Gettin’ to know you: Wallis

Spitalfields Music Winter Festival 2013.Earlier last year, Wallis Leahy joined the team as our Programmes Apprentice. She’ll be with us for the coming year as part of the Tower Hamlets Cultural Apprenticeship Scheme.

Hello Wallis! So what was the first recording you bought?
Luckily nothing too embarrassing – after wearing out my parents copy, my Uncle gave me some money to purchase my own copy of Michael Jackson’s Bad, forever a classic!

Do you have a favourite musician/composer/artist? And if so, who?
Heavens, can anyone choose a favourite?! I guess I’d have to pick Morrissey for his beautiful way with words, unique character, and how people who may have considered themselves a bit awkward or different finally having someone they felt they could identify with. Pairing with Johnny Marr was a musical match made in heaven, and the music of The Smiths shall remain as a highly discussed influence in pop music.

What was the last gig you went to?
Adam Ant in Birmingham (I actually once dressed up as him!). I’m a huge 80s fan and so was very excited. Adam once sang about people asking him why he “don’t drink, don’t smoke?…” but it was a disappointing moment when he announced that he most certainly did with a few words of profanity before performing the old hit.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
Millions of things! Most kids change their passions which you can usually guess through looking at birthday photos, but I suppose dancing always made me happiest, and is still a secret  dream (well perhaps not so secret now!).

What were you doing before coming to work with Spitalfields Music?
Running a pub in North London. It was an experience which I will always reflect on and it helped me shape my thoughts of what I did/didn’t want from a career. I learnt fast, worked very hard, met an array of characters and developed some skills for life.

What’s the nicest or weirdest gift you’ve been given?
A friend once bought me some fine-liner pens for my birthday, apparently because “I had always wanted some.” Also one year, a can of tuna …

What excites you most about working with Spitalfields Music?
Really getting stuck into community engagement and bringing music to all. There’s nothing greater than seeing people enjoy themselves! Spitalfields and East London in general are such interesting, vibrant and diverse places to be so I’m also really looking forward to exploring them further through our programmes.

Where’s your favourite place in London?
I’ve had so many wonderful experiences since living here I couldn’t possibly choose; I love discovering new places to drink or eat, and referring to Time Out for things to do.

And finally, would you share an interesting fact about yourself with us?
Bit of a morbid answer but I once acted the lead role of a male murderer in the play Bang Bang, You’re Dead based on the American spree killer Kip Kinkel. It was brilliantly challenging!

Look out for more updates from our apprentices Wallis and Ashton on the blog over the coming months.


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