Carol Jarvis – Introduction:
What is your name?
How old are you?
Where do you live?
Good question! I have a house near London and a house in Cheshire… both!
Carol Jarvis – The Instrument:
What is your instrument?
What make of instrument do you use?
I’m a Rath Trombones artist
When did you start to play your instrument?
What drew you to your instrument in the first place?
I wanted to play the comedy instrument according to my dad!
Do you play any other instruments?
Keys and backing vocals with Seal. Usual doubling instruments in classical work (Alto Trombone, Euphonium)
Carol Jarvis – The Person:
What did you want to be when you grew up as a child?
What is your day job?
If you could have any other job in the world what would it be?
Radio Presenter (I have my own show on local radio, but it would be fun to do it professionally)
Do you have a family?
Mum, Dad, brother, but not one of my own yet… not had time! But hope to one day.
Carol Jarvis – The Musician:
What is an average day for you like?
Varies completely from a day off, to travelling ridiculous distances, to long rehearsals/recording sessions/gigs
How much do you need to practice your instrument?
I try to play everyday, even if I’m not gigging that day, as I often get last minute calls and you need to be on form.
What musical education did you have?
Milton Keynes music service, County Music Scholarship, Royal Northern College of Music 1st class degree, two Professional Performance diplomas (distinction)
What was your first paid performance?
Depping for my trombone teacher in a recording session aged 16. He used to tour with the Spice Girls, Suggs etc, so was great when he started passing me work! I continued with professional work ever since, and by the time I reached my final year at Music College I was actually too busy to be there!
How often do you perform?
Varies completely. Sometimes a few days off, sometimes crazily busy on tour, so it changes totally week to week.
What are you currently working on?
Between tours with Grammy award winning pop star Seal, and also planning my second solo album. All amongst treatment for cancer!
What previous projects/bands/etc have you worked on?
The list is endless! Pop artists include Seal, Sting, Michael Bolton, Bon Jovi, Lulu, the list goes on and on! Classically with every major symphony orchestra in the UK. I made my debut solo album last year too.
How much travelling do you do?
Hmmm… This week I had 4 flights and 7 hours driving all within 34 hours! Next week I’m only in Cheshire and London… last month I toured the whole of South America and Mexico… it varies so much!
What is your favourite style of music?
I like everything, that’s why I could never choose which genre to commit 100% to work-wise.
Do you mainly play your favourite style of music, or something else?
I play it all, as I love it all! I always say to students (I am a trombone professor at Trinity College of Music in London) to keep all doors open style-wise. It has worked for me and I am a busy freelance musician. If you choose to just study jazz, then you are closing doors around you where there may be work. It is tough to study all styles and perfect them all, but a good challenge and will keep you at the top of your game and hopefully earn you more work.
Out of all the places you have performed, which was your favourite?
Don’t think I have a favourite… there are so many. I have done gigs in strange places including on a submarine, on a plane, in a mine, etc… I like the ones that stick in your mind for other reasons… good stories behind them etc!
Where would you like to perform?
Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with on a musical project?
Take That, purely because I’m a girl and always been a fan! I work with their MD, Mike Stevens, from time to time and he worked on my solo CD with me.
What is the worst bit about being a musician?
The tiredness from the ridiculous schedules that often come up.
Carol Jarvis – Extra bits:
If you won £10million on the lottery, what would you do first?
Buy a house in LA. I have so many friends there and love the weather.
What was the last book you read?
It’s Not About the Bike – Lance Armstrong (inspiring is an understatement!)
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
Time travel – it would save me so much hassle and tiredness! Would also be fun when planning holidays!
What would the title of your autobiography be?
‘Life as an Instrumental’ – someone came up with this a few years back for me. I never listen to lyrics, but the melodies, harmonies, instrumentation, reverb, effects, etc… I don’t mean to, it just happens. I hardly ever know what a song is about! It’s probably due to my job and the arrangements and transcribing I have to do. I have written orchestral arrangements for Seal and the San Francisco Symphony, I write all his horn section arrangements, and transcribe charts from his previous albums for tours. I also co-orchestrated some tracks for Corinne Bailey Rae’s album ‘The Sea’ and helped production on a Eurovision entry, so I’m very much caught up in the ‘music’ rather than words. The other reason behind the title would be related to my 7 year battle with cancer (ongoing!). I wish there was an answer, but at the moment there isn’t… hence it feels instrumental.
If you had one tip to give to an aspiring musician – what would it be?
There are no short cuts.. practise makes perfect. Always treat others the way you would want to be treated, as you don’t know where/who your next gig will come from.
More Carol Jarvis
Interview by Paul Emmett