Getting Serious…

So I moved to Melbourne – as you do – to find my way into this world of being a performing artist (not a starving one) and found myself doing what all great talents do when they are young and easily influenced by big city lights… yup I got myself a job making coffee!  And while that’s paid the rent for the last year, it’s also given me time to do a lot of reflecting, growth, and most of all practicing. Believe me when I say I’m a much better guitar player than ever before.  And yes, I obviously still have a great sense of humour.

Now it’s time to get serious about what I’m doing and where I’m going with all this, and one of the first serious things I’ve learned this past year is that ‘I’m not a cute talented kid anymore’!  Go figure!   That is a game changer – because no longer can I trust that I will be given a microphone just because I’m enthusiastic about impressing anyone.   And of course my fan club (Mom) is not there to also help with the cute kid thing – thank goodness.  After a while you gotta do it yourself right!

Anyway – now I’m all grown up and surrounded by a gazillion other young talented people who all want to get on those same stages I have my sights set on and the rules have changed.  Now I need an agent, or a manager…  Both?  What about photos.  The ‘awesome’ (read expensive) portfolio.   Then there’s the endless information, auditions, opportunities… it’s the learning is relentless.   And so how do I wade through the merely good information and recommendations vs the truly great ideas.

I think the problem with this industry is this:  Everyone who has ‘made it’ is protected (guarded) by their agents and agencies from public access, and everyone who hasn’t made it yet is willing to hand out lots of advice, but is that enough?

If I wanted to be a great lawyer I’d probably go off to a big law firm and ask to spend an hour with their top guys and girls and find out what it’s all about, if the study was really worth it, and what mistakes they would correct along the way if they could redo their journey.  Not quite so easy to rock on up to Robbie Williams or John Farnham and have that same conversation though.  Pity.

I’m sure I will be able to write about my journey more one day soon – and maybe one day I’ll be able to at least have a great conversation with someone about it – maybe that will be helpful to either them or to me… meanwhile – my guitar beckons!

Alex…

PS – check out some of my awesome (yes expensive) new photos!  ‘Thanks Ma for the birthday money’ 🙂  I’ll frame you one for Christmas!

 

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Time to Find a New Spotlight

I’ve been growing up for what feels like forever – well technically that’s actually true – but now, I’m living in Melbourne, making my own way in the world, and starting to get a feel for what I really want to do with my life, my talents, my career opportunities.

Last year my biggest achievement was writing and co-directing myfirst play – “Walk on Water” produced by Terra Nemo Theatre Company in Brisbane.  I have to say I really loved the process of helping my ideas come to life on the stage.  I loved the directing and of course I loved the great feedback. The play was good – even though I’m a little biased.  There’s room for more development there, and I’ll be doing some more writing soon.

There’s no shortage of ideas in my mind, but you gotta eat and pay rent right!?

So my priorities, like most young artists is to work, pay the bills and then focus on  performance opportunities.  Making coffee at Starbucks is not a long term career option.

I have the world in front of me, now I just gotta find a great stage and shine that spotlight on me.  I’ll keep you posted on progress ok. Meanwhile, if anyone reading this has need of a singer, actor, I’m happy to look at just about anything…  it’s a crowded market out here.

Alex!

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Magnetic Island Was a BLAST!

Oh we had such a great time at the Magnetic Island Jazz Festival… it was my first jazz festival and so much to experience.   Meeting and hanging out with other musicians, including veterans such as John Hoffman and Craig Scott, not to mention the incredible Di Bird was amazing, and getting to talk with them was just fantastic!

I was proud to be one of Ingrid James emerging “New Generation” performers, with Jesse and Merinda.

We three performed our sets on Saturday night, and then some more on Sunday afternoon with the Hawkins Ball Trio supporting us.   We all learned a lot, and enjoyed a debrief with Ingrid after each set – more learning.   And all of it so very helpful.

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Warming up for the Magnetic Island Jazz Festival

Last night, Merrinda Dias, Jessica Spina and I jazzed it up at the Lido in Brisbane in preparation for our big debut at the Magnetic Island Jazz Festival next month.   Each of us performed two sets of 3 songs, plus a group song ‘Doodling’ we’ve been working on for what feels like a very long time.  It’s a catchy little number, and fun to perform, but when you’re working with harmonies, getting it just right can be a little challenging when also faced with the pressures of performing in front of a live audience for the first time as a trio.  I’m pleased to say it went very well and Leo McFadden on guitar made the performance extra special.

