Helena grew up in Perth, Scotland and moved to London in 2012 to begin studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, graduating in 2016 with a First Class in BMus Jazz (Hons) and receiving the Anjool Malde Jazz Prize for the highest jazz final recital mark that year. In 2015 she won the Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year, and in 2017 she won the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award which she used to record and release her debut album Moon Palace. She recorded the album with her band Helena Kay’s KIM trio, featuring David Ingamells on drums and Ferg Ireland on double bass, which was released on Ubuntu Music in December 2018.
Helena also plays with various groups such as Calum Gourlay Quartet, Issie Barratt’s Interchange Dectet, Paul Towndrow’s Keywork Orchestra, EuroRadio Jazz Orchestra 2017, Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, Barry Green/Helena Kay Quartet, Helena Kay/Peter Johnstone duo. She has performed at various festivals such as London Jazz Festival, Glasgow Jazz Festival, D’Jazz Nevers Festival, Manchester Jazz Festival, Aberdeen Jazz Festival, Scarborough Jazz Festival, Cheltenham Jazz Festival, and venues such as Ronnie Scott’s, The Royal Albert Hall, The Vortex, Cadogan Hall, Pizza Express Dean St.
“Moon Palace leaves the listener wanting more of Kay’s rich playing… it’s remarkably self-assured and forecasts an imaginative career to come.’ Ammar Kalia, Downbeat
‘Kay and her trio confirmed both their understated group virtuosity and command of narrative drive.’ Mike Hobart, Financial Times