Jacqui Stephens

Rochdale, Greater Manchester

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“I was not brought up in a musical family and the only way I was going to
achieve success was to believe in myself and put my nose to the grind-
stone, work very hard and learn about an industry I knew nothing about. I
learnt many mistakes along the way, but believe this has made me a much
stronger person and an overall better artist.”

Born on the 5th March, Jacqui Holt grew up in the small town of Rochdale,
Lancashire, the very same town as the famous Soul sensation, Lisa Stans-
field, with whom she became friends. Jacqui also worked with the
comedian Bobby Ball at the Braces Nightclub in Rochdale, which has now
been demolished. Jacqui and Lisa, while in a school production recorded
some of the songs from ‘SCHITZOPHRENIA’ at the famous Tractor Music/
Cargo Studios/Suite 16 in Rochdale, where the likes of Joy Division and other
famous bands have previously recorded. Jacqui was also a member of the
famous Debrose Ladies Choir.

Jacqui is currently signed to the Swedish Management/Label, Billberg Enter-
tainment Ltd/Twaang Records, where her album ‘FREE SPIRIT’ which was
completed in December 2011 has been distributed and on sale globally.
This album was written, produced and funded by herself, which was a

struggle considering she has not performed live for 2 years. The album is
very different from the material she usually sings. A natural powerhouse
vocalist, Jacqui struggled to keep her powerful vocals under control whilst
recording this album. The song ‘UPON REFLECTION’ from the album has al-
ready been played on rotation at Butterflies Radio, which is based in Florida
and Australia, also on rotation at ImsRadio, which covers the InStore retail
chain and seems to be the world favourite on her Reverbnation page.
The song ‘FREEDOM’, also from the album was listened to by BBC Manch-
ester producers, but unfortunately did not receive airplay.

“The album is a lyrical wonder, a lament of deep emotion. Most topical on
matters of the heart and very touching. The impression given is that her
soul was singing and the lyrics coming straight from her heart. It is
peppered with grief and sadness, which provokes very strong emotions in
the listener.” (Aisha Shah)

Jacqui then decided to contact the FEEL GOOD CAFÉ EMPORIUM in Rochdale
where she did her first live performance in 2 years, in January 2013, singing
some of her favourite covers and original songs from her album. In February
2012, Jacqui was invited to audition in front of the judges in Birmingham for
Britain’s Got Talent, the day before she was to sign with the Label. In
October 2010, Jacqui was offered a 5 year recording contract with a Label in
Milton Keynes, but decided not to sign after seeking advice from Martin at
Gracielands studio.

In October 2009, Jacqui decided to produce, record and fund her own covers
album called ‘ALL COVERED UP’. She initially recorded 6 tracks at Lisa
Stansfields recording Studios, Gracielands, in Rochdale. After recording the
6 tracks, Jacqui decided that she did not like the direction and shape the
songs were taking. They were starting to sound over-produced, and her
intention was to have the songs sound as vocally natural as possible, so they
could be re-created at a live performance.

In December 2009, Jacqui then went to Studio Studio Recording in Whitworth
Rochdale, where she started to record her covers album again from scratch.
She originally recorded 22 tracks, but chose only 18 for the completed album.

“I specifically stated that I did not require the use of auto-tuning, Cubase or
Pro-tools on my album. I had one track out of the 18, subtly double-tracked,
but echo, reverb and delay were used on all my tracks”.

She recorded a lot of different songs from different genres to show the

versatility of her vocals and that her voice could adapt to different styles.
Jacqui’s cover album ‘ALL COVERED UP’ was completed in 2010. This album
was also produced and funded by herself.
Jacqui’s goal now, is to work with her Management/Label with the view to
promoting and selling her first ever original songs album and eventually hit
the mainstream charts.

In December 2005, Jacqui appeared on the X Factor live final, along with 9
other unsuccessful auditionees, singing a line each from ‘MY WAY’ by Frank
Sinatra. This was a great experience and gave her an insight into singing live
on television. In 2004, Jacqui completed her BTEC National Certificate in
Music Practice at the Oldham College, Lancashire, covering everything from
music technology to putting a band together from scratch and performing live
at the Grange Arts Theatre in Oldham, Lancashire. Jacqui gained a double
grade distinction distinction for this course.

In 1999, Jacqui appeared on the Trisha Show as a Celine Dion look/sound-
alike, where an audience member requested that she sang a few lines of the
the ‘Titanic’ song.
‘This was a great experience and my first real taste of live television’.

Jacqui’s natural talent manifested itself at the age of 7, when she did her
first live performance on Blackpool Pier, with her younger sister singing ‘It’s
a good ship lollipop’. At the age of 8, she joined the school choir. At the age
of 10, she watched ‘Opportunity Knocks’ and was very much influenced by
the young Lena Zavaroni to pursue a career in music. Jacqui’s father bought
her Lena Zavaroni’s first vinyl LP and she learnt that once she could
reproduce the big vocals, she knew what she wanted to be. Although Jacqui
had this powerful vocal talent, her parents could not support her in the way
they probably would have liked, due mainly to the lack of financial resources,
but this did not deter her and made her even more determined to pursue her

Jacqui grew up with musical influences, such as, the Beach Boys, the
Stylistics, the Original Platters, the Three Degrees, Michael Jack-
son, Demis Roussos, Abba etc. but none of these really influenced her music-
ally or vocally. She was more influenced by the big powerhouse vocalists of

the time such as, Shirley Bassey, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Celine
Dion, Leann Rimes and more recently, Charice, Jessie J and Demi Lovato.
From the age of 13, she was writing her own lyrics, which she still has today.
At the age of 14, Jacqui’s mum entered her into a local talent competition,

where she came 2nd. After her performance, her mum was approached by the
concert secretary, who told her that Jacqui would be brilliant with a big
orchestra behind her. To this day, she has yet to experience singing with a
big orchestra.

At the age of 15 Jacqui had a residency at a local venue called ‘The Lamp-
Lighters Club, under the stage name of Jay C. She was also singing in various
pubs and clubs throughout the Northwest. Jacqui had an agent at that time,
but due to a bad experience, she decided to embark on getting her own gigs,
which was most certainly a big challenge.

At the age of 18, while singing in Dukes Nightclub, where she worked behind
the bar and did a resident spot on a Thursday evening, she was approached
by Paul from Pennine Sound Studios in Oldham, Lancashire to put her vocals
down on some cover songs by Brenda Lee. Unfortunately, Jacqui was full of a
cold on the day of the recording, so the vocal quality was not very good.

In her early 20’s Jacqui then decided to join a local band called ‘DRIVE BY
NIGHT’, which she had to audition for. The band covered many songs by
different artists, such as Bruce Springsteen, Feargal Sharkey, Alison Moyet
etc. After a few years of doing the club circuit, Jacqui decided to give it up
because she did not want to be known as a club/cabaret singer. She was
looking more at becoming a singer/lyricist/recording artist.

Throughout her music career, Jacqui has auditioned for a lot of talent shows
such as ‘Opportunity Knocks’, ‘Tiswas’, ‘Star for a Night’, ‘Britain’s Got
Talent’, X Factor etc.

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