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Why we started a vocal group performing R&B covers

Guilt Trippin' is a vocal harmony group covering R&B classics from the 80s to now, formed by Lyndsey-Marie, Michelle and Jodie. The group recently won an Inspirational Women of Portsmouth award in the arts category.

Guilt Trippin’ is a three-piece vocal harmony group covering R&B songs from the 80s through to the present day.

Lyndsey-Marie is a 35-year-old mother of four, who as well as managing the band also runs her own beauty business from home,  and is the group’s choreographer and rap queen. Michelle Price, 30, is a mother of three who has her original music available on Spotify and Apple. And Jodie, 34-year-old mother of two, is a vocal tutor with the UVG (Urban Vocal Group), a charity that offers music-making opportunities for children aged 11 to 19.

Below, we hear from the members of Guilt Trippin’ on what it’s like to be in a vocal group and how the group formed.

Friendship and love of music

Guilt Trippin’ was born out of a real friendship and love of music. Realistically at some point in our teenage years, we had all dreamed of becoming performers/professional singers but life somehow took us on very different journeys.

Guilt Trippin' vocal group

Lyndsey grew up in South London with a background in musical theatre and toured local theatres as a child, performing alongside Sir Simon Callow in The Wind in the Willows at Fairfield Halls and performing with her school band, Dark Vibes for a Tribute Concert to Lady Diana.

Michelle has been singing from a young age and would always perform at family events as a party piece. She has performed in the West End and been scouted for The Voice and such other TV shows. In recent years she has had her own music featured on mainstream programmes such as Love Island.

Jodie grew up in a pub and would sing along to the jukebox often performing for the punters. She is a member of The Lily Band along with Lyndsey and has performed solo sets in and around Portsmouth.

As friends with musical backgrounds, we would always find ourselves harmonising songs when they would come on the radio or in the car.

Read more: What it’s like to be in a band

We are all lucky enough to have contributed individually or with other projects/bands to the local music community where we live in Portsmouth and because of that we soon realised there was a gap in the market for old school and current R&B covers. This was when we decided Guilt Trippin’ would be a real niché to explore.

Our day to day (out of lockdown)

We usually rehearse on a Monday/Wednesday where we will go over set lists and brush up on song arrangements. We also discuss costume designs and choreography at our rehearsals but if we have a big show coming up that requires a full band rehearsal and dance run through we would do this on a Saturday.

Guilt Trippin' vocal group

Most weeks we have small scale pub/event gigs on a Friday and Saturday night and we will adjust our sets according to the audience demographic. If it’s at a nightclub we would stick to a 90s old school set with some Little Mix, Rihanna or Bruno Mars thrown in. Some of our venues have an older crowd so we will sing our 80s covers from Aretha, Whitney and Luther Vandross.

Throughout the summer we will have some big staged, choreographed shows. These are our favourite as we get to really perform and put on our own mini-concert experience.

Lyndsey is our social media frontwoman and she mans the emails and liaises with clients, employees or anyone that gets in contact through our website. Lyndsey also deals with bookings and invoices. We run our own business and are all self-employed vocalists with no agency doing our paperwork or admin.

What’s great about being in a band

We absolutely love being in a band.

Guilt Trippin' performing

Jodie says: “It’s great to have company, laughter and getting to spend time with your best friends is amazing, More ideas with more heads and the Harmonies are lush.”

Michelle says: “Having the support on stage and the fact it’s my besties makes it so much more fun”.

Lyndsey adds: “I always feel like we get to relive our childhood dreams, doing something we love that brings us so much joy and laughter. We’ve also grown together and learned so much about our friendship, business and our voices.”

In our element

When we perform it’s like we are doing the thing we were always meant to do. Our voices have developed together and it feels comfortable. Before our choreographed shows we always get butterflies with anticipation and within minutes of being on stage, we just succumb to the moment and enjoy being in our element.

Guilt Trippin' performing

As nice as it is, sometimes mixing business and pleasure is a recipe for disaster. We think alike and have similar ideas and viewpoints but there has been that 1/100 time that we are in disagreement and we are all headstrong and stubborn so getting any one of us to compromise can result in entertainment on another level.

Jodie is probably the easiest to back down but one of the best parts of this journey so far has been learning to understand each other and know our personal and professional levels and boundaries.

Love and laughter are so present in our relationship and our work ethic that we’ve all developed the ability to be able to assess situations before they arise and look out for one another as a collective and as best friends.

Dealing with trolls

Adding on from that, being in a band or just in this industry can be so competitive. We love women and we advocate for body and mindset positivity and empowerment but unfortunately, not everyone will share your views or opinions. This can cause catty comments, online trolling, negative feedback etc.

We have had to deal with some negativity in the past and we wouldn’t want to lie and say it doesn’t affect us but our one piece of advice is to have a clear strong belief in yourself and know your own worth. We believe anyone can achieve exactly what they want to so long as you have a strong sense of your own capabilities and you keep going. Never give up and remember for one bad review there will be a hundred amazing ones. Don’t obsess or dwell.

Our influences

Growing up and currently, we all have many different band influences.

For Michelle, it’s The Spice Girls, Destinys Child, Sugarbabes, Little Mix and N-sync.

Jodie loves cheesy boy bands like Westlife, anything soulful, and Adele is her idol.

Lyndsey is influenced by The Jackson 5, BSB, Fleetwood Mac, Evanescence, 112, Blackstreet, 3LT, No Doubt, Misteeq, TLC, Destinys Child, Blackpink, Rak Su, Mic Lowry and loves JLS.

Our repertoire is forever growing. We started with some classic well-known cover songs that we loved but also knew everyone would know things like No Scrubs – TLC, Superstar – Jamelia, Shackles – Mary Mary.

Over the last two years, we have tried songs that ended up not sounding great or not really working for the audience and we’ve also tried some suggestions given to us by followers or family members that we would never have suggested but they are now firm favourites. I think we try to stick to our R&B genre but we do deviate a little and sing some songs that are soul/funk and also some rap/pop songs too. We all make suggestions often if we’ve heard a song on the radio or in a film.

Our advice to any young person with a dream is…

Michelle: “Never let anyone or anything stop you from doing something you love.”

Jodie: “Do it now, don’t wait! Fail, then get back up and keep trying and never stop learning. Dream big and aim high.”

The vocal group receiving an Inspirational Women of Portsmouth Award

Lyndsey: “If you have a dream, write it down in as much detail as you can. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what it is you want to achieve. Work out the tools you will need to make it happen and then go for it. People will most definitely tell you that you’re silly and that ‘you can’t’ but the truth is you can. Take any negativity and use it as a catalyst for never giving up and proving to yourself and the world that dreams do come true.”

If we could go back and give ourselves one piece of advice it would be…

Michelle: “Knock down that wall, the world is so much more beautiful when you can see it.”

Jodie: “You are enough, stop doubting and be more confident and comfortable with yourself and who you are. It’s ok to be unique.”

Lyndsey: “You will always feel misunderstood but as long as you understand yourself you’ll be fine. Stay true to yourself always, listen to people when they need to speak but remember to speak up and use your voice because it’s important and valid. When relationships and situations have more of a negative impact than a positive one don’t be afraid or ashamed to protect yourself and walk away. Enjoy the ride.”

Follow Guilt Trippin’ on Instagram at @guilttrippinband

Bex Bastable
Bex Bastablehttp://bexbastable.co.uk
Bex is a journalist and the co-founder of The Women's Work Collective.


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