Carleen Anderson

Playing @ Movenpick Hotel - Sun, 27 Nov - 6pm

Carleen Anderson, the GodDaughter of the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, is a Jazzy Gospel/Soul Singer/Songwriter from Houston, Texas who has been UK based since 1990. She is also the stepdaughter of Bobby Byrd, James Brown's childhood friend and music collaborator. Vicki Anderson, (real name, Myra Barnes), is Carleen's birth mother.

From the age of 2 months old, Carleen was raised and groomed in gospel music by her paternal grandparents, Reverend David and Alberta Anderson. Her grandfather was a country preacher/pastor of a pentecostal church who had been the first in his family to be born free of the US slavery system. Both David and Alberta Anderson grew up as sharecroppers in Louisiana. Carleen's birth father, Dr. Reuben Anderson, is the pastor of the Tower of Faith Evangelistic Church in Compton, California. Carleen was introduced to the funky soul sounds of James Brown, when her mother joined his band in the 1960's as one of his featured soloists. Vicki Anderson married Bobby Byrd, who became Carleen's stepfather and later, her musical mentor. In the late 1970's, Carleen began her music career as an understudy for Vicki Anderson while touring with the Bobby Byrd Band. Her first studio session was on a demo for Betty Wright in Miami, Florida at the age of 17.

At 19 years old, her first paid session singing gig was with Jonny Winter, (Edgar Winter's brother), in Nashville, Tennessee, where she met her only child's father, whom she married in 1978. After the short-lived marriage ended, Carleen received academic and music scholarships to study music education and music performance at the Los Angeles Community College and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She also took courses at UCLA. Due to the freeze on the arts being taught in schools during the Reagan administration, Carleen's aspiration to be a music teacher was delayed. Carleen and her son, Bobby, relocated numerous times from the southeast to the southwest of the US before settling in England in 1990. The previous year, Carleen had been on a tour with the Bobby Byrd and the JB All Stars band and was approached by Marco Nelson and Femi Williams, to make the move to London to join the band they were forming, called the Young Disciples.

Carleen became the lead vocalist and songwriter for the group. The one album the Young Disciples recorded and released, "Road to Freedom", had a nominal dance floor hit, "Apparently Nothing" in 1991. Marco Nelson nor Femi Williams were interested in stage performance as a career and focused on their DJing pursuits and studio music production projects. Because of her celebrated vocal and songwriting skills demonstrated on the "Road to Freedom" album, Carleen was pursued with offers of a solo career. Although singing for her supper was not how she initially envisioned her life plan, yet, being the single parent of an 11 year old son, Carleen thought it wise to accept the musical career opportunities which she saw as a way to provide a better life for her son.

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