MERINDA JESSICA AND ALEXA lot of people ask me if I get nervous before going on stage to sing.  Well mostly no. If I feel I’m confident with the songs and am aware of the size and type of audience, I’m ok with that.  But sometimes – like last night with the extra pressure of ‘Doodling’ and having my wonderful vocal coach Ingrid James in the audience, well let’s just say it was much easier to eat after the show than before it.

So the next ‘big thing’ for me to get ready for is the Magnetic Island Jazz Festival and it’s going to be a great three days, with lots of jazz people to see, meet, hopefully jam with, and get to know.  I am sure it will be a bit of a turning point for me as I’m making my way through some decisions about the future and what kind of performer and songwriter I really want to be.  I can’t wait.  If you are looking for a great weekend away, head up to Townsville on the 22nd August and ferry across to the island – see you there.

 

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Alexander Carlton Performing Live

Alex Carlton 051lr6x4 2I had a fantastic time out at Sandgate with the New Groove Ensemble big band on Sunday afternoon. Nearly a full house, and a lot of dancers in the room – this was my first time doing a ‘proper gig’ with this band and Trina Lincoln was away at a wedding so I was the only vocalist for the day.   After only 3 rehearsals, we (the band and I) pulled it together pretty well.  Even when I mixed it up a bit during ‘Sway’ the recovery was ok and so we all had a bit of a laugh about it.

Performing is all about the audience, and I learned even more about this from  being in the audience at the John Farnham and Lionel Ritchie concert on Tuesday night.   The ability to watch two absolute legends performing only meters away from me, was not only powerful and I loved it, but noticed what they did to engage the audience, and invite the audience to be part of the show, not just passive observers.   It was a great concert and I’m keen to get back on stage again and put more of my learning into action.   Alexander Carlton Performing Live – I might have much smaller audiences tank those guys for now, but we all have to start somewhere!

By the way – I’m going to be at the Lido Restaurant on the 30th March if you feel like a cruisy lunch with some slow jazz that day.   Remember to book –  as they fill up fast there on the weekends.

 

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Big Night Out

Well it was a really big weekend for me – starting with performing at the Mater Ball on Saturday night with Craig Martin and the Robert Clark Band.  I was pretty nervous knowing there were 800 people in the audience – but we got through a great rehearsal and then it was pretty straightforward from there.   Craig was great to work with, and gave me some excellent tips too.

We got into some really good harmonies too – love that sound. (Sorry about the video quality)

Then it was on to some more singing on Sunday night at the Brisbane Jazz Club, where I sang 6 songs with the New Groove Jazz Ensemble.    I started rehearsing with them only 3 weeks ago, and I’m really enjoying that whole Big Band thing.   Two nights in a row working with a 16-20 piece band is awesome.  I just love that sound.  And of course, it’s hard to get lonely on stage with that big a crowd behind you. 😉

Well – there’s one other thing I want to share today – I LOVE wearing a suit, and that may be a bit of an odd thing for most guys my age, but hey, I just feel like a million bucks standing on stage in a suit, singing with a big horny band behind me… just sayin!

Ok – gotta run, school today.

Alex!

 

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A Big Start to 2014

So it’s the beginning of my second year in Brisbane Australia, and here’s a few updates.
Alex Carlton 051lr6x4 2I’ve left QACI  (Queensland Academy for Creative Industries) and am about to start my final senior years at a special high school for Musicians here in Brisbane called Music Industries College.  This is going to give me a lot more of what I need as an emerging musician and performer, so I’m really excited about it.

I’m working with an awesome vocal coach, Ingrid James.  Ingrid is an outstanding performing and recording jazz singer, and I’m very lucky that she thinks I’m worth working with.   You can find out more about her here: www.ingridjames.com

On the upcoming performance calendar for me is a chance to guest perform at the Mater Ball in mid February.   This is an outstanding opportunity, and I’m working with the show’s producer Robert Clark to get ready for this.

And on the 30th March, I’ll be singing at the Lido Restaurant again.  This is a Sunday Afternoon lunchtime performance – and seats book up fast for this, so if you are cruising in Brissy on that day and feel like a fantastic Sunday lunch, book early.

I’ve also auditioned for a feature role in Creative Generation 2014 – and hope to hear soon about that.  This is a massive televised variety show featuring state high school students from all over Queensland.  Fingers crossed and I’ll keep you posted about this.

