I have been singing from a very early age when I joined the Montfort Stage School, Cork city, Ireland. I discovered my love for the stage and performing when I took part in many of the musical productions at the school. I performed many leading roles in musicals. My earliest and most memorable being performing 'Feed the Birds' from Mary Poppins.
It was here at this school that I had successfully finished my studies in acting, speech and drama with LAMDA (London Academy of Drama and Acting). However, my vocal style and influence was strongly inspired when on my 13th birthday I received my first Billie Holiday single named 'You’ve changed'. This strongly inspired my direction. Jazz became a big part of my life.
I travelled to London at the age of 18 where I was trained by the famous vocal coach Glynn Jones who trained Annie Lennox, Shirley Bassey, Patti La Pone and many other West End vocalists. Under his guidance, I was focusing on a career in the West End and Broadway. After four years of training in London, I successfully auditioned for the Dublin Academy of Music under the well-known opera coach Veronica Dunne and returned to Dublin to train for another year. My next step was to apply for the prestigious Julliard Music Centre in New York City but life took a new turn and I remained in Ireland to raise my two children.
At the age of 31, I hosted a TV fashion program which led to me becoming a TV and radio presenter. My regular fashion slot on TV3 and entertainment correspondent at RTE for theatre, film and book reviews for radio shows such as Ryan Tubridy and Dave Fanning led me to discover my other talents. However, my passion for singing and Jazz had stayed with me and I decided to attend New Park School of Jazz in Dublin to study a Jazz improvisation course. It was here that I decided to pursue the one true passion that I loved, singing Jazz. On my return to Cork in 2008 I was introduced to fellow saxophonist from Baltimore and soon learned that we both shared similar influences by Billie Holiday and Lester Young and therefore Anita Williams & Rouge was formed.
Anita Williams & Rouge have gone from strength to strength. We performed at the Glucksman Gallery UCC, Opera House, Cork City, Speigle Tent, The Pavilion, The Button Factory, Dublin and various other music venues throughout Ireland. I featured on front page of the Sunday Times for the Cork Guinness Jazz festival 2010. We released our first original song 'Take Me To The Paradiso' in early summer 2011.
Since 2012, I have relocated to Dubai. I have been busy building a reputation to establish a Jazz and Swing scene in Dubai. I am working with various musicians. I have performed for the World Perfume Award at Burj Khalifa, the Middle East Fashion Award at the Ritz Carlton, The World Diamond Exchange at the Palm Dubai, and many other performances at Atlantis and Burj Al Arab. And have finished recording my first Album of Jazz greats.
2014 has been a great year for Jazz so far. Thank you to everyone who came to see me at The One and Only-The Palm. I also had the honor to perform for the Global Aerospace Summit in Abu Dhabi, The Arabia Travel Show and the Pond's Women’s Awards Dubai.
The summer of 2014 I spent in the studio with Ollie Fernandez and we recorded some great Jazz tunes. One of my very favorite songs is 'I don't know' by Ruth Brown and I love our arrangement. I hope you enjoy it too.
The season started with a fantastic experience performing for L'Oreal at Burj Khalifa. This was the start of some incredible performances in 2014. I was very proud to be asked to perform again at the Middle East Fashion Awards for the third year running.
The highlight of 2014 was recording my all-time favorite Christmas song 'Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas' in conjunction with Universal and Mango Jam studios. A day to remember; 10 musicians in one studio and recorded in one day. This day will stay with me forever.
In November 2014 I was offered a fantastic opportunity to have my own Jazz night with my own Jazz band and sing some serious Jazz at the RoofTop of the One & Only Royal Mirage Dubai. It was an incredible 6 months and formed the band that I can now call my Jazz soul mates.
2015 has been a whirlwind of Jazz performances. Most notably was the Global Financial Forum at Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi ,the Global Aerospace Summit. And finished the season with two performances at the AHIC.
The highlight of 2015 was when I was asked to be a judge at the very first UAEs Got Talent. I met some incredible talent and have such wonderful memories from all the great kids and adults involved.
Now Summer 2015 is here. We are back in the studio. So watch this space. And as I say every day “ The Jazz Must Go On “ .
I have such a passion for Jazz. I feel like I'm an old soul. I have been there before.
Picture on front page of Sunday Times October 2010
Jazz narratives in dark and light