Singer Carly Paoli gears up for debut album release

Her incredible vocals wow the crowd wherever she goes. It was no exception when Carly Paoli performed in Kuala Lumpur recently.

The British mezzo soprano was in KL for the ninth edition of A Journey Through Time (AJTT), held in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia.

Paoli, a Unicef ambassador, also launched Starhill Gallery's Christmas Charity Drive.

Belting out tunes from her upcoming debut album (released next year), Paoli performed alongside Italian tenor Alessandro Safina and producer-composer Romano Musumarra (who worked with Paoli on her album).

The talented songstress made her Asian debut the same time last year for AJTT and was "happy to round off her eventful year back here in KL".

Excited about her return, the ambassador of luxury Swiss watch brand Bedat & Co shared that she was looking forward to enjoying Malaysian cuisine.

"I love spicy food. I am also waiting till after my performances to indulge in Hainanese chicken rice at Majestic Hotel. I had it there last time and it left a lasting memory," said Paoli.

The 26-year-old singer, who speaks Italian and English, was born to an Italian mother and a British father. Growing up watching Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland, she quickly realised that she wanted to be on stage. She fell in love with the theatrical world and wanted to be part of it.

Paoli began her professional vocal training at the tender age of nine. It wasn't long before her talent became clear as she trained under vocal coach Elizabeth Hetherington, who continues to teach her to this day.

Paoli polished her craft at various prestigious musical theatre schools and completed her training with a BA Honours Degree in Vocal Studies at The Royal Northern College of Music; it completely changed her path as she studied opera.

Paoli made her international debut last year at The David Foster Foundation Miracle Gala, where she shared the stage with world-class artistes such as Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson and Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler.

She continued to grace headlines as the first artiste to perform at The International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) Awards in Los Angeles. Paoli was then invited to perform for Prince Charles at a concert at Windsor Castle.

Her career reached a peak when Paoli headlined a spectacular concert in conjunction with the Teatro Dell'Opera Di Roma and Unicef at the historic Terme Di Caracalla in Rome. Hosting the event, she was joined by guests such as the Three Tenors star Jose Carreras, Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and British tenor Russell Watson.

Prior to her KL trip, Paoli performed at New York's Carnegie Hall and Boston's Jordan Hall. Supported by a 72-piece Korean Chamber Orchestra, she was given standing ovations for her outstanding showcases.

Paoli's high-profile performances made a huge impact on the world of classical music which brought her to the attention of producer-composer Romano Musumarra, resulting in the recording of her album.

The album, which Paoli describes as "a cocktail of all her musical experiences and training", includes songs written by Oscar and Tony-winning lyricist Don Black (who co-wrote Michael Jackson's Ben and James Bond themes The World Is Not Enough and Diamonds Are Forever). It also sees her recording with iconic Spanish tenor Jose Carreras on a song titled Aranquez.

With what seems to be an enviable path to achieving her dreams, Paoli divulged that the journey itself was a lot of hard work; there were many times she had to pick herself up again.

"I got very, very close to a recording company and was with them for a year. I was busy attending meetings and the songs were starting to come in. Just as I was getting ready to go into the studio to record, everything fell through; the funding wasn't there," she revealed. "It was one of those times where I had nearly prised the door open but it just slipped through my fingers."

Focusing on her training while teaching at the time and performing where she could, Paoli knew that it was a matter of time before someone approached her again. "It's about not giving up."

Leading a demanding lifestyle, Paoli shared that eating healthy and rehearsing three hours daily were of utmost importance.

"I don't drink, I love the gym and I love to dance. My voice isn't an instrument that I can just pick up and play. I do have good days and bad days. There are days when I am just 80 per cent and I have work with it and deliver. In the end, the show must go on. It's a cheesy phrase but it is so true," she said.

An endearing quality that many may not know is that Paoli takes her parents on her travels. "I am fulfilling my dream and they are investing their time and energy to see that it comes true. It's just fair that I bring them along for the ride now," said Paoli.

"I may be now living the dream but I still go for singing lessons and continue to learn from the people I work with. It is important that you take each experience to build your personality and to make yourself stronger.

"So, my advice is to learn from every experience and never give up."