Wanya from Boyz II Men once told him he loved his voice, Omar once sat him down and gave him solid advice about the music industry. And if I haven’t name dropped enough English soul singer/song writer Audley Anderson has also had the pleasure supporting R&B singer Tyrese. Audley is a fuse of Motown, Sounds of Philly and Soul, a sound he created simply by asking himself ‘What would Levi Stubbs and David Ruffin do today’? Proving to take the world by storm, his sound keeps Audley busy performing at Thomson/Tui holidays 5 star resorts across Europe, mentoring students and constantly writing new music.
Stimulate Your Soul chats to Audley about why it pays to be nice to sound engineers; how he felt when Wanya told him he loved his voice and how the transition from the corporate sector to the music industry has helped him move forward with his career. Margaret Tra writes.
You’ve supported acts such as Omar, Boyz II Men & Tyrese, what was that like? And did you take anything away from those performances?
Supporting these big named artists was such an honour. I learnt a lot from the whole process from entering the venue, the rules of sound checks and how you get treated. For example: When supporting Tyrese I was the guy from the TV show so I didn't have much respect from the crew setting up. I was due to perform first so had to sound check last. That sound check changed everything. It felt I got promoted, from performing first to the schedule being changed so I was the last act before Tyrese came out. My dressing room got upgraded too! I was first placed in what I can only describe as a broom cupboard (because there was a selection of brooms in there) to being moved to a large room with drinks, chocolate and a very much appreciated leather sofa. Anyone on the circuit would appreciate a comfortable place to sit and relax. A lot of the time we have to change in the restrooms! So make sure when it’s a new venue your sound check is on point. I always make sure I give a good vocal performance when sound checking and new people are around. You never know whose listening. And always respectful to the sound engineers those guys can make life very difficult for you if you give them a hard time.
With each high profile support I really learnt to control my nerves. These guys are my musical heroes so I really wanted to come out strong. The best comment I had was from Wanya (Boys2men) who said 'I love your voice man,' I nearly passed out!! I have to say Omar was the most real person I met. He gave me lots of advice and lots of laughs backstage which really helped me to relax.
You began in the corporate sector, how did you find the transition from a corporate world to the creative?
Very, very challenging. When the hype of the TV programme died down, I found myself feeling really low and unsure of the industry. With my management experience I was able to plan and execute a career path. I literally looked at the music business like delivering an IT project and had drafted project plans and action registers. I totally used the skills I had developed in the corporate sector. I don’t think I would have moved forward without it.
You successfully combine genres such as Motown, sounds of Philly and soul, stemming from the UK, how did you produce your sound?
I knew I had a passion for the Motown era, with artist such as Jahiem back in those days 2003/4 who had really fused old with new. I found myself asking the question 'what would Levi Stubbs and David Ruffin do in today's market place. That was at the forefront of my mind when I was writing and searching for sounds. Most of the music created was based strongly on feeling. If I had a good feeling then it was the right vibe to work with.
You are also a mentor, teaching across London, how important is it to you to pass on your knowledge?
Being able to share my knowledge and journey with young people is a very important part of my journey into soul. It is also sparks affirmation to the milestones and achievements in my career. I always imagine when I work with young people, what if I had me to talk to back in my youth when I was discovering music. I wouldn’t want to take away the excitement of the business by clouding the young people with the realities of a very difficult industry. Instead I try to allow them to work out the realisation whilst keeping their dreams and visions achievable.
What’s next for Audley Anderson?
Keeping it live! I'm very blessed to be travelling on a regular basis and perform at some fantastic 5 star resorts around the world for Thomson/Tui holidays. I am always in writing mode so will keep recording and slowly building my campaign. I plan to keep open so when opportunities do arise I can hold onto them with both hands!
You are a singer and a song writer, where do you gather your inspiration from?
Inspiration is from everything that happens around me, to me and to people around me. With every song written I can trace back a scenario or incident that has sparked the thought process. Even with songs written many years ago I can see where I was, times I was in the studio and in some cases smells that were around me at the time. When I’m in my zone in the writing process I absorb everything around me to some degree almost like a stamp of authenticity. That may not make sense to someone reading this, but it makes perfect sense to me.
Your most memorable moment when performing live?
I did a small holiday park on the Isle of Wight and performed to only a few people may be about 30 in total. It was a very intimate show and rather than doing 45mins I stayed on stage for 1hr 30mins. After the show a lady came and said thank you to me for helping her and her teenage daughter to connect. Through soul music they were able to laugh and dance together which had been missing for a while. Her actual words were ' I got my daughter back, even if it’s just for tonight we connected.'
What stimulates your soul?
When people let go and enjoy themselves and live in the moment. I always say that sometimes society pushes us into a social coma. I'm inspired when people let go of their fear and really enjoy themselves and feed into the music. Despite what is going on around them, it really is something that gives me a good feeling. I feel so grateful that I am able to do something with my life that I absolutely love. The saying I live by is if you do something you love, you never work a day in your life.
For more on Audley Anderson, jump onto his website.