Educate, Imagine, Inspire

Vanessa Heywood Creator

vanessaVanessa began her 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.

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

Music is the family business, her 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. Vanessa’s brother (Chris Smith Jnr) is a talented trumpet player and composer/arranger who has written and conducted sessions for the BBC. Her 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

Vanessa put her career on hold to have two children. Unfortunately, when the boys were only 2 and 3 years old, she found herself coping as a single mother. It was a very difficult time in her life, with no money and two small children she began to focus on creating Tiny Mites Music. She had to make it work.

The ideas grew from songs and stories she made up and sang to her children. Writing one song after another, they tumbled out in a creative flurry. At the same time she created four little characters, The Tiny Mites, and they became an important part of the concept. Vanessa approached the Dancers Trust to help set up her business. They were so inspired by the business plan and ideas, that they funded her first recording, paying for the musicians and the studio fees.

That was back in 2002 and 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 a talented work force.