Composer, Vocalist & Song-Writer
Born in Texas, raised on the sounds of gospel music and soul, and classically trained at the University of Southern California, Carleen’s transatlantic three-decade music career spans work as a solo artist and prolific collaborator, in genres from jazz to opera.
Her major achievements to date include being shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize, receiving a Brit Awards nomination, winning Jazz FM’s Best UK Vocalist Award in 2013 and having Cage Street Memorial, her first theatre project funded through Arts Council England, put forward for Jazz FM’s 2018 Innovation of the Year Award.
Carleen moved to England with her son in 1990 to begin her role as composer, vocalist and recording artist for the Young Disciples, a studio music collective whose album Road to Freedom continues to receive praise within the music industry and beyond. In addition to composing and arranging her solo albums she has performed and co-written songs with Paul Weller, Incognito, and the Brand New Heavies, to name a few.
From 2002 to 2007 she was a singing coach and Head of the Vocal Department at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music (BIMM) which resulted in her performance for HRH at Theatre Royal Brighton.
She is the creator of a futuristic art form-blending opera, MELIOR, Opus Griot, which was awarded a National Lottery grant days before the first UK lockdown in 2020. Support from Hall for Cornwall, plus Falmouth University’s Academy of Music and Theatre Arts, enabled her ocean-floor fantasy world concept, inspired by her swimming experiences in the English Riviera and compounded by her early childhood memories of racially-segregated Sea swims in Texas, to be repurposed in the wake of social distancing.