Kellie lights up the stage
Name: Kellie Cadogan
UWI St. Agustine, Trinidad
Barbados Community College
London College of Music
Shenandoah University (The Institute for Contemporary Commercial Music Vocal Pedagogy)
UCS- Ursuline Convent School
Bachelors of Art in Theatre Arts
Associate Degree in Music
Associate Degree in Theatre Arts
Diploma in Teaching (Music)
Diploma in Performance
Certificate ( Levels I, II, III) in Somatic Voice Work- The Lovetri Method
Youth Achieving Results ( Music Program)
Occupation: Entrepreneur, Vocal Trainer & Coach, Lecturer, Vocalist
If you were sitting in an audience listening to the MC announcing you, what would they say?
Jazz singer Kellie Cadogan released her first album The Nearness of You in January 2009. The following year she received the Barbados Music Award – Jazz Artiste of the Year. Since then, this dynamic performer, who is a trained musician, has performed in Brazil, Boston, Belize, Canada, Suriname, and music festivals such as St Mary’s Jazz Festival (Virgin Gorda), the Barbados Jazz Festival, the Naniki Music Festival( Barbados) and Jazz on the Square at St Lucia Festival, all to impressive reviews.
She is also the Managing Director of East Point Productions Inc., which provides vocal training & coaching and which facilitates international certification from the London College of Music, University of West London.
What drives you and keeps you motivated; what are you passionate about?
Knowing that I am on this earth for a purpose and each day is an opportunity to live out that purpose through my goals. My family and my work also keeps me motivated. I am passionate about my singing and teaching.
Do you have a philosophy that your life is governed by?
Yes, Christ being at the centre of my life is what my life is governed by, no doubt about that.
‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.’
What four words best describe you?
Gorgeous, kind, expressive, inspirational
Your love for singing, when did it start and when did you realize this would be an integral part of your future?
My love for singing started when I was in Form 1s at St Ursula’s and I realized it was going to be an integral part of my future in 2nd form after a school talent show.
Having left secondary school, you attended the Barbados Community College where you completed an Associate Degree in Theatre Arts. Immediately following this degree you completed an Associate Degree in Music. Was this your plan when you first enrolled and why the need to do both degrees? You can also speak of the differences in the programmes.
No, doing music immediately after Theatre Arts was an interest I developed while I was studying Theatre at BCC. They both shared the same space and I had the privilege to be taught music theory by Roger Gittens within the Theatre programme. I enjoyed every single minute of class and fell in love with music theory. I had the dream to be a singer and knew that if I wanted to be a singer I should be trained and the interest in music started to grow from there.
In my earlier years I remember writing songs and having an expression that was not R&B, it was not Classical and it was not pop. Then one day I heard Neil Walker & Stefan Walcott playing the piano and something lit up within me and it matched the expression that I was experiencing for a long time. I then found out what they were doing was called ‘improvization’ and it was one of the main characteristics in jazz. From then, the hunger to learn and understand music and train to be a singer grew.
It was a natural progression to do Music after Theatre Arts. Theatre gave me the confidence to perform on stage; it gave me acting skills to be an effective communicator; to learn about my voice and speech and it gave me the tools to direct and write my own material. There was a period after doing Theatre that I did the Youth Achieving Results Music Programme and I focused on piano, but I also prepared myself in three months to do Grade 5 music theory (Trevor Kirton was very instrumental in that process).I bought all the books and started from scratch because it was important to me to get a good music theory foundation.
The difference- the theatre programme trained me to be an actor and the music programme trained me to be a singer with the ability to handle technical or back end work needed in the field of the arts.
You completed your Bachelors in Theatre Arts at the UWI in Trinidad. What was the experience like studying and living in Trinidad and would you say the experience was rewarding?
My experience was extremely rewarding! I was fortunate due to having an Associate Degree in Theatre to do my [Bachelors] degree in two years. That experience alone taught me to be persistent. I started in my second year and the journey began another level of creative expression through Drama and Theatre in Education.
I lived on hall – THE ONLY HALL – Milner Hall. It was great fun and matta season was grueling but those years were the sweetest! After a week of being there, I was music depleted and I was hungry for music. I remember hearing a trumpet playing from my dorm room and I left the hall with my roomate and walked around trying to find where this music was coming from on campus; it was around seven at night. It turned out that it was coming from the Creative Arts department. I introduced myself to the trumpeter (Rellon Brown) told him a bit about myself and the following weekend I was gigging with the band. So I was able to keep a healthy balance between studying and performing while I was in Trinidad.
You currently tutor/lecture at the Barbados Community College and the University of the West Indies Cave Hill. Was the transition from student to teacher a difficult one and what areas do you teach at each institution?
No, the transition was not that difficult at all. At BCC I taught in both the Theatre and Music departments – Music for Theatre, Vocal Methods, Private Lesson (Voice). UWI, I taught General Musicianship and Musical Theatre.
You had the privilege of attending the prestigious Berklee College of Music. How did that come about and what did you study during your time there?
