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Carol Leeming FRSA

Carol is a hugely versatile artist, with a very powerful and distinct vocal style.  Coupled with her prodigious song writing talent Carol has enjoyed chart success both in the UK and US, and has made a big name for herself within club culture.  Her influences range from Jazz/Funk, R n B, Hip Hop, World and House.  Carol has worked with producers Staxx, John Digweed, and So Dam Tuff.

Born in Leicester, Carol played piano and percussion from an early age and performed live as a vocalist/MC for a reggae sound system. In the mid to late 80s she studied jazz in London and formed soul/funk duo Outalimits, who received interest from CBS Records.  At the Camden Jazz Festival, Carol received admiration from Jamal of The Last Poets (likening her to Sarah Vaughn) and Steve Williamson for her stunning a cappella performance. Later she also  appeared in shows alongside Jocelyn Brown, Rosie Gaines, Jeaney Tracey, Lonnie Gordon, Adeva, Loleata Holloway, Kym Mazelle and, Sinead O’ Connor,

Whilst performing her own material at a Formation 5 Warehouse Club promoted by DJ SS Leicester, Carol was spotted by Boys In Shock (Producer Ashley Beadle Black Science Orchestra & Dean Zepherin aka the Saint DJ, who asked her to collaborate on a track that became  Give Me Back Your Love (remixed by Marshall Jefferson).  Released on the UKJack Trax label in the UK/US, the track was a worldwide underground hit and established Carol as a major UK House artist.  Re- leased 2004 on Classic Album by Jeff Mills (Azuli label).

Backing Vocal credits during the early 90s included – Kenny Thomas’s Outstanding (UK Top 10 single) on the platinum album “Voices”, and D’ Influence’s Funny How Things Changeon the soulful funky “Good 4 We” album.

Carol also sang at London club Subterrania where she was spotted by the band Honey Chile. Band members Simon Thorne and Tom Jones later formed So Damn Tuff. Carol sang on the track “Pleasure & Pain” which received high acclaim from DJ Sasha who took the track to East West Records (Warner Bros)East West who promptly re-released it. So Dam Tuff backed up the single release with a very successful UK tour. They parted company with East West and moved to Azuli Records.  Carol fronted the 2nd single “Heaven” which was a big club hit both in the UK and US.

Carol was also collaborating with House artists: Cordial on “Hear Me Say” also John Digweed/Nick Muir (Bedrock) on “For What We Dream Of” later used on the international box office smash film Trainspotting soundtrack (UK Top 20 single). By far her biggest international hit to date.

With the duo Staxx   Carol attained further chart success with “Joy” (No 1 US Billboard Dance Charts / UK Top 25 / European Top 10 / 1997 re-release UK No 14) was used on the Hollywood film Angie soundtrack.  The follow up single “You” was a No 1 in the US Dance Charts and a Top 5 Dance hit in UK/Europe.  Carol toured extensively with Staxx in the US and Europe in the mid to late 90s.

From ’98 – 2002 Carol has released the singles jazzy latin mix “Falling” with Joey Musaphia, Ulterior label “Message of Love” her first soulful UK Garage track with MJ Cole and Shanks on Subliminal label and “Feel The Love” with Aaron Friedman, voted one of the most popular tunes on The Box & MTV.

Carol’s enthusiasm for World music has led to work with leading African – international music stars Abdel Kabirr in Gambia – on his seminal album ‘Takandere’ (Spirit Seven Records).   Musa Kouyate celebrated Kora Player, performed live as a guest, at one of her shows with her band The Random Acts of Senseless Beauty .  For 2 Funky Arts, leading a Vocal music workshop scatting gospel with Jason Singh Beat Boxer musical partner of Tabla maestro Nitin Sawney

As Band Leader/Composer and lead Percussionist (playing Timbales), she collaborated with Tony Kofi Saxophonist producing new Millenium Commission music composition, of African Jazz for Leicester Jazz House   The composition was titled, ‘Sankofa’ it was performed by Sankofa Ensemble - a 18 piece African Jazz band of Leicester musicians.

The Ensemble then played support to OSIBISA founder member, African Jazz star Mac Ton Toh and his new Ghanaian 12 piece band. In the dressing room afterwards, Carol received the ultimate accolade from Mac saying he admired their music. He invited Carol and Sankofa to perform with his band – nearly 30 musicians onstage an unforgettable night!  Sankofa - have supported Malian superstar – Salif Keita and performed at Leicester’s New Year Millennium Festival De Montfort Hall Leicester

Carol Leeming & the Jazz Alchemists - performed her original songs and jazz standards arranged with long term musical partner and pianist Neil Hunter, in a unique innovative world music style.  The Jazz Alchemists opened the Leicester Jazz Festival 2000 at Phoenix theatre to wide acclaim.

She is also Leader and lead vocalist of The Guinep Tree- traditional Jamaican Mento Folk, Band.  This is a popular people’s choice, of music, for the revival sessions or festivals.   Mento – being the Jamaican folk music forerunner of Ska and Reggae music.

