THE MALAY MAIL
RISING STAR WITH A PEERLESS VOICE
GROWING up in Nottingham, Carly Paoli spent her childhood surrounded the rolling fields of the English countryside. But it was the soaring voices of the world’s greatest sopranos that moved her towards a career in classical music.
The 25-year-old beauty also attributes her early interest in singing to her Italian half of the family.
“My extended family lives in Italy, so when I was young, I took part in all the fiestas and got a lot of experience there,” she said.
“Italian music really moves me, more than anything else. That’s the direction I want to move as an artist – on that romantic Italian classical plane,” she said in a recent interview.
“I want to bring those romantic songs that are really old and have kind of disappeared back to something present.”
Paoli got her first taste of the stage during a holiday camp talent show when she was four years old.
“I was determined to perform. I used to sing along to all the Disney films, so my mum said I could.”
“But that day, I chose to sing a cheeky limerick I had learnt from my paternal grandfather, leaving the audience kind of speechless,” she said.
“Since then, at least I have progressed and gotten better.”
Beginning her professional vocal training at the tender age of nine, Paoli’s talent was evident immediately – receiving various scholarships to study performing arts at the Rodney School in Nottingham followed by the Arts Educational School in Hertfordshire.
It was here that her angelic voice was honed under the training of acclaimed mezzo-soprano Kirsty Mckenzie. Paoli became the lead soloist of the college’s chamber choir.
The mezzo-soprano singer completed her musical training with a BA honours degree in Vocal Studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester on a full scholarship. Here, she performed operas in French, German and Italian.
“I don’t speak French or German fluently but it is important for a singer to be completely aware of what they are singing about or there is no way of portraying that to an audience,” she said.
Paoli, the younger of two siblings, spent the next four years in a conservatoire under the tutelage of tenor David Maxwell Anderson.
On the difference between a soprano and a mezzo-soprano, Paoli said: “A soprano is usually featured as a woman in love. In an opera, she sings on a higher, more floaty tune.”
“A mezzo has a heavier role and voice like a wicked witch.”
One would be hard-pressed to imagine the poised and well-spoken Paoli as a wicked witch, but she is elated that she can use her classical technique to tell stories in the theatrical pieces she performs.
Paoli said she was currently working on her first album.
“We already have six songs and (composer Donnie) Demers’ work is featured on the album.
“I recorded my first track Save Your Love for Me at the Angel Studios in London. Paoli said she was excited to be finalizing the album and naming it.
“I am very pleased at how it has turned out. It’s quite funny to be able to put a cassette in your car and hear yourself, with a full orchestra. All the songs are mixed at Hollywood Studios, Los Angeles as they specialize in film scores.
“When people eventually hear my album, they will realize there are a lot of films out there that should have my music at the end,” she joked.
Paoli was in Kuala Lumpur last week as the brand ambassador for luxury Swiss watchmaker BEDAT & Co.
She performed for four nights at the annual ‘A Journey through Time VIII’, Asia’s grandest watch and jewellery showcase, held at Starhill Gallery in Kuala Lumpur.
“It is a huge honour to be invited to represent the brand for the next five years,” she said.
“Learning about Madame Bedat is very inspiring and a privilege to embody some of that and keep her legacy alive.”
Causes close to her heart
IN September, Paoli made her international debut in Canada when she was invited to perform with 16-time Grammy winner David Foster at his foundation’s Miracle Gala and Concert.
Established in 1986, the foundation promotes organ donor awareness and financially supports families for all non-medical expenses while their children undergo lifesaving organ transplants.
Foster played the piano to her melodious renditions of Angel Save Your Love for Me by Donnie Demers, Cinema Paradiso by Ennio Morricone and I Te Vurria Vasa (I Want to Be Kissing You) by 19th century Italian composer Eduardo Di Capua.
Foster reportedly described her as “amazing”.
“I didn’t know what to expect because I had heard very little. I hadn’t heard Carly sing live, but she sung beautifully, unbelievably. I was so impressed,” he had said.
Celebrities who came to support event included Jennifer Hudson, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Babyface among others. The evening raised a record-breaking $8.2 million (RM25 million).
Following this, Paoli performed at the International Women’s Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Awards (IWMF) in Los Angeles. It is the first time in the IWMF’s 25-year history that a singer had been invited to perform at the event.
Paoli sang a tribute to Pulitzer Prize-winning German photojournalist Anja Niedringhaus, 48, who paid the ultimate price for her work and was killed while covering the presidential elections in Afghanistan in April.
“I sang against a montage of Anja’s work,” she said.
“It was very touching and it helped people connect while see the amazing work she had done.”