Cool Jazz through Notes to Note Inc. had auditions, I applied and received the scholarship for five weeks. During the time I studied on my instrument (voice) and focused on musicianship, ensembles (3 ensembles), songwriting and harmony. I entered the Singer Songwriter showcase and my song Believe was selected for the final ten and I had the opportunity to write the music, lead the band and perform on the prestigious mainstage at Berklee Performance Centre.
If you had a ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Africa! I believe that is where life on earth began.
If you had the ability to solve one global issue, what would it be?
Food & Agriculture.
If you had the opportunity to perform at or headline any festival or event around the world, which would it be and why?
Montreux Jazz Festival – main stage/LIVE performance. It is one of the biggest festivals and the best performers in the world have done that festival.
Where has your voice taken you? Could you share some of the places and events at which you have performed, and which two are your most memorable.
Brazil (Pullman Hotel), Boston (Berklee Performance Centre), Belize/San Pedro (Costa Maya Festival), Suriname (CARIFESTA), and music festivals such St Mary’s Jazz Festival (Virgin Gorda), the Barbados Jazz Festival (Farley Hill), Naniki Music festival( Barbados) and Jazz on the Square & Jazz on the Pier at the St Lucia Festival, Harbor Front Centre – Toronto, Ultimate Soul Weekend (Barbados), An Evening with Kellie Cadogan (Frank Collymore Hall), Honey Jazz- Barbados.
To date the two most memorable – Jazz on the Square and Barbados on the Water Festival and A Taste of Honey Jazz in Toronto, Canada.
From a noted performing vocalist and artist to an educator now an entrepreneur. Tell us about “East Point Productions Inc.”.
East Point Productions Inc. was created to bridge the gap between the singer and the non singer through vocal & vocal coaching. Over 500 persons pass through our training programmes whether publicly or privately. We are the facilitators for the London College of Music, University of West London. That means that students who study voice with us can receive certification for their personal goals or for further study. These exams are also open to all other music schools/programmes. Some of our students have moved on to study at BCC and used the certification for studies aboard.
At the end of training, participants perform in our show Walkin’ In My Own Shoes, which is vocal showcase held at the Frank Collymore Hall.
You were in Belize in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and will be heading there again this month. What was your reason for going then and why are you going now?
I went to Belize in 2009 on a trade mission with the Youth Entrepreneurship Scheme. It was focused on exporting services and it was successful for me because I was called back by the Institute of Arts to conduct voice workshops in Belize City. My trip this time is to do intensive vocal training & coaching with participants for the National Song Competition and artistes in the country.
You have received numerous awards, too many to mention. All are important but which three would you say meant the most to you?
Barbados Music Award – Jazz Artiste of the Year ( 2009)
Small Business Association- Sectoral awards- Cultural Industries
Youth Entreprenurship Scheme- Excellence in Cultural Indutries
What are some of the habits that you have developed that have contributed to your success and work attitude as an artiste and an entrepreneur??
A prayer life, Respecting myself and others, knowing my values and sticking to them, being truthful, having a good work ethic and being responsible for my mistakes or errors.
In 2009 you recommitted your life to Christ. What motivated this change?
I grew up knowing about God, I would pray but yet I was very empty. At the time I thought I had success in my life but yet I was stilll very empty. I had a meeting with Rev. Mikie Roberts in Chefette during Gospelfet season (he was also my private lesson coach at BCC) and I poured out my heart to him that day and he was said to me, my answer is Christ but it was my choice. I knew it was the right choice but I was thinking about all the things I had to give up and change etc. Then I said you know what I have nothing to lose – I will do this today, no longer tomorrow. Since May 19th, 2009 my life has been filled with joy, peace and my dreams are coming true and more than that I know where I am going when I die.
2013 and 2015 were to wonderful years for you; becoming a wife and a mom. What has that experience been like?
Gosh! A fulfillment of God’s promises in my life. Being a wife is such a blessing from God. It is teaching me about myself – the good and the bad. It is reminding me of the power of prayer in everything and that the battles must be fought in the spiritual realm, hence the power of prayer. Being a mother is extremely rewarding. Carrying a child for nine months, giving birth and watching her daily has been changing my life. It is teaching me that our problems in society are not at the primary level it is what we teach and expose our children to as early as birth.
What do you love most about yourself?
Are there any persons you would love to highlight and say thank you to that has contributed to your development and success?
Everyone who I have encountered has contributed to my development and success. ALL, ALL, ALL of my family (immediate & extended) — the Cadogans, the Prices, the Wiltshires. All my teachers and classmates from primary and especially Ursuline Convent, UWI St Augustine. All of my students from St Michael School, Barbados Community College, University of the West Indies – Barbados, East Point Productions, Voice training 101 students, all of my business partners, all of my fans and supporters, on and off social media, everyone I have ever worked with. I thank you for every grain of contribution you have made in my life.
What’s next for Kellie?
To do more travelling, performing at festivals (locally,regionally & internationally), complete my second album, complete my first book, run a 10k and half marathon and restart the voice training programme for this coming school year.
(If you are a young Barbadian professional, or know of any worthy of being highlighted for their amazing contribution, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org)