At the age of seven Caroll started her music training playing the classical piano. After a while, it became apparent she had a talent both for music and mathematics, two passions she would combine all through her student years. During her studies she took private courses with top Belgian jazz performer David Linx and the famous American jazz singer Judy Niemack. During that time, Caroll also worked together with the great Peter Girth at the Staatstheater of Darmstadt (Germany) where she wrote a dissertation on
'Artistic freedom or financial waste within the Performing Arts'.
After completing her engineering studies at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 1994, Caroll was determined to go forward and continue in her ambition as a musician.
She enrolled at the music conservatory of Ghent, where she finished her candidature years and prepared for her entry-examination at the famous London Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Artistic excellence and high quality performance lie at the heart of the Guildhall School's success and only a limited number of international students are accepted. She completed her
postgraduate studies at the Guildhall where she graduated magna cum laude in 1998.
During that time she worked together with the
great Iranian conductor/composer Alexander Rahbari, who was
Belgian Philharmonic Orchestra of the National television broadcasting network at that time.
Meanwhile, in 1996, while studying at the conservatory, she sang the role of Lauretta for the CD-release of the
musical EXTASY which was written and produced by
Alexander Rahbari. This CD was released in 1999 under the "Discover of Koch International" label.
In 1997 Caroll participates at a TV music contest where she reached the finales with the song Calling You from the beautiful movie Bagdad Cafe.
From September 1998 till September 1999, she was the fix singer for the
Panasonic Technics keyboard demonstrations, with pianist Piet Meersschaut.
In January 1999 she creates the cover-group "O-position" with 7 professional jazz musicians, where she's the lead voice and plays the second keyboard. Together
with this band, she performed on several music festivals.
In September 1999 a first single is released: No Scrubs edited by North West featuring Caroll
under the label ARS.
In February 2000 she participates again at a TV music contest where she reaches the semi-finals with a reggae version of the song Memory from the musical Cats.
In 2001-2002 as being a member of the
group Mezcal with band leader Luiz Marquez, she experiments with
ethnical, Mexican music and bolero and she is the featured singer on their
As Caroll gave birth to a little boy and a little
girl in 2001 - 2003, she decides to take a rest for a while and starts writing her own songs and lyrics.
In 2006 she also participated at the project LaFrench.
In the mean while she recorded some backing vocals on Enrique Tarde’s new album and in 2008 she started a creative jazz duo project with the great Thailand-based jazz piano player Tars Lootens.
In 2007 she went on a 10-day tour to China (Beijing) with fantastic musicians! They played in great places as the Beijing Jazz Club, the Conservatory of Beijing, the Embassy of the Netherlands and many other places.
In 2006 she started to write songs for her new album Colours and wanted to mix all the influences she had into one CD. There are some fantastic musicians playing on "
colours' " like Mike Roelofs, Ron van Stratum, Frank Peeters, Sam Vloemans
and Henk de Laat. The cd
2008: release of debut solo full album, Colours’. In her debut solo album singer-songwriter Caroll Vanwelden
brings a mix of all influences she encountered in her career as a
singer. You strongly feel her passion for Jazz, Latin
and Soul, melted with a dash of pop. Some songs are easy listening;
others bring you to the dance floor. Her very distinctive style and her
perfectionism made it long to go for a solo album.
Critic Albert Healemeersch: "Colours’ is a powerful debut of a great singer-composer. A must in your collection!"
As jazz has always been her first love, Caroll Vanwelden recorded at her home studio a collection of exquisite standards for an easy listening compilation of her all-time favourites, which resulted in the new swing jazz album
‘Cheek to Cheek’. Critic Albert Healemeersch: No horns, no violins, just that sober sound that reminds of the real cosy jazz clubs. With some of her friends and top musicians –
Dirk Van Der Linden on guitar, Janos Bruneel on double bass, and
Stijn Wauters on the piano – vocalist Caroll Vanwelden succeeded in recreating that lovely 1920-30’s sound with just the right retro touch and lots of great swinging moments. As a vocalist Caroll was really made to bring that good old jazzy style.
