Saturday, January 29, 2011

Carleen Anderson: Nervous Breakdown + Let It Last + Maybe I'm Amazed + Woman In Me

Singer/songwriter/keyboardist Carleen Anderson was born and raised in the US, but relocated to the UK in 1990, the same year she joined acid jazz band The Young Disciples on lead vocals and keys. She sang backing vocals on Paul Weller's first solo album in 1992 and has recorded with him several times since. In 1999/2000 she toured and sang lead with The Brand New Heavies, and has also recorded and/or performed with Bryan Ferry, Jocelyn Brown, Omar, Lewis Taylor, Johnny Cash, Chrissie Hynde, Paul McCartney, Guru, Dr. John and Nigel Kennedy. Over the years she has released several solo projects, and will be revisiting her 1990's catalogue at Ronnie Scott's in London this weekend - wish I could be there for that!

On November 14, 2010 Carleen posted some wise words on her website - it's one of the best statements on life/songwriting/performing I've come across:

"It has been a difficult, challenging year. Although writing music is a refuge I am certainly grateful for, it brings the weight of painful revelations up from the depths of repression, with all the scars and circumstance that accompanies it. I have learned though, however impossible the situation, there is a song to sing, and therein stays a merciful blessing."

Other interesting facts about Carleen:

- Her mother is Vicki Anderson, best known for singing in the James Brown Revue.
- Her step-father was Bobby Byrd, original founder of The Famous Flames.
- Her Godfather was James Brown.
- She studied classical music and jazz at USC in Los Angeles in the early 1980s.
- She is the head of the vocal music department at the Brighton (UK) Institute for Modern Music.

The beautiful, simple but highly effective videos accompany four as-good-as-new songs from her solo projects in the 1990s - all of them showcase her stellar and very versatile voice.

"Nervous Breakdown" and "Let It Last": both from 1994.
"Maybe I'm Amazed" and "Woman In Me": both from 1998.