the age of seven Caroll started her music training playing the classical
piano. After a while, it
became apparent she had
a talent both for music and mathematics, two passions she would combine
all through her student years. During her studies she took private
courses with top Belgian jazz performer David Linx and the famous
American jazz singer Judy Niemack. During that time, Caroll also worked
together with the great Peter Girth at the Staatstheater of Darmstadt
(Germany) where she wrote a dissertation on 'Artistic freedom or
financial waste within the Performing Arts'.
After completing her engineering studies at the Vrije Universiteit
Brussel in 1994, Caroll was determined to go forward and continue in her
ambition as a musician.
She enrolled at the music conservatory of Ghent, where she finished her
candidature years and prepared for her entry-examination at the famous
London Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Artistic excellence and high
quality performance lie at the heart of the Guildhall School's success
and only a limited number of international students are accepted. She completed her
postgraduate studies at the Guildhall where she graduated magna cum
laude in 1998. During that time she worked together with the great
Iranian conductor/composer Alexander Rahbari, who was leading the
Belgian Philharmonic Orchestra
of the National television broadcasting network
at that time.
Meanwhile, in 1996, while studying at
the conservatory, she sang the role of Lauretta for the CD-release of
the musical EXTASY which was written and produced by Alexander
CD was released in 1999 under the "Discover of Koch International"
In 1997 Caroll participates at a TV
music contest where she reached the finales with the song Calling You
from the beautiful movie Bagdad Cafe.
From September 1998 till September
1999, she was the fix singer for the Panasonic Technics keyboard
demonstrations, with pianist Piet Meersschaut.
Furthermore, she's lead singer on jazz
and pop gigs in Belgium and abroad, big bands, gigs for service clubs like
Lions and Rotary, Christmas- and musical concerts, weddings and
receptions, backing vocals, fancy fairs, etc... and she teaches singing
and music in some private schools (Clavissimo and Ozma).
In January 1999 she creates the
cover-group "O-position" with 7 professional jazz musicians, where she's
the lead voice and plays the second keyboard. Together with this band, she performed on several music
festivals and private parties.
In September 1999 a first single is
released : a cover of the TLC song No Scrubs edited by North West
featuring Caroll under the label ARS.
In February 2000 she participates
again at a TV music contest where she reaches the semi-finals with a
reggae version of the song Memory from the musical Cats.
In 2001-2002 as being a member of the
group Mezcal with band leader Luiz Marquez, she experiments with
ethnical, Mexican music, and bolero and she is the featured singer on
their 2 cd's.
As Caroll gave birth to a little boy
and a little girl during 2002 - 2005, she decides to take a rest for a
while and starts writing her own songs and lyrics.
2006 she also participated at the project LaFrench.
In the mean while she recorded
some backing vocals on Enrique Tarde’s new album and in 2008 she started a creative
jazz duo project with the great Thailand-based jazz piano player Tars Lootens.
In 2007 she went on a 10-day tour to China (Beijing) with fantastic
musicians! They played in great places as the Beijing Jazz Club, the
Conservatory of Beijing, the Embassy of the Netherlands and many other
2006 she started to write songs for her new album Colours and wanted to
mix all the influences she had into one CD. There are
fantastic musicians playing on " colours' " like Mike Roelofs, Ron
van Stratum, Frank Peeters, Sam Vloemans en Henk de Laat. The cd
2008: release of debut solo full album, Colours’. In
her debut solo album singer-songwriter Caroll Vanwelden brings a mix of all influences she encountered in her career as a
singer. You strongly feel her passion for Jazz, Latin and Soul, melted
with a dash of pop. Some songs are easy listening; others bring you to
the dance floor. Her very distinctive style and her perfectionism made
it long to go for a solo album.
Albert Healemeersch: "Colours’ is a powerful debut of a great
singer-composer. A must in your collection!"
As jazz has always been her
first love, Caroll Vanwelden recorded at her home studio a collection of
exquisite standards for
an easy listening compilation of her all-time
favourites, which resulted in the new swing jazz album ‘Cheek to Cheek’. Critic Albert Healemeersch: No horns, no violins, just that sober sound that reminds of the real
cosy jazz clubs. With some of her friends and top musicians – Dirk Van Der Linden on
guitar, Janos Bruneel on double bass, and Stijn Wauters on the piano –
vocalist Caroll Vanwelden succeeded in recreating that lovely 1920-30’s
sound with just the right retro touch and lots of great swinging
moments. As a vocalist Caroll was really made to bring that good old
In March 2010 she performs on the gala of the
Belgium-Indian Economic Mission in Mumbaï (India) headed by
H.R.H. Prince Philippe of Belgium.
In January 2011 Caroll moves with her family to Germany where she starts
composing for her new challenging project: putting music on 16 Shakespeare Sonnets. She finished the writing in
December 2011 and recorded her new album "Caroll Vanwelden Sings
Shakespeare Sonnets" in April 2012. Caroll sings the sonnets and in the mean time plays the piano and together with her musicians
Thomas Siffling (tr,flughelh), Mini Schulz (double bass) and
Markus Faller (dr,perc), she brings you in the different atmospheres and sound colours of Shakespeare's wonderful world.
With this album she propels the great Shakespeare unexpectedly into the
world of big jazz librettists and interprets his lyrics into
contemporary music in wonderful arrangements.
The new album "Caroll Vanwelden Sings Shakespeare Sonnets"
was released in October 2012 at the Enjoy Jazz Festival in Mannheim, Germany
under the label Jazz 'N' Arts.
