Former Glastonbury headliner to perform live memoir of her life from Sheffield in May

Written by Michael Jones

A musician who has survived numerous near-death experiences will be launching a live concert in Sheffield at the beginning of May.

Sarah Jay Hawley, 53, who has collaborated with Massive Attack, Toni Christie and many others has spent the last few years recovering from a stroke, breast cancer and a car crash.

Her show, ‘Zenn, Drugs ‘n’ Rock ‘n’ Roll’ is a memoir of her life including music, spoken word, found sound and visual art, and will be live-streamed from the Theatre Deli in Sheffield commencing what Ms Hawley hopes to be part of a national tour.

The stroke had a huge impact on her life, making it even more incredible that she will be performing so-soon, she said: “My stroke left me partially sighted, and totally floored me for a few years. I was told I may never read again.”

Having received funding from the Arts Council of England, the lockdown has forced the cast for the show to cooperate through plenty of ‘intense zoom meetings and band-lab creations’ ahead of an eagerly awaited return to performing live, something that Sarah Jay Hawley has done in the British Electronica scene over the past three decades.

With a 90% female cast assembled for the gig, the show will document the extraordinary life of the singer who has headlined the Glastonbury Pyramid stage and whose voice can be heard in the film, The Matrix.

In line with International Women’s Day today, those following the show will be delighted to hear that Sarah Jay will be hosting a podcast series after the show with female artists looking into how music and creativity has helped them with their well-being and mental health.

Sarah Jay Hawley with former Massive Attack Horace Andy at Mt. Fuji

Covering five decades of her life, the largely female cast was deliberately chosen by Ms Hawley: “It was an inversion of my experience in the music business, this was really important to me.”

Having to deal with the stroke, cancer and car-crash in the space of two years, the vastly talented musician has recently returned to teaching at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute (BIMM) as she continues on her road to recovery.

Having also been diagnosed with ADHD, Sarah Jay Hawley has attributed acceptance of what’s happened to her to being key, saying ‘it didn’t come over night’ but the diagnosis helped her understand a lot of her choices, behaviours and perspectives over the years.

The show specifically aims at targeting stroke, cancer and brain injury survivors as well as ADD, ADHD and PTSD sufferers.

To follow all of the updates surrounding Ms Hawley’s gig in May, you can visit her website:

Written by Michael Jones

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