Inspirational Woman: Annabel Williams | Vocal Coach

Annabel WilliamsAnnabel Williams is the perfect definition of entrepreneurial boss. Made famous by her work as a celebrity vocal coach, Annabel has made her presence within the music industry undeniably impressive.

Through her work on The X factor and Britain’s Got talent, alongside her impressive client list of Katy Perry, Yungblud, Little Mix and Amy Winehouse, Annabel continues to share her essence of professionalism and care for the musicians of today through her No.1 selling app ‘Vocal Coach’. The app benefits musicians in a multitude of ways, such as technique, mental health, and drive – all areas which Annabel has considerable amount of experience with.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

Hello! I am Annabel Williams, vocal coach, singer and lover of full time cheese lover (even though it’s not good for the voice – Oops!) I have been coaching recording artists, bands, singers, TV Contestants and choirs for a good 20+ years now and enjoy every minute. I work as Head Vocal Coach on all of Simon Cowell’s shows and am currently working on the new TV show ‘Walk The Line’ which will air in December. It’s very exciting and we are making it work covid allowing. Most of it is online, but it works! I feel very experienced at coaching online now having done this for the best part of the last 2 years, but so grateful that I can work at all! It’s going to be brilliant and one of the most exciting projects I’ve been involved in.

Shortly before this I finished working on the new series of BBC’s ‘I Can See Your Voice’- which is a hilarious new gameshow. I highly recommend it! You can get involved even from watching at home! Which is always a winner.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

Absolutely not! I rarely sit down and plan anything! It’s much more fun that way! To be honest I never set out to be a vocal coach. I call it a ‘happy accident’. I started coaching as young as 19 while I was at music college. I would help the younger ones with their theory and piano as I had been playing since I was 11. It earned me a bit of extra pocket money while I was studying, but what I wasn’t prepared for was how much I personally got out of it. I was the principal singer of The National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO – where Amy Winehouse started out) from about 1998 -2004 and decided to start up a singers jazz workshop on a Saturday morning when the band rehearsed. We got government funding and singers started coming every week (inc 16 year old Amy). I would teach them the repertoire (still some of the hardest songs I’ve ever sung in my life!) and the singers would then take turns singing the songs of that week with the 24 pieces big band full of fabulously talented up and coming musicians. The workshop is still run by the principal singers today and I’m hugely proud of that. NYJO is still going strong and is an excellent starting point for any musician or singer. It was my training ground and I owe so much to the band leader Bill Ashton for all NYJO did for me.

From then I always coached over the years alongside my busy career as a session singer, vocal arranger and touring the world backing up various incredible artists such as Cee Lo Green, Al Jarreau and Jennifer Hudson.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

There have been so many pinch me moments, but certainly moments like working on ‘Angels’ on stage at Wembley arena with Robbie Williams and singing backing vocals for the likes of Andrea Bocelli and Jennifer Hudson at the Palladium spring to mind. Most recently since I brought out my warm up app for singers, it being the number 1 paid music app on Apple App Store is an enormous achievement and I honestly can’t believe the success of it and how much people are loving it!

You’ve worked with many big names – do you have a favourite?

Of course! SO many though, haha. Megan McKenna, who won Celeb X Factor is a dream. So talented. Ricki Lake, Katy Perry, Little Mix & James Arthur all spring to mind because they’re so incredibly lovey and hard working which is always my favourite combination! Amy will always have a place in my heart and despite the heart breaking ending to her story, I couldn’t be prouder of her career and how well she did.

And who would you love to have a chance to work with?

Easy – Mariah and Adele! Desperate to get my hands on them. I know exactly what they need and it’s out there in the universe now. I know it will happen!

Annabel WilliamsYou’ve launched a Vocal Singing App – tell us more about that

I had the idea for a warm up app about 6 years ago but never found the time to do anything about it. Then lockdown hit and I decided to get productive and actually try and make it happen! I had all the exercises in my head and had been using them with celebrity clients and TV show contestants for years. They were tried and tested and I knew they worked and I wanted to share them with the world! So I created 28 exercises with matching videos and made an app! The exercises are to really cool funky tracks. I wanted my warm up exercises to sound like a Bruno Mars album as I felt there wasn’t anything like that out there, and wanted to make warming up and practicing fun and not a chore. I put a section on vocal health in there with my most asked questions/answers and you can make your own playlist of your favourite exercises. There’s even a practice calendar that will link to your own calendar and give your reminders to practice! I’m so proud of it and hundreds of people of all levels download it every month. I still can’t quite believe that!

The app has been out just over a year now and to mark the occasion I have created 10 brand new additional exercises with matching videos to add with lots more updates to the app. You can now speed up or slow down the exercises and they will also be available offline so if you don’t have wifi you can still practice. The app will be going to subscription which I’m super excited about and I want to make it affordable for everybody so am making it the price of a cup of coffee!

There’s lots planned for the app in the future and I get tons of messages every day from people telling me how it’s helped them, whether it’s their voices, mental health or self esteem. This Is the best feeling in the worked for me and what drives me to keep going with it.

The world of arts was turned upside down with the COVID-19 pandemic – How have you navigated through?

In a nutshell, I kept working from home, made the app and learned how to teach online 8 hours a day! The world is changing all the time and you have 2 choices, be stubborn or learn how to adapt. I’m all for change and moving forward so I try to learn how to deal with the negative and create new positives for myself. If that means creating new environments, then so be it. So I created a lovely little work station for myself at home where I teach, and I now have a recording set up at home to do all my sessions, recordings and arranging. I work hard to make everything run as smoothly and stress free as possible. I feel I have been very fortunate in my life and with the opportunities I’ve had and so I get a lot put of helping others by passing on my knowledge, training and experience as best I can. Singing is an incredibly powerful discipline to have and ask any singer and they’ll tell you it’s their therapy.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

I have 2! – ‘Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff’ and ‘Pick Your Battles’.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

I am in the middle of filming Simon Cowell’s wonderful new TV game show ‘Walk The Line’ which thanks to a brilliant concept and the most wonderful team, I am having a blast on. It’s one of the best projects I’ve ever worked on. After that there is lots in the pipeline, but most importantly to continue to get my app to people worldwide and to help people to use singing as a therapeutic tool whether as a hobby or professionally and to make sure that they are learning how to sing safely and effectively for years to come.

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