One of the most powerful vocalists today, 2013 Jazz FM UK Vocalist of the Year Carleen Anderson has been a favorite of audiences and fellow artists alike for over two decades: "For live performances, you absolutely have to see Carleen Anderson - at least 3 times in your life!" (Amy Winehouse)
Carleen Anderson was born in Houston, Texas, 10th of May 1957, and reared up on the sounds rooted in Gospel music inherited from the Pentecostal church where the pastor, David Anderson, Sr., her paternal Grandfather, and her Grandmother Alberta, raised her from an infant.
Since 1973, her biological Father, Dr. Reuben P. Anderson, Sr., continues as the pastor of his own church in Compton, California, further extending the connection Carleen still retains in gospel music.
Soul music training was from James Brown, (Godfather), Bobby Byrd, (Step-father), and Vicki Anderson, (aka-Myra Barnes-biological Mother).
In 1976, her first Rock ‘n Roll/Country & Western music studio session was with Johnny Winter, (Edgar Winter’s brother), in Nashville, Tennessee.
In 1978, Carleen joined a band called “Funktions”, in Nashville, and married the drummer, Bobbye Sherrell, (the younger brother of James Brown’s musician “Sweet” Charles Sherrell). From that union, her son, Bobby LeColye, was born in 1979.
As a divorced single mother, she received classical and jazz music scholarships in 1981 to 1985, from Los Angeles Community College, (LACC), the University of Southern California, (USC) and also studied Classical Literature at the University of California in Los Angeles, (UCLA).
Sporadically, from 1974 to 1992, Carleen was as the opening act and understudy for Vicki Anderson, Marva Whitney and Lynn Collins, touring the US southern regions as well as across the UK and the EU with the Bobby Byrd and the JB All Stars band.
Carleen and her son relocated to the UK in June 1990, where she was hired as the lead vocalist and songwriter for the band, The Young Disciples. Phonogram Records’ Circa label released an album from the band, Road to Freedom, in 1991, which was nominated for a Mercury Music Prize in 1992. The album included the dance floor hit, “Apparently Nothing”. The band parted ways shortly after their ‘Acid Jazz’ movement recognition.
Carleen signed to Virgin Records’ Circa label in 1992.
Her first solo album, True Spirit, released in 1994, was nominated for a Brit Award in 1995.
Her 2nd solo album, Blessed Burden, was co-produced with Paul Weller in 1998.
From early 1999 to late 2000, she toured with the Brand New Heavies as their lead singer to promote their ‘Best of’ album, entitled, “Trunk Funk”.
Her 1st independent album, “Alberta’s GrandDaughter”, released in 2002, was produced by Ben Castle, (famed trumpeter, Roy Castle’s son), Mark Edwards and Colin Walker.
In 2003, Orange Room Records released a live performance DVD/CD, “Grace and Favours”, which includes an impromptu performance with her GodFather, James Brown, the only footage of them together.
EMI released a Best of Carleen Anderson CD, “Up to Now”, in 2004.
Dome Records released her album, Soul Providence, in 2005, also produced by Mark Edwards, Ben Castle and Colin Walker, with duet performances by Paul Weller and Jocelyn Brown.
In 2006, a guest appearance with Sir John Dankworth and his 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 HRH, the Queen, in 2007, the same year in which Carleen was a presenter at the BBC Jazz Music Awards.
A short list of her diverse collaborations includes Johnny Cash, Paul McCartney, Jocelyn Brown, Chrissie Hynde, Guru, Omar, Dr. John, Courtney Pine, The London Community Gospel Choir, the Guy Barker Orchestra, Incognito, Ocean Colour Scene, The Ronnie Scott’s All Stars, and many other musical legends and luminaries.
Carleen is currently 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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