Carolyn Thompson was born shortly after her mother and 2 older brothers immigrated to Toronto, ON, Canada from Jamaica in the late 1960s. As the youngest and only girl Carolyn was highly influenced by her family’s eclectic taste in music, ranging from her mother’s love of roots reggae and calypso to her oldest brothers’ fascination with 80’s rock, including Supertramp, Genesis and Rush. Young and impressionable, she absorbed every lyric and note, like a sponge!
Music continued to play an integral role during her school years. Carolyn joined the string ensemble where she really enjoyed learning to play classical music on the cello, upright bass and viola. She loved attending drama classes so she could let loose as a performer but the moment Carolyn started singing in choir (classical, music theatre and pop) she knew this was her calling. At 14, Carolyn would race home everyday from school to put on Aretha, Whitney or Madonna records and secretly practice singing before the rest of the family arrived.
Carolyn finally made her public solo debut in her senior year of high school, when she performed Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”, in front of her peers, teachers and family. With the help of Jim Creeggan on electric bass and Ed Robertson on guitar (currently of the Barenaked Ladies), she experienced a surge of energy on stage that night that was the strongest adrenaline rush she’d ever had!
Some twenty five years later, it’s that same energy that continues to drive Carolyn’s career forward. She has fronted bands like Cobra Kings & Project Phoenix at festivals such as the renowned Toronto Beaches International Jazz Festival and the Taste of Little Italy. Her musical persona reflects the influences of Jazz (Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington), Acid Jazz (Brand New Heavies, Incognito, Jamiroquai), Soul (Chaka Khan, Jill Scott), R&B (Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston) Pop (Michael Jackson, Luba) and Funk (Stevie Wonder, James Brown)
In 2007, and with years of experience as a front woman under her belt, Carolyn finally decided it was time to take charge and start her own band, the “Carolyn T Band.” Without hesitation they were busy playing the Toronto circuit including private parties and corporate events. Carolyn and her band were also supporting their community by headlining at events such as “Think Pink” (fundraisers held in 2007 and 2008, to benefit the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation). In 2008 (within a year of starting the band) the “Carolyn T Band” was featured on CITY-TV’s Breakfast Television to promote “Diva Night 2008!” This was an evening concert gala created and hosted by Carolyn to highlight Toronto’s top female musical talent. It was a hit! And was soon followed by “Diva Night 2009 Mother’s Day”. The Carolyn T Band continues to draw a growing fan base from their performances in Downtown Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area and is attracting attention at the national and international stages.
In April 2009 Carolyn started the Open Jam Night @ Harlem Restaurant every Monday. This was a community event that provided an open environment for Jazz, Soul, R&B and Funk musicians to self-promote, network and collaborate. As the creator, organizer, host & MC (emcee), Carolyn’s hard work made the jam highly successful and extremely popular. This event stands out as one of her proudest accomplishments. After 3.5 years, Carolyn decided to end the jam on a high note on Dec 17, 2012. The place was packed!
Within the first year of the jam, Carolyn started her business (Oct 2009) as a Voice & Performance Coach, drawing on her years of professional experience to help clients of all ages improve their singing, public speaking and presentation skills to Find Their True Voice” and “Get Rid of Stage Fright”. This has led her to be called on as a consultant and motivational speaker. In Nov 2010 Carolyn made her debut as a Voice Coach Expert in an episode of NewlyWed Nearly Dead and since then she has held Voice & Performance Group Sessions at Centenial College and Performance Sessions with PriceWaterhouse Cooper. She was invited as the Keynote Speaker for the Beaches Rotary Club and the 3rd Annual “Womans Worth” Event. Carolyn also works with church choirs, bands, classrooms and corporations.
Carolyn is also an actor. She has appeared on the show “Renovate my Wardrobe” and more recently a “Sheridan College Game Design” Commercial. Her most rewarding role was in the movie by MADD (Mothers against Drunk Driving) called “Shattered” where she played the Mom of a teen who was a victim of a tragic drunk driving accident. This movie was shown in high schools all over Canada, from Sept 2010 to May 2011.
Today Carolyn T is a talented, powerhouse vocalist with a soulful vocal style. Her versatility as a Singer (Jazz, Soul, R&B, Funk, Pop, Classical), Bandleader, Voice & Performance Coach, Consultant, Motivational Speaker and Actor combined with passion, graciousness, diligence, intelligence and tenaciousness, makes her stand out amongst the brightest stars of Toronto’s music and corporate scene!