Annie Haslam 
Leading The Renaissance
The distinctive voice of Ms Haslam has led the prog-rock star band Renaissance for many years and ahead of a UK date with Curved Air, Pete had the chance to pitch some questions to the singer:
  • Name an album where in your opinion the tracks are perfectly sequenced – any artist, any style
 BLUE – Joni Mitchell
  •  Which edition of Renaissance is now active and with what personnel?

Annie Haslam – Lead vocals

Rave Tesar – Keyboards

Mark Lambert – Guitars

Leo Traversa – Bass Guitar

Tom Brislin – Keyboard

Frank Pagano – Drums and Percussion

Annie Haslam

Renaissance Band Photos

  • I remember our pal Jim McCarty and the late Keith Relf starting things off…
It was a thrill to meet Keith and Jim on December 31st 1970 at my audition. I learned the song ISLAND from their first album, that song got me the job!
  • The third track on an album is often a gem  – can you think of any?  (artist / title / source album) – as many as you like!!!
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds from Sgt Peppers Lonely  Hearts Club
  • How do you look after your voice?  Any tips for aspiring singers heading for the stage?
I gargle with warm water and a teaspoon of salt an hour before a show to clear out my throat
I drink room temperature water on stage and NEVER eat anything after breakfast until the show is over
I sing along to a 15 minute vocal exercise programme before every show
I do my best to stay away from spicy hot food and coffee, because they are acidic and can harm the vocal chords
  • Suggest a song by any artist that makes you think of the countryside …please add any reasons as to why this might be… 
Morning has Broken. It reminds me of the countryside and the earth
  • Is there a Renaissance album that perfectly sums up a particular stage of your own life, in the lyrics &/or overall sound
Scheherazade and Other Stories
  • A recording that makes you laugh ….intentionally or otherwise! (artist/track/source album)

Sing As We Go – Grace Fields

Reminds me of my childhood and the old black and films

The Laughing Policeman – Charles Jolley

I like to laugh  and this would always work for me

  • An acoustic gem?  What song/tune and who by? What’s the appeal?
Diamonds and Rust – Joan Baez
I listened to Joan before I started singing, she was a big influence on me back then, her voice is superb!
  • Name an actor or actress who made a listenable song recording – and what’s the appeal

Richard Harris – MacArthur Park written by Jimmy Webb. I just find this so romantic and I love Richard Harris’s voice…period!  

  •  Where are you planning to perform next in the UK/Europe?
We are touring the UK now ( and plan to tour UK and Europe again next year 2017
Annie Haslam
  • Which artist did you go to see perform with low expectations but ended up impressed? Where and when was this?
Barry Manilow – Philadelphia – 1990 something. He was an amazing performer but his voice was a gift!
  • Where in the world in your opinion is live music best received? What venues appeal?

I would say the USA… Renaissance played 3 nights at Carnegie Hall in 1975.

  • Has  a radio DJ anywhere (and any era) ever impressed you and if so why?
Ed Sciaky – Philadelphia, WMMR, WYSP, WIOQ, and WMGK. He championed Renaissance from 1972 on. A wonderful radio voice, the listeners loved him, very personable and knowledgeable about music.
  • Can you dance? Do you dance? How do your family rate your dancing?
I have danced and love to dance, not for a while though, last time I really danced was in Brazil… my friends were  impressed! But not the Samba, don’t have the rhythm.
  • Name a recording (an album maybe) that really ‘grew’ on you and has ended up as essential listening?   What is it about this recording that you value?
Jessye Norman singing September from Richard Strauss Last Four Songs.
  • Your favourite song or instrumental (any genre) with the title including the word 1/ ‘Why’,  2/ ‘Who’  and ‘When’ ?
WHY – Annie Lennox
I love Annie’s voice I find this haunting.. in a nice way
  • Suggest a song that reminds you of your childhood –  and why might this be?

If I Loved You – written by Rogers and Hammerstein

My father was an amateur comedian singer and this was one of the songs he sang, that he would rehearse in our home.

  • What have you ever worn on stage that makes you laugh now?

Red Silky mini dress with silver shoes and false eyelashes!

  • Did you enjoy school? Whether you did or not, which song reminds you of schooldays ( artist / title / source album)?

Part of my schooldays I loved but some not so much. In Bolton growing I was plagued by a school bully until we moved to Cornwall then my life was saved and I loved my new school in Fowey it was great. But the best times were at the Art school I went to after that, in Redruth, Cornwall.

I would go to stay with friends in St Ives and go to beach parties and remember walking through the streets with Beachboys songs filling the air.

My faves were God Only Knows  (Pet Sounds) and California Girls (Summer Dreams)!!!

Pete Sargeant

Renaissance will be performing the final date of their UK tour at O2 Forum Kentish Town, London, United Kingdom on Tuesday 26th April 2016. This is a venue change from O2 Shepherds Bush Empire but all original tickets remain valid. For tickets and more information visit their official website here:

(Article Image credited to Brian Tirpak. Thanks Sacha, Alex and of course, Annie)