A life devoted to music

Champian Fulton, jazz pianist and singer, will make her Scottish debut at Fife Jazz Festival.
Champian Fulton, jazz pianist and singer, will make her Scottish debut at Fife Jazz Festival.

SHE’S been playing the piano since she was little and her career as a musician began when she was just 12 years old.

Now in her 20s, Champian Fulton is bringing her unique jazz style to the Kingdom for this year’s Fife Jazz Festival.

The New York based singer and pianist is just one of an impressive line-up of artists - both Scottish and international - preparing to take to 15 stages across Fife during the first weekend in February.

And Champian’s trip to the Kingdom is her first visit to Scotland and she’s coming exclusively for the Fife Jazz Festival.

She told the Press: “I’m really excited.

“I have always wanted to come to Scotland.

“It looks like such a beautiful country I’m looking forward to coming and seeing it.

“I think the programming [of the jazz festival] looks really exciting and I look forward to not only working with new musicians, but also hearing new musicians too.”

Champian will be performing at three different venues over the three day festival, which runs from February 1-3.

She will make her Scottish debut at Adam Smith Theatre on the Friday night, when she appears in a night of classic jazz vocals, on the bill wtih Angie King with Ken Mathieson Classic Jazz Orchestra.

On the Saturday evening the Champian Fulton Trio play the Byre Theatre in St Andrews and she finishes off her stint at the annual festival which is now in its sixth year, with an appearance as part of the Champian Fulton Trio with David Blenkhorn and Dan Block in the Lomond Hills Hotel, Freuchie on the Sunday.

Music has always been a big part of Champian’s life, having grown up surrounded by it.

She explained: “I started working professionally when I was 12 but I started playing the piano, trumpet and drums when I was a lot younger.

“I lived in a very musical household.

“My grandmother played the piano, and my dad, Stephen Fulton, played the trumpet.

“Music was just in the house.”

Champian later settled her focus on piano and vocals, and has gone on to enjoy success on both the American and international jazz scenes.

She has been praised as one of the most gifted jazz singers of her generation and has been compared to jazz greats such as Billie Holliday.

And Champian’s visit to Scotland comes at a time when she’s releasing her brand new album, ‘Sings and Swings’.

“It’s officially released on February 1, when I’m in Scotland,” she said.

“It’s my fourth album and this one is a bit different.

“It’s not only my trio band, but there’s also a quartet and quintet with my father and Eric Alexander, on there.

“It’s always very exciting to release an album.

“I’m really happy to have a new CD out because last year was really my first year to do so much travelling.

“I feel like it’s really important to a musician to travel, to meet new people and to share music with new people in different parts of the world.

“This is a CD that sort of relects those travels.”

It’s been a busy 12 months for Champian and it’s set to continue that way in 2013.

She said: “I love all the travelling, both in the US and internationally.

“It’s very inspiring to arrive in a town or country and play to people who haven’t heard me in person, and to meet them and share my love for jazz.

“I was fortunate last year to have many of those moments.”

And the touring continues in the coming months.

Champian added: “In February I’ll be there in Scotland with you guys, then I’m back to the US and then back to Europe for three weeks touring.

“It’s great, I’m getting to visit some countries I haven’t been to before, like Sweden and Belgium.

“I’m looking forward to it.”

This year’s Fife Jazz Festival is bigger and better than ever.

Spread over three days, taking in venues, both large and small, around the Kingdom, there’s a show at this year’s festival to suite everyone’s taste.

A whole host of artists are lined up to take part in the festival, including Mud Morganfield, eldest son of legendary bluesman Muddy Waters; The Norrbotten Big Band; Angie King; The Nimmo Brothers; Carla Cook and her quartet; Red Stripe Band; the John Burgess Select Six and the Arctic Youth Jazz Orchestra.

Full details of the festival programme and tickets are available from venues or by visiting www.fifejazzfestival.com