Vanessa Heywood Creator

Vanessa HeywoodI began my professional career as an actress, singer and dancer after graduating from The Arts Educational School. Performing in musicals and plays as diverse as West Side Story, The Boyfriend, Elvis, Twelfth Night, A Christmas Carol and Beauty and the Beast, in theatres across the country and in the West End of London.

I especially enjoyed performing in a number of children’s plays adapted from The Chronicles of Narnia and Wind in the Willows, where we also held work shops after the show. I loved working with the children and their ideas. It was an invaluable insight to how children relate to music, movement, dance and performance.

Music is the family business, my father (Chris Smith) is a professional trombonist in the session world, who has performed and recorded with stars such as, Tom Jones, Barbara Streisand, Shirley Bassey, to name but a few. He toured with Frank Sinatra and worked on shows for TV and recordings for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. My brother (Chris Smith Jnr) is a talented trumpet player and composer/arranger who has written and conducted sessions for the BBC. My children play piano, trumpet and guitar, their father is the West End double bass and bass guitarist (Frazer Snell). His father (David Snell) recorded the Worlds first jazz harp album and has composed music for films, such as Star Wars.

How Tiny Mites Music Began

I put my career on hold to have my two children. Unfortunately, when the boys were only 2 and 3 years old, I found myself coping as a single mother. It was a very difficult time in my life, with no money and two small children I began to focus on creating Tiny Mites Music. I had to make it work. The ideas grew from songs and stories I made up and sang to my children. I wrote one song after another, they tumbled out in a creative flurry. At the same time I created four little characters, The Tiny Mites, they became an important part of the concept. I approached the Dancers Trust to help me set up my business. They were so inspired by my business plan and ideas, that they funded my first recording, paying for the musicians and the studio fees. That was back in 2002, now with over 100 children’s songs and more in the pipe line, Tiny Mites Music sessions are regularly performed in over 85 different venues with our talented work force.