Born in Wales and a fluent Welsh speaker (her father was a Welsh language tutor to Prince Charles) but also hailing from French/Italian heritage on her mother’s side, Llio has traversed many branches of the arts both as a singer and TV and theatre actress. A familiar face on the Welsh language TV station S4C as an actress in various soaps, films and drama series as well as a singer with her own welsh language music television series, Llio changed tack in her mid twenties forming an indie rock band called “Llio’s Obsession” (a name bestowed on the band by her drummer Greg Havers, today now an award-winning record producer for the likes of The Manic Street Preachers and Catatonia.) After a few years of gigging, recording and chasing the elusive record deal Llio moved to London and tiptoed into the world of musical theatre culminating in a long-term contract in the acclaimed musical Les Miserables in London’s West End. Some diversifying into a stint as an assistant theatre producer, continuing with various acting jobs in TV and theatre , a side step to qualify from a 4-year Psychotherapy training, as well as a few “lost years” due to illness, culminated in her return to music, writing and singing in 2012.
Her debut album Heat of the Fire, released September 2014 is an intimate and sometimes lyrically raw album, which demonstrates her expressive and captivating three-octave voice. Throughout this confessional narrative of an album, she runs the gamut of her remarkable vocal range from soulful to jazzy to ambient and yet the many textures of her voice somehow transcend easy categorization and demonstrate a unique style.
Her emotive self-penned songs take us on a journey through anger, loss, love and longing, pausing in between tracks to ground the listener with soulful acapella refrains, some of which are sung in Welsh.
Musically, her style, resulting she says from “a broad range of influences”, has an authentic and distinctive sincerity. From the raw pulse of the unadorned tom drum of Power Play, the strident and fuller sounding What Did I Do To You, the elegiac vocals of the haunting I Matter to Myself, the gentle and classic sounding piano ballad Grace, the jazz influenced Deep Waters and Before You, the mesmeric Breathless, to the vocally soulful and slightly eerie quality of the title track, Heat of the Fire, the album presents a kaleidoscope of soundscapes beginning with the stirring vocal opening interlude and ending with the pensive strains of the last song.
Instrumentally, Llio plays piano and violin while other instruments credited on the album are guitar, sax, clarinet, harp, cello and washboard! Various other sounds, programmed by her and her co –producer Dave Kemp, complete the musical landscape.
This well-sequenced album is an independent and noteworthy first offering from this exceptional singer who, through “writing as a release valve”, presents us with an affecting and impressive first album.