Freelance singing teacher and soprano, April Grime visited the huddled office to tell us about her business and expertise in the arts.
April Grime – Soprano Transcript
What’s your name, position and where do you work?
My name’s April Elizabeth Grime. I’m a freelance soprano and singing teacher.
Describe your business in one sentence.
I’m a versatile operatic soprano and I offer entertainment and music education in the North West.
What separates you from the competition?
I think as a singer it’s my acting skills. I consider myself as a singing actress so I definitely work from the idea that you don’t just stand and sing, you’ve got to tell the story of the music. As a teacher, and as a singer, I do a lot of different genres and I thinks it’s my versatility that does help me to have a wider audience. For example, this weekend I’m singing for a male voice choir and I’m singing operatic arias and musical theatre pieces and then the next gig, I’m going singing a James Bond themed set so I like to try and keep it as versatile and open as possible.
What have been the highlights of your company so far?
I would probably say this year has been my biggest year. I sang as a soloist at Llangollen International Eisteddford with the North Wales Opera Studio. I also sang my first professional role with an operatic company, Opera Seria in Manchester. I played Zerlina in Don Giovanni and that was a production that actually won an award at Buxton Fringe Festival. And, as a teacher, I have recently had my first exam set that I entered, I got 100% pass rate so I’m very pleased with that.
What qualities are needed to succeed in your industry?
I think you need tenacity and perseverance because this is quite a competitive industry and I think in the same way, you need that creativity to understand actually who you are as a singer or as a creative person. What makes you special and what can you offer?
Why do new businesses choose Manchester?
I think that it’s got quite a lot to do with the people of Manchester and the north, it’s that warmth and that friendliness, so the connections that you can make quite well, working relationships. Of course, music-wise there’s such a long history of excellence and wonderful art spaces like the RNCM and Manchester University and all the theatres that we have. And the fringe scene, as well, is really brilliant in Manchester.
Who are some local companies you would recommend?
As a teacher of younger children for performing arts skills, I would say Helen’s Angel’s Performing Arts Academy in Bury, works very, very hard with very young to middling age children on building a really good solid basis for their performance skills. I also know of another company called Time Saving Heroes which I would really recommend to a lot of freelancers like myself who are just on their own managing directors of their company and they do ad hoc social media and admin work for you. Whatever it is you need, they try and get that done for you while you’re out there, actually working in your field.
Who do you think are the most influential people in the local business scene?
From what I know of my industry, I would probably say the opera companies: Opera Seria, City of Manchester Opera and Heritage Opera who are all bringing big operatic works to accessible stages. So trying to get my artform out there more in the North.
Do you have any advice for new businesses in Manchester?
I think there’s a lot to be said for the power of asking. People want to help people, especially if it doesn’t cost anything so I would say getting into the smaller towns around Greater Manchester, something as simple as advertising in the town centres for your business. Just build up a bit of a base of a network and gets your name sort of, ‘ooh, I recognise that name and I recognise that service’. So I think using the network of Greater Manchester really does help for a start up in Manchester.
What’s the main benefit of working in Manchester?
I think again I would say the people and the working relationships that I’ve created very, very quickly with lots of different people, it’s that warmth that the Northern spirit brings.
Where are your favourite places to eat and drink in Manchester?
Oooh, so I would say Pie and Ale in the Northern Quarter because I love my pie and I recently discovered The Wharf Pub at Slate Wharf. It’s just on the canal and it’s a lovely place to go and drink in the beer garden in the sunshine.
Thank you for watching my name’s April Elizabeth Grime. I’m a freelance soprano and singing teacher and this was huddled.