Heather spent her early years in what is now called Hwange National Park, a protected wilderness area in Zimbabwe. Memories of burning, thorny Kalahari sand under bare feet, and living amongst animals that most people will never have the privilege of seeing in the wild, formed within her a great love for the outdoors. This remains a huge influence upon her and her songwriting today.
Some of Heather’s earliest musical memories involve a portable record player and the heavy vinyl of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge over Trouble Water, to which she would spend hours as a young child soaking up the flowing melodies, tight vocal harmonies and intricate lyrics – something she’s loved ever since.
Her teenage years were infused with another of Paul Simon’s albums, Graceland – a huge hit in South Africa, where she spent the next phase of her life. This album, recorded with South African bands Stimela and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, along with the music of Jonny Clegg and Sipho Mchunu (Juluka) cemented in her a love for the rhythms, the complex and layered vocal harmonies, and the mbaqanga sound (perfected by the iconic lead guitar of Ray Phiri) that is one facet of the melting pot of colours, cultures and languages that forms Southern African music. Eric Clapton and Van Morrison were also part of this phase of her musical life, as was Rich Mullins and his Ragamufffin Band. Rich, who chose to live a life of honest and reckless faith amidst a culture of religion and conformity, brought songs to life that accompanied her own faith journey over the years.
In her twenties Heather arrived in the UK with just a backpack and spent time working on some tiny Scottish islands in the Hebrides and Shetland. The windswept wildness and endless horizons were where she felt closest to the African landscape that she had left behind, and it was here that she was introduced to the music of Dougie MacLean. His evocative songs, full of his love for the land proved an inspiration, and along with artists such as America’s James Taylor and Ireland’s Mary Black, further developed Heather’s love of beautifully sung melodies and lyrics. Discovering the work of Suzanne Vega, Tracey Chapman, Sarah McLachlan and of course the indomitable three – Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell and Carole King – grounded for her the place and prominence of the female singer songwriter in the annals of music history.
Over the years Heather wrote songs and played occasional small gigs, mostly in Brighton. In 2010 after having moved to London, she started a part time MMus in Songwriting at BathSpa University in order to put a date on achieving her life goal of writing an album. Finding inspiration and camaraderie in her tutors and fellow students she achieved this goal and then went on to record with Glasgow based film and television composer Malcolm Lindsay. They collaborated together on what has become her debut album, Hindsight, released in May 2014. After focusing on writing and recording she has now started performing regularly, having started the year playing at Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, and the Troubadour, The Gresham Centre and the Bush Theatre in London.