ALUMNI

This is where we find out what our former students are doing now.  I love this page because it's so exciting to see what everyone is up to.  If you're reading this and you are a former  Groove member, send us a few paragraphs, a recent photo and video, soundcloud, etc and we'll include you on our website.

Ben Soan

As a young bass player, Ben soon became very involved in the life of Groove Academy.  Before long, he was part of 'Montage', our award winning band, playing a huge part in the success of the group.  In 2009 he successfully auditioned for the Brit School for Performing Arts and Technology, gaining a BTEC Diploma in Music.

In 2010, Ben was bass player for Chakula Soul, a group of young soul musicians who successfully auditioned and reached the live semi-finals of 'Must be the Music', Sky 1's music competition, hosted by Jamie Cullum, Sharleen Spiteri, Dizee Rascal  and Fearne Cotton.

 

 

 

Ben played bass and backing vocals in the band  Beast (previously named Karvel), who drew the attention of mega producers​ like Jim Abbiss (Artic Monkeys, Kasabian, Placebo).  They also produced 2  tracks  with Grammy award winning producer / engineer Adrian Bushby  (Foo Fighters, Muse, Smashing Pumpkins).

They released their debut EP, with acclaimed producer, Bill Gautier of The Cure,  on 12th August, 2013,  on Avatone Records.  

 

He is currently the bass player for LOLA who are about to do their first full band tour (November 2014).  

 

You can find them at: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Reed

Jim, a drummer, joined Groove Academy as a ten-year-old and already showed signs of the good things to come.  He successfully auditioned for Brit School and completed his BTech Music in 2015.

 

At present he is touring with RAYE.  Check out the website and video below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ben Soan

As a young bass player, Ben soon became very involved in the life of Groove Academy.  Before long, he was part of 'Montage', our award winning band, playing a huge part in the success of the group.  In 2009 he successfully auditioned for the Brit School for Performing Arts and Technology, gaining a BTEC Diploma in Music.

In 2010, Ben was bass player for Chakula Soul, a group of young soul musicians who successfully auditioned and reached the live semi-finals of 'Must be the Music', Sky 1's music competition, hosted by Jamie Cullum, Sharleen Spiteri, Dizee Rascal  and Fearne Cotton.

 

 

 

Ben played bass and backing vocals in the band  Beast (previously named Karvel), who drew the attention of mega producers​ like Jim Abbiss (Artic Monkeys, Kasabian, Placebo).  They also produced 2  tracks  with Grammy award winning producer / engineer Adrian Bushby  (Foo Fighters, Muse, Smashing Pumpkins).

They released their debut EP, with acclaimed producer, Bill Gautier of The Cure,  on 12th August, 2013,  on Avatone Records.  

 

He is currently the bass player for LOLA who are about to do their first full band tour (November 2014).  

 

You can find them at: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Billie Wackrill
​

Billie has had a varied career in the performing arts.  From a very young age she has modelled, e.g Disney Fashion, Disney Girl Magazine – BBC, Dorling Kindersley Books, NSPCC Poster Campaign; as a young actress, she played the part of Holly in Footballers Wives.  She has been in several t.v adverts and appeared in the short film, The Curry Club.



Music has always been her passion and she joined Groove Academy at the age of 11, becoming an integral part of the success of our academy, participating as a lead singer in our achievements of note.  She attended the Brit School where she completed her schooling in 2013.    In 2012 Billie was the recipient of the  Accenture Bursary, an award given to the BRIT School, designed to give financial and motivational assistance to a talented music student, helping them to reach their true potential and prepare the chosen recipient for a promising career in the music industry.

Billie has been in the National Youth Jazz Orchestra and has also been part of a Jazz trio performing regularly at venues in and around Richmond Upon Thames and finished the first year of the Jazz degree course at the Guildhall School of Music.

She is now performing under the stage name 'Billie Black' and is releasing her EP of original material in October 2014 along with various performance dates both here and abroad.  

 

She has also just signed a publishing deal with Warner Chappellis.

With a lot of interest from music industry and the media, we're looking forward to seeing what Billie's going to be doing next.

 

Carli Johnson

Carli joined Groove Academy when she was 16.  She established a dance team within the academy, training and choreographing  small groups for performances.  She also performed as a vocalist and dancer within the academy.


After completing a full time National Diploma and an AS in Dance at Brooklands College, Carli went on to gain a BA (Hons) degree in Dance & Professional Practise.  During her time at university, Carli competed at International level with Cheerleading, Jazz and Hiphop squads. She also co-founded and ran a Musical Theatre Society staging showcases and full musicals.


After finishing her degree, Carli successfully gained a place at Laine Theatre Arts and received funding help from the BBC to further her aspirations.  She is now in her third year of professional training and hopes to perform before eventually moving into teaching.



Carli is on Twitter- @CarliAnnJohnson and will soon have a showreel and website.

Chelsea Ramsay

Chelsea was 11 when she joined Groove Academy in 2004, focusing on vocals and piano.

In 2008 she was the first Groove Academy member to join The BRIT School, and a steady stream of our students have followed her lead since then. 



