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 focussing 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 honour to perform for the Global Aerospace Summit in Abu Dhabi, The Arabia Travel Show and the Pond's Womens Awards Dubai.
I am very excited to announce my new residency at the St Tropez new Jazz bar with new members of my band Alwyn Fernandes and Donny D'Souza. If you want to hear some real Jazz then this is the place to be. Look forward to singing for you all there.
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