Critic Thomas Hintze (Stereo, Dezember 2012): "Hier handelt es sich
um ein Album, welches das Zeug hat, zur CD des Jahres gewählt zu werden."
All other reviews are all listed on the page of
Concerto (Austria) by Gerhard Strejcek 5/2012 8.10.2012
"Hier wird große Kunst auf
Augenhöhe mit Norma Winstone, Diana Krall oder Randy Crawford geboten."
As sequel on her album Cheek to Cheek, with Songs of the
'30s, Caroll comes out with DON'T EXPLAIN in dec
2013, with songs of
the '40s, where she
renewed face to evergreens from the past and
brings those unforgettable songs to a level where she, for a short time
carries us back to the era of Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole and Ella
Two years ago, newly discovered in Germany, the outstanding Belgian
singer Caroll Vanwelden catapulted herself into the limelight
amid much celebration and acclaim. “As a singer, pianist and perhaps
most importantly as a composer she shows both original and new ways to
entrance music lovers ”, enthused Mauretta Heinzelmann, “Transposing
Shakespeare with minimal repetition while at the same time using
complicated time changes”, the exceptional CD released in 2012 was
chosen as “Album of
the week” by the North German broadcasting company (NDR). Not less
impressed was Thomas Hintze of Stereo, who saw in “Caroll Vanwelden
Sings Shakespeare Sonnets” a project that “had the potency to be CD of
the year”. As a result Stereo awarded it the commendation of "CD
and Audiophile Highlight of the Month". So
it's obvious that the chapter between Shakespeare and Vanwelden's not
closed yet. With
“Caroll Vanwelden Sings Shakespeare Sonnets 2”
the graduate of the London Guildhall School of Music and Drama presents
an emotional, rich and lively collection from her “seemingly endless
supply of creativity.” (NDR) Together with her congenial musicians:
Thomas Siffling, whose elegant melodies on the trumpet and
flugelhorn intertwine with Caroll’s expressive and emotionally charged
voice, fellow musician Mini Schulz, smoothly stroking or groovy
plucking on the contrabass for added texture, and new band member
Rodrigo Villalon accenting the flexible rhythms with the drums and
various percussion instruments, Caroll Vanwelden has once again produced
a rich tapestry for jazz lovers around the world.
Critic Albert Healemeersch:
she’s back again with her new album
with her favorite songs of the ‘40s, featuring refreshing and colorful
arrangements. Listening to her outstanding, unique and warm voice, you
quickly come to the conclusion, that all the ingredients are there again
to turn this 'new adventure' into another hit.
The openers 'All or nothing at all’ and ‘Don’t explain’ put you
immediately in the right mood and atmosphere. Even the duet-song ‘Baby
it’s cold outside’ keeps the listener in suspense until the last chord.
Together with her wonderful band, Thomas Stabenow on double bass,
Daniel Prandl at the piano and Bernhard Sperrfechter on
guitars, Caroll Vanwelden takes us seamlessly back in time to the
top years of the good old cozy jazz clubs.
is an amazing, powerful, emotional and vivacious album with fourteen
tracks presented in a very minimalistic line-up; an album that catches
your attention from the beginning to end .
PRESS Don't Explain:
* "Don't explain" is far from any nostalgy, it leads you to a new discovery of these great jazz songs. (Stereo, Febr 2014)
5/5 stars & AudioHighlight of the Month for Stereo Magazine
* 5/5 stars for Music & Sound (Fono Forum, Febr 2014)
* "It's very refreshing listening to this record; Excellent taste, a lot of musicality and an amazing voice quality: it's all there. An Album to be proud of ! "(Marc Van de Walle, Jazzmozaïek Marsch 2014)
In oktober 2014:
raised - Presenting Shakespeare Reloaded!
PRESS Sings Shakespeare Sonnets 2:
Magazine by Thomas Hintze 12/2014 "Audiophiles Highlight des
Monats" und 5 sterne Klang und Musik
Kulturport.de Magazin Kunst Kultur
Review WAZ pre-release concert in Gelsenkirchen 18.9.2014
Forum by Thomas Hintze 12/2014 5 Sterne Klang und Musik
BIT Magazine by Jacques Ziegler
Theatergeist Shakespeare Festival Neuss Uraufführung 12.9.
West Deutsche Zeitung
Press Hongarije Guylai Hirlap
Press Hongarije Prae
Music Zoom (Italy)
HighResMac Review by Tom Semmler
Ohrenschmauch kw 47
Musicians she played
with or still plays with: Thomas Siffling, Mini Schulz, Markus Faller, Obi Meinhard Jenne,
Rodrigo Villalon, Phill Pesket (Molokko), Victoria Freestone, Jez Franks, Rob Mullarky
(Seven), Johan Sabbe,
Dirk Van der Linden
Laat (Enrique Tarde), Jean Van Lindt (The Swing Dealers), Vincent Mardens
(The Swing Dealers),
Tars Lootens, Piet Meerschaut, Chris Mentens, Swa
Mercelis, Johan Joris, Lieven Cambré, Stijn Deldaele,
Ron van Stratum, Frank Peeters, Sam Vloemans,
Luiz Marquez, Dominique Vantomme (Axelle Red), Geert Roelofs, Peter
Hermesdorf, Marc Huynen, Rogier Van Wegberg, Arie Storm, Jan Mües,
Mario Vermandel, Luc Van den Bossche, Stijn Wauters, Janos Bruneel, Hans Van Oost, Andrew Cleyndert, Jan
De Haas, Tom Mahieu,...
and many more......