Chelsea was one of fourteen young Londoners selected to attend a project called Jazz Alive where she had the opportunity to work with Soweto Kinch and Orphy Robinson.



With a Grade 6 Distinction in Vocal Performance, Chelsea loves working with young vocalists who are just starting out, working on technique, harmony and stage presence.



Formerly lead singer of The Urban Jazz Station, a nu-jazz outfit of cutting edge young jazz musicians from in and around London she is now working on various musical projects at the moment so we'll be putting up some new links showing what she's been doing in due course.

 

Chelsea studied Hair and Make-Up for Media at College and really enjoys being able to express her creativity in this area of the creative arts.

 

Check out her most recent song (on the video to your right)

 

 

 

 

Christina Bulford
 

Christina joined Groove Academy in our founding year.  From attending our launch party as a 13 year old novice armed with a week-old bass guitar, she went on to play a major part in our inaugural performance.

 

Since then, she has been involved in many projects including our Royal Albert Hall performance as part of 'Montage' in 2008 and the Aberdeen International Youth Festival in 2009.

 

Christina still gets involved wherever she can, and recently joined us on a trip to Norway where she gave her first Groove Academy performance as a singer.

 

Christina graduated from Bangor University with a BA in English and Theatre studies in 2012.  Whilst there, she was able to incorporate her music skills into her theatrical performances.  She was also involved with music outside of her course, chairing a University music society through which she organised gigs and club nights.

 

Since graduating, Christina has been developing a career in arts marketing and PR. She is also still involved with live music, playing at venues such as The Basement Door in Richmond and The Ailsa Tavern in St Margarets.  

 

Christina has also become involved with Ramsay Musical Instruments, where she endorses the JayBee brand.  She will be travelling with RMI to European music festival 'Musikmesse' in March 2014, as an endorser and promoter.

 

 

Fabiana Palladino



Fabi joined Groove Academy in her late teens.  A gifted pianist and vocalist, she accompanied many of our other students in their performances supporting the younger students.

She went on to complete a degree in music at Goldsmith's University.

She played keys and supplied backing vocals for the artist Ghostpoet, a Mercury Award nominee for Best Breakthrough Artist in 2011, and performed with him on 'Later with Jools...'



She released her first EP, 'Long Nights of War', in December 2011.   For more info press links below:





 

Kendall Ramsay

Kendall joined Groove Academy in 2004 at the age of 9.  She is a vocalist first and foremost but played drums and sax throughout her time at Groove Academy.  She joined The BRIT School in 2009, completing her schooling there in 2013.  She is currently at Goldsmiths University studying Psychosocial Studies.

 
Kendall is a songwriter and in 2008, one of her songs 'It's only Natural' was selected by a panel from Music for Youth to be included in a performance Groove Academy gave in the School Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. 



In early 2012, Adidas launched 'Take the Stage' their campaign for the Olympic Games.  They chose a young person from each London borough who showed exceptional promise in their field to participate in this campaign.  Kendall was chosen to represent Richmond upon Thames as a vocalist/songwriter.  She was flown to L.A., where she worked with producer, Jesse Owen Astin  http://www.jesseowenastin.com/ and a mini-documentary was made of her trip. 

 

She is involved in a number of musical collaborations at the moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



               

 

Maria-Elena Tzanev

Maria-Elena was born in New Zealand.   She enjoys music, surfing, snowboarding and fashion. She started singing a few years ago and then taught herself guitar so she could accompany herself.  From there, she began writing songs as soon as she could play a few chords and began performing at her school.

She then auditioned to be part of Groove Academy which gave her the opportunity to perform at a variety of venues and occasions which gave her the confidence to audition for 'Live and Unsigned', one of the UK's largest talent competitions, where she reached the semi-finals at only 14 years old.

Whilst she continues to play guitar, sing and write the odd song, she is exploring other creative outlets at the moment, including producing house music .



  

 

Zaman

Zaman was born in 1989 in Iraq.  He joined Groove Academy as a teenager and we quickly realised he had a gift for hip-hop and rapping.  Before long, he was bringing this urban style into our music, adding a whole new dimension to the Academy performances with his authentic lyrics. 



Collaborating with a few former Groove Academy members, Chris Hill, Matthew Rodericks, Jonathan Rodericks and Danielle Townsend, he launched his first Album, 'Truth Is...' in 2011.



  

 

Tally Spear

Tally is studying Commerical Music Performance at University of Westminster - focussing on developing her song-writing and general music vocabulary.

 

She is playing guitar and singing at a various open mic venues in and around London with the aim of gaining lots of performance experience and also has some exciting events coming up over the summer months - The Secret Garden Party Festival this coming July (2014) and Whirl-y Fayre, Somerset (a mini festival) in August (2014).  

 

In her own words "Just hoping to gain lots of experience and meet lots of new people throughout my course and see where it takes me really!"

 

Her first release 'The Lucky Ones' from late 2015 is finally available across all major music platforms including Spotify and iTunes!

 

Heres a couple of links to check it out.

Spotify: https://play.spotify.com/album/04S3fWheeRq5kKIrhU7WqNiTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/…/the-lucky-ones-sing…/id1082432620