Paul talks to jazz pianist and composer, MOBO award winner and Mercury Prize nominee Zoe Rahman about her early inspirations and influences, 'lightbulb moments' and the joy of live performance - from both a performer's and audience member's perspective.
Described in The Observer as “a remarkable pianist by any standard”, Zoe has firmly established herself as one of the brightest stars on the contemporary jazz scene. She won a MOBO Award for best Jazz Act in 2012 and was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize for her 2006 album Melting Pot, which also won Jazz Album of the Year at the UK’s first Parliamentary Jazz Awards.
A vibrant and highly individual pianist and composer, her style is deeply rooted in jazz yet it reflects her classical background, British/Bengali heritage and her very broad musical taste. Known for her powerful technique, wide-ranging imagination and exuberant performance, she has become a highly sought-after musician, working with the likes of Courtney Pine, George Mraz, Jerry Dammers Spatial AKA Orchestra, Martha Wainwright, among many others.
Zoe studied classical piano at the Royal Academy of Music, took a music degree at Oxford University and then won a scholarship to study jazz performance at Berklee College of Music, Boston.