Closing ACM London’s first ever Freshers’ Week was powerhouse vocalist Carleen Anderson. After a short introduction, where she revealed that the legendary James Brown was her Godfather, she got straight down to business. Throughout the class, Anderson shared her top vocal techniques and demonstrated them with student volunteers. Kicking off with a vocal warm-up, she had students bent over, growling deeply, and slowly raising their arms and pitch up until they had their arms in the air, screaming.
One of the main techniques Anderson kept coming back to was one where she asked the vocalists to imagine the sound travelling from their ankles, right up to their foreheads and she encouraged them to use their whole body to create a powerful sound. When sharing her top tips, Anderson urged students to practice, to find their own sound and to look after their voices.
When asked about singing in the studio, Anderson urged students to work with the engineer to get the best sound they possibly can, and she shared a story about seeing Marvin Gaye laying on a sofa whilst doing a vocal take to get the best sound. Anderson told students she prefers not to hold the microphone, even when performing live, as she said this enables her to use her whole body to perform.
As the masterclass drew to a close, one student asked Anderson to perform a song. She then took to the piano and did an incredible off-the-cuff performance of Oasis’s ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’. Students were completely blown away and eagerly stayed back to chat to Anderson after the session had ended.
“I first started doing masterclasses at ACM 15 years ago. It’s always been a wonderful school for contemporary music and for training young musicians to be out in the music world.”
Carleen Anderson, vocalist in Young Disciples
Anderson got everybody on their feet and involved during the session – from practicing warm-ups to having students singing whilst lying on the floor – and everyone in the audience was entertained and enlightened throughout.