On the acting side of things, I’ve joined a Theater company called Terra Nemo Theater Company and have a main part in their upcoming show in March.   This gives me a chance to work with other actors at an ‘above high school level’ and I’m very excited about it.  The team are fantastic actually and I’m learning lots.    I’ll post more details about the show soon.

Gotta run – it’s a busy old start to the year, but I’ll keep you all updated on all the news and what’s going on for me again soon.

Happy 2014,

Alex

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UPdates for 2013

Hi everyone – well I’ve made the move with my mum from NZ to Brisbane Australia, where I’m attending the Queensland Academy for Creative Industries.  It’s an amazing school where I get to study theatre and music along with about 350 other kids also studying these subjects, or arts, film, design etc.   It’s just a really cool place to be – and the fun stuff is underpinned with an academic programme called the International Baccalaureate.   I’m having a great time and loving hanging out with other wildly creative and artistic teens like me.

One of my goals for this year is to pull together a jazz trio – stay tuned for this – it WILL happen.

And my piano and guitar playing is almost good enough I can accompany myself on some songs now.    Here’s me playing last week at a school event for parents – the video isn’t great because of the lighting, but you’ll get the idea.

I’ve had the chance to sing a few times lately as a guest with a group called Soulcutz Barbershop- and while they are not exactly doing barbershop music (they are barbers, hence the name) and that’s been fun  and a good boost to my confidence.

You know this year is going so fast –  must be because I’m having a great time here in Aus.

Will write more soon…

Alex!

 

 

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The Future of Jazz Singing for Me

Hi everyone, I wanted to tell you about this very exciting last three weeks – so much has happened lately.   First, two weekends ago I sang at the Hamilton Jazz Club again, this time, the Nairobi Trio were performing – you may recall I mentioned being invited up on stage to sing with them about 18 months ago when I was VERY new to performing… well I’ve come a long way since then.  Anyway, I got to talk with the guys in the band, and sang a 5 song set when they took a break for the evening.   (I’ve added a video for you to see how much fun I was having – the audience loved it too.)  The feedback I got from the lead singer of the band the next day was fantastic!!!   The future of Jazz singing for me is bright I hope – even Richard Adams told me to “keep going!”.

So onto the next weekend – and off we (Mum and I) went to Brisbane where I auditioned for a place at the Queensland Academy for Creative Industries.  I have my fingers, toes, legs, arms and everything else crossed that I get in there – it’s an amazing school and I’m VERY VERY excited about this.   I would finish my final three years of high school there hanging out with kids like me who also want to perform, learn about performing, and complete an International Baccalaureate diploma programme.  It will stretch me and it’s a LOT of work, but I’m so bored with school here in NZ, so here’s hoping… I’ll let you know in a couple of weeks how that goes  but please keep your fingers (and everything else) crossed for me too OK. Thanks!!

Finally, this weekend has been one of my busiest performing weekends ever.  Last night I sand for a couple of hours at a formal/informal BBQ in Hamilton, and while I can’t really say WHO exactly was there, I did get to have dinner talking with a Knight and his Lady, and met a diplomat from the UK.

Then, I went to sing at the National Toastmasters convention dinner, which was GREAT fun.   Finally this morning I did my last gig at the Hamilton Farmers Market for this year (and if moving to Brisbane, it will be my last time there ever).  I’ve done a lot at the farmers Markets since last year with Katie Trigg, and we’ve had some great times.  It was good seeing so many at the market today – and Katie and I even sang a special version of Amazing Grace at 11am for Amistice Day.

What a fun time it’s been – but…  time to learn some new songs now… What do you think of this list:  I Got you Under my skin, Stormy Weather, Girl from Ipanaema, and maybe a Rob Thomas song for something a little more modern too?

I’d love your feedback… but also, I’d love to see you at the Tamahere Market next weekend when I get to test these new songs too.

 

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Singing Competitions

Well I do spend a lot of time practicing, singing, learning new songs and of course over the years, a lot of time in singing competitions, and the odd talent show.  Every one is better than the last, and each time I perform I know I’m getting more confident and better at performing.

On Sunday last week I went to my final singing competition supporting my friend Katie Trigg by singing a DUET we’d working on.  By the way, she is so good she won the major award of the day, and a scholarship prize, as well as our doing very well in the prize stakes with this performance.

We didn’t have any microphones, and it was pretty formal singing, but we had a good time – despite the fact that Katie was pretty nervous about the dance!

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