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15

Carleen Anderson: At Home in London

Carleen Anderson: At Home in London
John Wesley Reed Jr. By
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One of the most powerful vocalists today is Carleen Anderson, the "2013 Jazz FM UK Vocalist of the Year." Amy Winehouse once said, "For live performances, you absolutely have to see Carleen Anderson at least three times in your life!" Amy confessed while sitting in on one of Ms. Anderson's soundchecks; Carleen sang "Don't Look Back In Anger," it brought her to tears (Amy Winehouse: One Shining Night, 2006).

Born in Houston, Texas on May 10, 1957, Carleen Anderson is grounded and rooted in true gospel music inherited from the Pentecostal church where the pastor, David Anderson, Sr., her paternal Grandfather, and Alberta, her Grandmother who raised her from birth. Now where Dr. Reuben P. Anderson, Sr., has pastored since 1973 in Compton, California, Carleen still upholds her gift gospel music.

Emerging from Gospel to Soul Music, Carleen's training came from James Brown, her Godfather; Bobby Byrd, Step-father; Vicki Anderson, her Mother; Marva Whitney, Lyn Collins, Martha High, Maceo Parker, Pee Wee Ellis, and Fred Wesley.

Carleen won classical and jazz music scholarships in 1981 to 1985, from Los Angeles Community College, and the University of Southern California while studying classical literature at the University of California in Los Angeles. While on tour from 1974 to 1992, in the United States, United Kingdom and Europe, Carleen landed the lead vocalist and songwriter positions with The Young Disciples Band. The band's album, Road to Freedom was released by Phonogram Records' Circa label in 1991. This album was nominated for a Mercury Music Prize in 1992 which followed signing onto Virgin Records' Circa label in 1992. Her first solo album, True Spirit, released in 1994, was nominated for Best International Newcomer BRIT Award, in 1995.

From January 1999 to September 2000, Carleen toured worldwide with the Brand New Heavies as their lead vocalist, promoting their 'Best of album' entitled Trunk Funk. In 2003, Orange Room Records released a live performance DVD/CD, Grace and Favours which includes an impromptu performance with James Brown, the only footage of them together. In 2006, a guest appearance with Sir John Dankworth's band, along with a special acknowledgement from Dame Cleo Laine, led to her current sold out residencies at the globally famous Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club.

Carleen was the head of the vocal department at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music, where she taught vocal performance from 2002 to 2007. This association led to her performing for and meeting Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth at the Royal Theatre, Brighton, in 2007; the same year BBC Jazz Music Awards presented Ms. Anderson as a presenter. Anderson also sang on the Red Hot Organization's compilation album, Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool," released in 1994 to promote awareness of HIV. The album included numerous stellar artists and was heralded as "Album of the Year" by Time Magazine.

Having impressed the European Jazz community at the Kentish Town Forum, a concert venue in Kentish Town, London, England, DJ/bassist/music producer Marco Nelson and DJ/music producer Femi Williams suggested Anderson move to England to launch her singing career.

Currently, Carleen is writing a book about her life, which will be the prelude to a contemporary musical production she is composing, alongside an album as the soundtrack for both.

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