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After spending much of her early singing career in gospel choirs, Sharleen Linton has become one of pop and music’s most sort after session vocalists.

ACM was privileged to welcome Sharleen to Guildford to deliver a special guest lecture session to the first and second year vocal degree students. Following the two hour session, Vocal Fellow Jono McNeil caught up with Sharleen to talk about her experiences and the lessons she’s learned during her time in the music industry.

Have you enjoyed your time with us today?
I always enjoy my time at ACM, it’s such a fertile place full of students who are just passionate about music and wherever there’s music passion, that’s my favourite place.

You’ve really installed us with some (passion) today, you seem like a passionate person – how did that come about?
I think that’s the kind of person I am generally – i like to be very conscious, I like to grow and develop and move forward in every single way, whether it’s my character. I like the idea of becoming stronger every day at something and focusing on a goal and really going for it whilst enjoying the process.

So you’ve worked with so many people; Il Divo, Craig David, Natasha Bedingfield, Adele (Live at The Royal Albert Hall), and had some incredible experiences. Have you loved being a singer?
I’ve absolutely loved being a singer, being part of a tour or a DVD, even a one off gig – it’s just so special. I’ve really enjoyed being in the background actually. I’ve enjoyed supporting artists. I’ve enjoyed those little things to make that track to make things extra special.

We have many students here at ACM looking at a career like yours and thinking “I’d love to do what she does”, what advice would you give to our students as they begin their music industry experience?
What I would advise is to get in the studio where you can and record a demo, whether it’s covers or original stuff, people need to hear your vocals. But before you do that I would get into doing as many open mic nights as you possibly can, do a biography – things that you’ve done inside college, things that you’ve done outside of college – and let people know the things that you’ve done before and really just walk with that biography, walk with that demo track because this industry is about connectivity; everybody is connected in some way and if they like you and like what you’re doing, they’re going to want to put you forward for other things and it snowballs and it builds. But you have to be ready to do the groundwork and then grab it with both hands. Be passionate about it and treat it like it’s your job to find work, it’s your job to get noticed. That’s what I would do and what I did do.

We’ve loved having you here at ACM, would you like to come back at some point?

Could you give us one last little piece of advice
I would say to any vocalist just be very certain about who you are, what you have as a person and how you can add value to a band, that can add value to any team. What is it about your voice that is unique? There’s something about everybodies voice that is just special and is just them and when you add that to a backing vocal team or a group, it brings something really powerful and just to be aware of those things and to celebrate yourself. It’s not arrogance, it’s not egotistical, to be happy with the positive things about yourself – it’s so easy to be negative and focus on the negativity, but there are great things in all of us to be celebrated and brought to the fore-front, that you can just feel good about who you are.

ACM would like to thank Sharleen Linton for taking time out from her busy schedule for visiting and delivering a vocal guest lecture to our students. We wish her well for all her upcoming projects and look forward to welcoming Sharleen back to ACM soon.