In March 2010 she performs on the gala of the Belgium-Indian Economic Mission in Mumbaï (India) headed by H.R.H. Prince Philippe of Belgium.
In January 2011 Caroll moves with her family to Germany where she starts composing for her new challenging project:
putting music on 16 Shakespeare Sonnets. She finished the writing in December 2011 and recorded her new album "Caroll Vanwelden Sings Shakespeare Sonnets" in April 2012. Caroll sings the sonnets and in the mean time plays the piano and together with her musicians Thomas Siffling (tr,flughelh), Mini Schulz (double bass) and Markus Faller (dr,perc), she brings you in the different atmospheres and sound colours of Shakespeare's wonderful world. With this album she propels the great Shakespeare unexpectedly into the world of big jazz librettists and interprets his lyrics into contemporary music in wonderful arrangements.
The new album "Caroll Vanwelden Sings Shakespeare Sonnets" was released in October 2012 at the Enjoy Jazz Festival in Mannheim, Germany under the label Jazz 'N' Arts.
Critic Thomas Hintze (Stereo, Dezember 2012): "Hier handelt es sich um ein Album, welches das Zeug hat, zur CD des Jahres gewählt zu werden."
All other reviews are all listed on the page of
Critic Concerto (Austria) by Gerhard Strejcek 5/2012 8.10.2012
"Hier wird große Kunst auf Augenhöhe mit Norma Winstone, Diana Krall oder Randy Crawford geboten."
As sequel on her album Cheek to Cheek, with Songs of the '30s, Caroll comes out with DON'T EXPLAIN in dec 2013, with songs of the '40s, where she
gives a renewed face to evergreens from the past and brings those unforgettable songs to a level where she, for a short time carries us back to the era of Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald.
Critic Albert Healemeersch:
This year, she’s back again with her new album
'DON’T EXPLAIN' with her favorite songs of the ‘40s, featuring refreshing and colorful arrangements. Listening to her outstanding, unique and warm voice, you quickly come to the conclusion, that all the ingredients are there again to turn this 'new adventure' into another hit.
The openers 'All or nothing at all’ and ‘Don’t explain’ put you immediately in the right mood and atmosphere. Even the duet-song ‘Baby it’s cold outside’ keeps the listener in suspense until the last chord. Together with her wonderful band, Thomas Stabenow on double bass, Daniel Prandl at the piano and Bernhard Sperrfechter on guitars, Caroll Vanwelden takes us seamlessly back in time to the top years of the good old cozy jazz clubs.
'DON'T EXPLAIN' is an amazing, powerful, emotional and vivacious album with fourteen tracks presented in a very minimalistic line-up; an album that catches your attention from the beginning to end .
Curtain raised - Presenting Shakespeare Reloaded!
Two years ago, newly discovered in Germany, the outstanding Belgian singer Caroll Vanwelden catapulted herself into the limelight amid much celebration and acclaim. “As a singer, pianist and perhaps most importantly as a
composer she shows both original and new ways to entrance music lovers ”, enthused Mauretta Heinzelmann, “Transposing Shakespeare with minimal repetition while at the same time using complicated time changes”, the exceptional CD released in 2012 was chosen as “Album of the week” by the North German broadcasting company (NDR). Not less impressed was Thomas Hintze of Stereo, who saw in “Caroll Vanwelden Sings Shakespeare Sonnets” a project that “had the potency to be CD of the year”. As a result Stereo awarded it the commendation of "CD and Audiophile Highlight of the Month". So it's obvious that the chapter between Shakespeare and Vanwelden's not closed yet. With
“Caroll Vanwelden Sings Shakespeare Sonnets 2”
the graduate of the London Guildhall School of Music and Drama presents an emotional, rich and lively collection from her “seemingly endless supply of creativity.” (NDR) Together with her congenial musicians: Thomas Siffling, whose elegant melodies on the trumpet and flugelhorn intertwine with Caroll’s expressive and emotionally charged voice, fellow musician Mini Schulz, smoothly stroking or groovy plucking on the contrabass for added texture, and new band member Rodrigo Villalon accenting the flexible rhythms with the drums and various percussion instruments, Caroll Vanwelden has once again produced a rich tapestry for jazz lovers around the world.
five albums under her own name, this belgian musician shows her great
passion for Brazilian songs on her latest album and interpreted
Brazilian songs in her own and unique way.