Singing and song writing skills, with advanced music technology skills, were gained at the Gateway School Kingston University, which led to heightened studio/production skills.  Her production of the Hip Hop outfit FUQ MC’s and also composing   soundscapes, used for her own Theatre/Poetry Performance ‘Love in the 21st Century’ for two dancer with poetry debuted at Leicester Haymarket Theatre.

Promoting UK Urban Dance Music, she was appointed as the national BBC Urban Bursary Awards Nominator.  She was Creative Director for in2bluz Black Music Heritage Community Education Project and produced the Documentary Film and CD Sound track.

Carol’s last House record single – a personal tribute to 70’s icon Sylvester with ‘raw disco’ sensibilities “All That I Need” was released on the Soul Purpose Record label.

Carol supported OMAR at the Peepul Centre Nov 2006) in Leicester with her explosive new band The Random Acts of Senseless Beauty. ASWAD in 2007 Carol’s expressively powerful flexible voice conveys, all the subtle nuances, within her thought provoking lyrics. Hailed as an uber diva with a unique and intense Nu Jazz soul sound.

Invited to sing with such British Black Jazz luminaries as saxophonist Denys Baptiste and his Big Band for his ‘Freedom Suite’   featuring e.g. Claude Deppa Omar Puente, Alan Weekes, as well as the Gary Crosby Quartet Hampstead Theatre BBC Event.

Carol was lead soloist with Kaine Gospel Choir and performed a rendition of Maya Angelou’s poem ‘And Still I Rise’ – for ‘Griotographies   Re- Visioning Africa Programme Leicester Museums. .

Alongside African American Spirituals with Leicester’s, excellent Kaine Gospel Choir as part of their Sing Freedom programme, at the Guildhall Leicester, commemorating and celebrating the Bicentenary of the Abolition of Slavery. She returned to perform with them in 2009 underlining her love of singing with choirs.

Recently her musical output encompasses, with her bands Random Acts of Senseless Beauty, the following genres, Nu Jazz Funk Soul World and The Vagabonds Band, Balkan, Chanson Cabaret and World Jazz respectively.

She has packed audiences into venues, receiving standing ovations, for a scintillating set of songs. Carol continues to explore her passion, for many different types music and has featured as a leading member of Quadelectric free electric music ensemble.

Singing alongside Asian master vocalist Ali Ustaad – she is guest vocalist with World Groove Orchestra led by Tabla Player Durgesh Parmar (Asian Jazz Funk Ensemble)

Carol recently performed, singing the classic South African song made famous by Miriam Makeba Pata Pata in Xhosa language alongside other South African songs in other languages, with Leicester’s Afro City Jazz Swingers Big Band featuring Claude Deppa on Trumpet at Embrace Arts

Carol and her band the Random Acts of Senseless Beauty plan recording and selected live dates to play in the coming year.

Carol has led Workshops, taught Master Classes in Voice, for 2Funky Arts, alongside private coaching sessions. 

QUOTES:

Press & Other quotes

“Authentic Diva”Music Week Magazine

One of the UK’s finest vocal talents – Musically promiscuous” – Mix Mag Magazine

‘Power, grace, passion and downright funky the real ting’ 

Its always been a pleasure to work with Sister Carol, as a vocalist, she is one of the countrys’ hidden treasures’   Gary Crosby Artistic Director OBE Dune Music  

‘Reminiscent of the stature of artists like Rochelle Farrell, Cassandra Wilson and Jill Scott but with her own distinct influences’   Jazz DJ Tony Minvielle - Folded Space & Contributor Straight No Chaser Magazine 

Carol   is an artist that oozes, the heart, and the soul of the blues, which are the fundamental elements of Jazz, R&B, and Gospel connecting with her audience, with a presence to match’ Alan Weekes Songwriter/Producer/Arranger/ Guitarist extraordinaire Integral player of Britains’ Reggae, Lovers Rock and Jazz scene.

Her affinity with the blues and deep involvement in the jazz tradition – give her performance strength few of her contemporaries can match - Straight No Chaser Magazine Paul Bradshaw

The jewel in the Leicester Jazz Crown” &  Beautiful descending two octave ‘Oohs’ was memorable’ Leicester Mercury Phoenix Arts Review

Soul Diva – rare magical moments with outstanding performances that left the audience asking for more’ – Pawlet Warner Director Serendipity Arts

The Fabulous Carol Leeming - Blues & Soul Magazine

 

Theatre Performances, Compositions & Soundscapes:

Foyer: Haymarket Storm & Snake Man Contemporary/Electronic (Solo Keyboard)

Millenium Commission: Y Theatre Sankofa Afrikan Jazz Ensemble (18 piece Vocals, Brass & Rhythm sections)

Cultural Olympiad: Curve Theatre Solitaires Blues, Disco Star, for Bass & Lead Guitar, Percussion Keyboard & Vocals

  • Art :Singer/Songwriter : Musician: Composer: Producer
  • Instruments : Voice, Percussion, Piano/Keyboards
  • Vocal Studies :Classical, Susan Turner BA Music, Leicestershire School of Music
  • Jazz :Community Music Hoxton London, Jan Ponsford London, Sheila Jordan NYC USA
  • Discography :http://www.discogs.com/artist/53029-Carol-Leeming?type=Credit
  • Email :carolleeming@gmail.com

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