Alexandra Carter [squig]
What do you do? What is your musical specialty?
I'm a singer, and I sing opera through to jazz, French and Italian Cafe Songs, mellow easy listening and old fashioned songs with accordion for weddings and corporate entertainment. I teach singing to all levels and ages.
Do you work alone or in a group? If in a group, who are the others you work with?
I work with Serge Pachnine on accordion in Tiramisu, and freelance with opera companies, First Act Opera, Adina, Pavilion Opera, Opera Piccola, Bremen, Guildford Opera, London Opera Players, Bournemouth Bach Choir, and Garsington Opera and in the chorus of The Royal Opera House, and recordings for Opera Rara and Chandos labels.
Is there a web address where one can listen, see, or read some of your work?
Please list any awards, competitions, or other acknowledgments you would like to mention.
PG DIP RAM, PG DIP TCM, MA Cantab Modern Languages, TEFL thingy, ITEC Indian Head Massage, Basic Sailing, Basic Tap, Horse Riding that's it!
Please list discography in which you have participated.
chorus recordings for Opera Rara and Chandos labels- no discography of my own yet!
How did you begin making music? Who introduced you?
Always shouted around the house, had asthma and my parents thought it needed "channeling!" and singing might help the asthma. My father worked in ICY but always played the piano- every night for hours. I got all into it and played the clarinet, piano, had a go on the alto & tenor sax in school band in NJ USA, started the cello, and really enjoyed being a Jack of all Trades.
What was your musical education?
Radio, listening to old recordings & the odd concert, my father playing the piano, then school stuff & college stuff!
When did you realise that making music could be a way of life for you?
I always wanted to do it, I suppose it was crystallised busking with the clarinet in France to make the rent on my humble abode. I got more money when I sang.
What is your creative process?
Get into the character of whatever song I'm doing. I aim to be a singing actress so I look at everything in depth. Then work on the technical side of it, and memorise the words!
When do you have your most lucid moments, in the morning or night?
At night- when the little ones are in bed.
How do you know when a song is finished or needs no more changes?
I don't compose my own songs, yet- but a song I'm performing is never finished, because I am constantly changing so what I have to offer is also different each time I come to it.
What part of your job is your least favourite?
Not knowing when the next cheque will come through the door!
How often do you practice?
How do you feel right before going out on stage?
Excited and then as I walk out, as soon as I start to sing, calm.
Which musicians or groups have been inspiring to your career?
For opera, Lily Pons started me off. Heard it on the radio and loved it straight away. Then Callas was my heroine, and most recently Gheorghiu and Natalie Dessay for very different reasons!
Also Ella, Louis, The Mills Brothers, Audrey Hepburn, Peggy Lee, & the Old fashioned film soundtracks, all Latin and Bossa Nova, Astrud Gilberto, Stan Getz...
List three songs that are key to your life.
Sempre Libera from Traviata
Lullaby from Lady and the Tramp
What type of music do you detest?
Heavy metal or in fact anything where it's hard to hear what note they're playing and there is no space in the music. It makes my ears ring!
What time did you get up this morning?
How do you sell yourself? What has been your experience with record companies and representatives?
I haven't really gone for it yet. I don't have an agent or a representative, but I've got work on the basis of auditions. I've only been involved with record companies from the safe distance of within a chorus so far.
With Tiramisu launching, it's my first opportunity to take the bull by the horns and make my own product. All very exciting.
I think my selling points are: warmth of sound, the unusual repertoire,great with a glass of champagne, lots of experience, very portable format, & chilled out!
What other things have you done to make a living?
Busked, once to get the electricity pay as you go meter back on at our flat! I teach singing, which is great. Indian Head Massage, shop assistant, TEFL teaching, little bits of sales work.
Have you ever played on the street or in the subway? How much did you collect each day?
Yes, the best I did was in Toulouse, where at Christmas time I made about £130 in one day.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the business?
Follow your heart with your feet on the ground, but trust your gut instinct- do what you love and the money will follow.