A SKELMORLIE woman from a musical family has become an international singing success.

Now, Amanda Fahey may be heading back from her home in Paris to be part of the Scottish Jazz Festival next year.

Skelmorlie Primary Dancer turned singer, Amanda went to school at Skelmorlie Primary, then St Columba’s in Gourock. She is the youngest daughter of the late BBC orchestra leader Brian Fahey and mum Audrey who was also a singer, and was a director with Largs Players.

Amanda’s sister Laura lives in Wemyss Bay with her four sons and she has many friends in the area.

Since moving to Paris almost 20 years ago Amanda married a Frenchman and they have a 15 year old daughter Ashley.

Part of her influence in becoming a professional singer was that the family all knew living singing legend Shirley Bassey for whom her father was musical arranger.

She said: “We all knew Shirley when we were small and watched dad conduct her concerts in London before we moved up to Scotland. I used to sing her songs when I was about 3 or 4.

“I am in the final round for the Glasgow jazz fest listening commitee for 2014, and my musicians are so excited at the prospect of coming over to play, in which case I will also try to organise a mini tour, even pub gigs back in Largs to make it worth the trip.” Love Learns To Swim Amanda Fahey’s “Love Learns To Swim” is an album that marries her many years of experience as a singer in Paris, her talent as a songwriter and a homage to her roots.

Her father, Brian became a ‘Big Band’ composer and arranger, her mother, Audrey, was a singer and dancer, and her grandfather was a cello player.

She said: “I grew up surrounded by music, and my record collection, by the age of ten, was an eclectic mixture of artists, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, James Brown, but also Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Harry Connick Jr.

“I was a student of classical ballet and loved classical composers attached to the dance world like Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev.

“I wanted to be trendy and listen to the records my friends were buying, but I had my own secret world, of listening to music that moved me.” Amanda who danced and sang in shows with Largs Players added: “As a dancer I was very influenced by the golden age of Hollywood, and to this day I still devour the films I watched growing up; my icons were Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse.

“I remember having a bit of an epiphany when I saw a concert with Yehudi Menuhin, the classical violinist and Stéphane Grapelli, the jazz violinist, playing together. I went and spent my pocket money on a Stéphane Grapelli record. My passion for jazz has never ended!” Amanda moved from Skelmorlie to Paris after an audition to dance in a cabaret troupe. The big band leader Steve Johnson, gave her a job singing with the New York/Paris big band and the rest, as they say, is history.

Jazz and blues After several different jazz and blues projects, where she developed her talent as a singer and harmonica player, she recorded the CD ‘Dreaming’, a mix of standards and original compositions. She was then signed by Universal records for a techno dance project, with the group Equalik. Stage performances with several European stars (Pascal Obispo, Andreas Boccelli) followed.

Amanda is also an experienced actress and, after various stage shows, a role was written for her to star in the award winning musical Jusqu’aux Dents. Through this experience she met with a new group of French musicians and was asked to join the jazz sextet, Sweet System. With this group Amanda has performed in many prestigious jazz festivals in France, Belgium, Morroco and Brazil.

Now she has a quartet and fed by her experience in Brazil, the result is the CD ‘Love Learns To Swim’, her first solo jazz album including new original compositions, and a healthy dose of swing and Latin favourites.

“I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to sing and grow, surrounded by wonderful jazz musicians here in Paris. I’m frustrated not to have nine lives like a cat, there is so much I still want to say with my music,. Music is a wonderful addiction and I’m happy to be that kind of junkie!” ”This album is simply a postcard of my life right now and music is my way of communicating. I hope that people listening to this album will appreciate the sincerity of the melodies and the words. I hope that my songs touch someone, somewhere, sometime and that they can connect and think “Yes! That’s exactly how I feel”.

François Lacharme, President of the French Jazz Academy commented: “Amanda Fahey, a voice into which one reads like an open book...and who can also swing, as you’ll discover on the other tracks of the album “ Love Learns to Swim”” Love Learns To Swim album is available through her site, www.amandafahey.com or as a digital download (itunes/ amazon etc).