Caroll Vanwelden has performed already in French, Dutch, English, German
and Spanish. For this project, she also learned Portuguese so that she
could record her favorite songs in the original language.
Since her youth, Caroll is an avid fan of Ivan Lins and Joao Gilberto,
and "Elis & Tom" (Elis Regina and Tom Jobim) belongs to her absolute
favorite CDs. The way how Brazilian artists play harmonically and
rhythmically complex songs and always exude an effortless ease, has
always fascinated her and inspired her a lot. "Brazilian music has
something very cute, intimate and familiar for me, it is very intense
and very sad at the same time and that’s just the way I wanted my album
to sound like." discribes Caroll.
Deliberately she has therefore opted for a reduced cast: guitar, bass
and drums. Carolls musical life motto "less is more" characterizes the
acoustic sound of the album. The fact that the musicians know each other
very well and are longtime friends is clearly reflected in the intimate
and warm atmosphere of the recording.
The subtle and very musical accompaniment of Hans Van Oost supports her
warm and expressive vocals, while Mario Vermandel plucks his bass in a
very groovy way. Luc Vanden Bosch takes care for the accentuation of
Brazilian rhythms, and uses different percussion in addition to drums
which also contributes to the amazing richness of the sound of the band.
With "Portraits of Brazil”, Caroll Vanwelden presents once more on an
emotional, rich and lively way, her seemingly endless supply of
“All good things come in threes“; this must have been Caroll
Vanwelden’s motivation which lead the Belgian to write a jazz
trilogy around Shakespeare’s sonnets. The artist went on a musically
multidimensional journey which will reach its peak but also its
brilliant ending with her newest release Caroll Vanwelden – Sings
Shakespeare Sonnets 3 on JAZZNARTS RECORDS on July 21st 2017. Once
again, the last record of her trilogy creates an original and unique
approach and this time to the most popular sonnets of the English
grandmaster. The guiding thread of all productions is the warm and
colorful voice of Vanwelden. One moment the artist is able to create
a multifaceted melancholy and in the next moment, the listener gets
carried away by the intensity and power of her voice. She releases
energy, creates emotions, and enchants with hypnotic ease. This,
combined with the thematic discussion on Shakespeare and his credo
on the prosecution of infinite love, creates such a powerful
expression as has not yet been experienced. “The motifs and guiding
lines of Shakespeare are both, fascinating and universal. I see
myself in all of his motifs and find a huge amount of inspiration
within them”, states the musician. The pianist is musically
supported by three of the most exciting and successful
instrumentalist of Germany. Thomas Siffling from Mannheim, is
playing the trumpet and the flugelhorn. His elegant melodies merge
perfectly with Vanwelden’s unique and warm voice. The artist and
professor Mini Schulz from Stuttgart is not only stroking the bow of
his double bass gracefully, but is also plucking it in a groovy and
casual manner. Jens Düppe, living in Cologne, is the newcomer of the
group. With his drum and percussion playing, he creates complex
rhythm, and contributes to the rich sound palette of the group.
Caroll Vanwelden’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s sonnets no. 3
marks a magical and absolute exclamation mark behind a musical
trilogy of almost uncompetitive excitement. The courageous approach
and the artistic treatment of the sonnets seem to succeed
effortlessly. The outcome is an album for the classical jazz
admirer, friends of lyric, or the simple music fan. This album is a
sheer delight from the first to the last piece, or, from verse to