Claire is somewhat left of centre to your regular diva soprano. She will relish in the beauty of singing or playing harmony lines on the French horn, accompanying on the harp, or writing and arranging music of her own. She is always on the look out for a new musical venture! They all bring her so much joy, but none surpass the joy of singing in close a cappella harmony with others. Claire is passionate about many styles of music, performing genres such as classical, pop, soul, traditional Scottish, Irish, Swedish and German folk, and especially, jazz. These broad interests have led her to perform internationally with choirs and orchestras, performing with artists such as Bobby McFerrin (her hero), the Rolling Stones, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and James Morrison. She has performed at many of Australia’s wonderful folk festivals with award-winning Celtic folk group Co-cheòl.
Claire wants everyone to experience the endorphins and friendship that singing in a group can bring, and is on a mission to get everyone she meets singing! When she’s not singing or playing, Claire can be found doing tumbling classes at the local circus arts school (probably trying to inspire her classmates to sing), or practicing handstands against the wall in her living room.
Leonie’s first word was duck, very soon after she started singing. As a child she could often be found singing to herself or her neighbours on top of her cubby house. She began her formal singing career at the age of 10 when she joined the Young Voices of Melbourne, under the direction of Mark O’Leary. She has sung with the Choir of Trinity College Melbourne and Polyphonic Voices, where she met some of her fellow Velvetones. She’s very excited about exploring her jazzy side with The Velvetones – finally a chance to wear something other than black on stage! By day she works as an accountant, by night, she’s a sassy, sexy Velvetone.
Born into a fabulously musical family, Steph began singing around the same time she began talking. Surrounded by a family of divas that loved singing the melody, Steph developed a passion for everything BUT the melody. She couldn’t believe her lucky stars when she was selected to be a part of Gondwana voices at the age of 12. It was here that she met fellow Velvetone, Claire!
Steph joined the Royal Australian Navy Band at the age of 17, which widened her musical world to include rock, pop, funk, soul, and of course…jazz. The Navy has given her countless opportunities to perform nationally and internationally to wide audiences. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and Anzac Days in Gallipoli and Belgium have been highlights of her career.
Predominantly a soloist, Steph was desperate to head back to her harmonising roots, and jumped at the chance to join with these fabulous girls to create the Velvetones!
Stephanie Firth refuses to answer to ‘The other Stephanie in that fabulous jazz group’, thank you very much! With an off beat sense of humour and nearly off-puttingly low bass notes like very few women can bring, Stephanie offers an ‘off’ul lot! Stephanie’s musical career has been shaped by her great love of musical theatre, singing with some of Melbourne’s finest choirs including Polyphonic Voices, and her current position as one fourth of the Celtic folk group Co-cheòl. No one really wants to take responsibility for how her sense of humour turned out, so we’ll say no more there. Her interests outside of music and bad wordplay include scuba diving, bats, and Japanese food.