ‘I did it ‘Side Ways’. I have always had a passion for singing but didn’t really start performing until I was 21. It was when I met my housemate at university in Portsmouth, who was a songwriter, that I was inspired to start writing songs myself and I didn’t play my first gig until I was 23.

Where do you come from/live and where did you go to school?

We both grew up in Cheam and attended the same school at Cheam High School but didn’t meet until last year when we both decided we wanted to get more serious about music. Jack was in a local bar one night where he met my parents and, after they mentioned to him that I was a singer, looking to turn professional, Jack gave them a business card after hearing me sing on my mum’s phone. He said he would write a song for me and since then, we have been inseparable  – and are also now part of a full band with a guitarist, drummer and bass guitarist.

What do you want to do going forward?

We are currently working on our album and performing as much as we can – 2020 will be a busy year for the band. We put our spin on classics from artists such as The Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin and Marvin Gaye (to name a few) and we also perform original music inspired by these artists. Keep an eye out for us as we will be doing plenty of local gigs around Cheam, Sutton and Carshalton.

The end goal is to be able to share our original music with the world and connect with people.

What do you want to achieve?

Hannah: I would love to create songs that people can listen to and get lost in. The same way I have related to so many songs in the past. There is nothing that beats that connection you have sometimes with a melody/words that can lift you up, take you back to place in time, or help you come to terms with whatever you are experiencing at that moment.

Jack: I want to bring all of my ideas to life through myself and other artists. Music has done so much for me and I want to give back to the art as well as inspire others to do the same. Becoming a full time musician can be hard work and in the early stages it takes a lot mentally to keep going with the amount of work you need to put in but my advice to anyone who is going down the same path just KEEP BELIEVING and follow your heart and the rest will take its place… Things just happen when you work hard!

What are your goals for the future?

We want to be able to share our music with the world. We want the world to return to its roots with music that has raw passion and a story; whether that is anecdotal or making a social commentary about today’s society. Music can be a powerful force for change and a lot of change comes from inspiration. We want to be that inspiration.

Photo credit: (c) Abbey Mill Studio

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