Jill Saward

Jill was born in Tooting, London in 1953. There was never any doubt she was going to be an entertainer, always showing off and trying to steal the limelight at functions and celebrations. When Jill reached 16 she knew it was time to get serious and break into the business. In the seventies women played a small role in the British music scene, there were the pretty pop girls, American soul trio's and aggressive rock chicks with little or no femininity. Jill was a big fan of progressive rock and decided this should be the first style of band she should look for.

The Melody Maker was the musician's bible and all great acts were generally formed from this paper. Jill saw an advert looking for a great male vocalist 'with balls' and thought the job should be hers! Needless to say she got it through sheer cheek and determinationThe band was called Fusion Orchestra and set out to dominate the British club scene from 1969 through to 1972. Fusion Orchestra gained a massive fan base and later secured a recording deal with EMI. Their first album 'Skeleton in Armor' received critical acclaim and is still now regarded a collectors piece and a highly sought after record. In fact Jill herself is looking for an original gatefold copy, any offers?

Jill played a revolutionary role in Fusion Orchestra, she was young, blonde, powerful and above all sexy. The group were banned from many towns because of the explicit stage show, it was press grabbing material, tame stuff looking at it now, but at the time it really was scandalous!! And to think Madonna was still only an twinkle in her mum's eye! After Fusion Orchestra Jill took a completely different road and got involved with an all girl group called 'Brandy' a total change of music, almost bubble gum, but still great fun.

Brandy were snapped up by Polydor who tried to emulate the all girl group 'The Runaways' Brandy spent three years touring the UK and Europe but finally split in 1976. Jill had always written her own material and took a year out developing her songs, whilst in the studios she was singled out for session work by various artists and producers and made a good name for herself on the session scene. A band leader called 'Nicky North' just happened to be recording a soul cover album and decided to offer her a job at the world famous 'Cats Whiskers'. Jill jumped at the chance and once again was thrown into a totally new musical area. The experience she gained with the band was invaluable, every month she recorded a cover album and also backed some of the finest American soul and cabaret artists of the the seventies. During one of their shows a French producer from 'Orpheus Productions' decided Jill was the ideal female vocalist to build a super group around.

The french production team had a dream to create a female pop sensation that would be as big as 'The Beatles'. There was five girls, Jill's image was to be a wild gypsy, and the other characters were an American cheerleader, a space queen, a sporty type and a cute baby looking type, does that sound a little familiar? Well it was back in 1979, the Spice Girls was also still eggs in their mums tums! The band was called 'Citizen Gang' and yes, you'll find some rare footage on this web site.

Jill still kept her ties with Nicky North and the band and continued making cover albums. Nigel Wright and Roger Odell were also in the band, and it was through them Jill got to record some vocals on an experimental track called 'Steppin' which of course went on to be Shakatak's first white label single. Shakatak were born and Jill was asked to be part of the group and embark on a national tour.

Jill has been with the band since 1980 and if you check out their site on www.shakatak.com you'll get further information and see the group are still making great records and still touring the world. Although 'Shakatak' are busy year in year out, Jill still manages to find time to get involved in her new passion which is developing new artists for her production company FSP. Jill has several new and exciting acts lined up for future stardom, but she's not moving out of the spotlight just yet, Jill has just announced her first solo album is due for release on October 25th, she hopes to back the release with a selection of UK dates to be confirmed. Jill moves so quickly and seems to be involved in so many different projects it is impossible to end this biography, so I will just sign off until the next update, I'll keep you posted!