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The Lovely Laura: On the Upswing

"Hed Kandi parties serve up the very best in treating your eyes and ears to the finest, sexiest artwork and hottest music around!"

Now in its eleventh year on the island, Hed Kandi is the glamorous weekly instalment of house music in the beautiful beachside club Es Paradis. One of the things that makes this night a must-do for party goers is the resident live musicians who take the whole night to a new level, both musically and visually. One of these residents is saxophonist ‘Lovely Laura', who swings from the ceiling in an ivy-bedecked ornate gold throne performing uplifting tracks such as Mark Knight's ‘Man With The Red Face'. Laura has become almost synonymous with Hed Kandi and on the island, but there is a lot more to this professionally-trained musician than what we see each Saturday night. I managed to catch her on the ground to chat about her musical past, married life, Ibiza in the winter and her love for cups of tea.

How did you get involved with Hed Kandi and playing sax in the dance music industry in the first place? Did you always have it in your mind that you'd perform in this genre of music rather than the more classical?

"It was purely by accident. I was studying for a Jazz degree at Leeds College of Music in 1996 and a fellow sax player on my course invited me to take over his resident gig with a DJ in a local bar - something I had never seen before. I loved it! That one gig introduced me to a whole new world of live jamming with DJs which led me to play in some great clubs with some great DJs. Within two years I had gained management and been introduced to Hed Kandi, who at the time only had one live percussionist (the legendary Pav) and who's creator Mark Doyle did not welcome a sax player! I fortunately had an opportunity of playing with Mark and by the end of the gig he actually got on his knees and begged me to join the brand - a moment I will never forget!"

You've been a resident at Hed Kandi for years now, what makes performing at Hed Kandi so special?

"It never fails to deliver! It is the perfect uplifting house party that you just cannot miss on your holiday. You are guaranteed to get some serious musical goose bump moments whilst also being visually blown away by Hed Kandi's outstanding production. The fact that Hed Kandi celebrated its 10th anniversary in Ibiza last year pretty much says it all! The parties serve up the very best in treating your eyes and ears to the finest, sexiest artwork and hottest music around. It is a pure delight to perform here in Ibiza - definitely the best crowds in the world. It's all about the love and I feel that in abundance every week!"

What's it like working with Ben (your husband)? Not many couples work together as well as live together, why do you think it works for the two of you?

"It's the best working with Ben! We understand each other musically so performing together is easy. I think it helps that we both have an understanding of each other and also the music business itself. We love and trust each other. We also give each other plenty of space which I feel is a necessity to make any relationship work. Together we are an incredible team."

Since you moved here permanently a few years ago instead of just coming for the summer months, how do you find Ibiza over the different seasons? What time of year do you love the most out here?

"I love both summer and winter here. I get to spend more time here in the summer as my gigs are mainly based here. The summer is a truly vibrant, high energy time! Hot, sweaty, crazy parties with some truly crazy people living like it's the last day on earth - mental - but I love it!"

"In contrast the winter sees the island revert back to this quaint, quiet little Mediterranean haven. The sun shines most days and the temperature is just perfect. You have the beach to yourself and the supermarket! Maybe it's the fact that I'm getting older but, I find the winter a really special time here. It is paradise."

When you're not swinging from Es Paradis ceiling playing the sax what do you like spending your time doing?

"In my spare time I'm a definite home girl and love pottering about the house. This will sound so English but I love taking a tray of tea on to our roof where I have a 'quiet' spot overlooking the sea. It is truly blissful and makes me stop my crazy schedule for a moment to savour the beauty and tranquillity of this very special island."

What other musical ventures are you involved with at the moment?

"A great new Thursday residency at Ocean Beach Club, San Antonio called Pull The Plug. It is a more acoustic set in the afternoon where I sing as well as play sax alongside Tyrrell (outstanding guitarist, producer who worked with me on the 2011 Hed Kandi Balearica Unplugged album). It's perfect music for chilling by the pool!"

"I also had a track out with Afterlife called 'Rio' that came out on the Cafe del Mar 2012 album, which has recently been released as a single. Also, Ben and I have been in the studio recently collaborating with some great guys - Ridney, Tyrrell and chrisB, so very excited about that."

laurafowles.com

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