CELEBRATING 25 YEARS IN THE BUSINESS!
Interview with Preston Thompson
The Georgia Studio & Infrastructure Alliance
There are many talent shows promising the young, talented and not so talented their big break into the music industry. But there are not many that are driven by a desire to invest in the next generation, rather than their own bank accounts.
VOCAL ZONES was founded in 1995 by British singer/songwriter /Producer Audrey Beharie who wanted to be able to support the raw and up and coming UK talent by helping and guiding them in the area of singing & performance skills in which they could enhance their vocal ability without actually changing the natural, God-given essence.
With nearly 40 years of experience in the music and entertainment industry under her belt, Audrey has a plethora of experience to call upon.
Audrey is a former "Miss Afro West-Indies" titleholder and an
ex fashion model who trained at the London Academy of Modeling, in London, UK by renowned celebrity modeling coach, writer and body language expert, Judi James, who has trained some of the big names in the industry including the likes of supermodel, Naomi Campbell.
She has also worked as a Promotions Coordinator at MCA where she worked intimately with some of the most prolific international artist on their roster. Audrey is also an accomplished singer/songwriter who was signed by PWL Records (the label responsible for Kylie Minogue, Jason Donavon, Rick Astley, Bananarama to name just a few) and then signed to a major recording contract at Polydor Records. After this, Audrey went to work at the private London offices of Sir Paul McCartney and the late Linda McCartney and later formed her own production company -
B.R.E Productions, record label - Inner City Groove Records and recording studio - Hourglass Studios in London, UK.
Audrey was able to acquire invaluable wealth of information about the industry and eventually went on to own her recording studio, production company and label where she developed and nurtured young people in all aspects of songwriting, production and studio skill in the quest to create and revive the excellence of good songwriting.
By bringing personal enhancement goals and skills using strong moral values, giving each young person a sense of pride, achievement and belonging. She explained her mission.
“It’s about enabling each person to realize their potential.
My performing arts sessions are purposely priced at an affordable rate so as to enable EVERYONE the opportunity to learn the "tricks of the trade" and become THE BEST THEY CAN BE!"
"God gave us a talent and I have been blessed and inspired to be able to create Vocal Zones to unlock their true worth. These talented individuals feel invigorated by the sense of control and discipline in their lives and become more confident in the world around them and what it has to offer – whether or not it is the form of performing arts or just as a tool to help with their personal development”.
"With many decades in the business, I very strongly believe that people in my position who have experienced the business with its highs and lows should all do whatever we can to put something back into the industry that, often than not, can be accused of negatively exploiting young talent and, therefore, give the industry a bad name. And, by mentoring, coaching and providing a positive positive platform, we have been able to successfully give young artists the realization of their full potential and support them with focusing on their overall improvement and advancement in the world of music, dance and drama. By doing so, we could really contribute and make a positive effort towards making a difference in the life of a performer in a positive and tangible way"
As the buzz around Vocal Zones grew, Audrey was quickly inundated with talented individuals of all ages and abilities who wanted to be a part of this unique showcase which opened its doors to all genres of performing arts.
She goes on to state, “It’s sometimes sad because when you turn the radio on a lot of the music is negative or contains derogatory lyrics. I feel we need to get good songwriters/producers and nurture them to clean up the industry and put out something positive, meaningful and spirit-filled into our society. I wanted to provide a platform for my students - a sort of graduation ceremony. I created it because I’ve been in the industry a long time and was disappointed that there were not many individuals who have been successful in the industry who are putting back into the up and coming pool of talent.”
Audrey knows that confidence, integrity and fulfillment is the ethos behind the work that VOCAL ZONES have been working towards.
Role play is another part of their development utilizing the performing arts to help self expression, self-assuredness and pride.
Even though Audrey ran things on a shoestring budget she still managed to create a variety of showcase brands including
THE VOCAL ZONES TALENT SHOWCASE, THE VOCAL ZONES TALK OF THE TOWN, THE VOCAL ZONES TALENT QUEST, THE VOCAL ZONES TALK OF THE TOWN SHOWCASE and THE VOCAL ZONES BLACK HISTORY SHOWCASES where performers are given love, encouragement and support from audiences, reflecting the passion that Audrey has for her art. To date, Vocal Zones have staged in excess of 55 shows and counting!!
Also, in addition to the Vocal Zones brand, Audrey launched
“THE MISS TEEN DREAM and LITTLE MISS DREAM” Pageants which introduced a new perspective on the Pageant scene encouraging natural wholesome beauty with no restrictions (race, ethnicity, size, height or weight). Each and every young girl has the opportunity to be a part of a wonderful experience and enhance confidence and self-image.
The MISS TEEN DREAM USA PAGEANT SYSTEM was launched in September 2013 which mirrored and replicated the amazing work achieved in the UK and was honored and privileged to have been chosen by the major TV network - LIFETIME TV - to be featured twice in Season 1 Episode 7 and the Season 2 Premiere Episode on their smash reality series "KIM OF QUEENS" which stars KIM GRAVEL.
Audrey takes a very principled approach to running her projects and is determined to avoid the risk of investors altering her vision.
“I’m really not prepared to give anything up in terms of integrity and where the path of Vocal Zones should be heading. I believe in faith and I know that God helps me to do whatever needs to be done.”
Her faith is not only driving her but also the large number of students and performers that have taken part in Vocal Zones over the years. Many have gone on to successful careers in the industry as artists, songwriters, producers, TV acting work, acceptance into some of the UK’s most prolific performing arts schools and performing in some of London’s finest West End stage productions including “Cats”,
“Lion King”, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”, “Annie Get Your Gun” among others have gone ahead to be signed to major recording contracts, publishing and management deals, received full scholarships to top performing arts academies and have appeared on TV, the Theater and all performing arts avenues. All these artiste have attributed their success to being involved in the VOCAL ZONES program.
Audrey’s devotion to music is unquestionable
“I’ve been loving music, singing and dancing since a little girl of about 6 years old – prancing about the bedroom with a hairbrush in my hands and tapping out drum patterns on the dining room table! I simply feel that I was born to do it – It’s my Purpose and it’s great to be doing something that you love and are able to share that enjoyment with others! What a blessing!”
However, she is very quick to remind her students to have something to fall back on.
“If you have talent it never disappears but with education and faith on your side, it will be able to give you that mental edge and spiritual discernment to be able to recognize pitfalls if and when they present themselves”.
Audrey’s advice is a simple one!
"Be persistent and determined. See a vision and stick to it. Be practical, go after your dream but stay on the narrow road. There’s no easy way - every easy path has got its consequence at the end of it.”
And, as the year came to an end, B.R.E PRODUCTIONS INTERNATIONAL, INC was launched in December 2013 and is now the home of VOCAL ZONES USA, MISS TEEN DREAM USA and
FASHION 4WARDZ which brings under one roof an amazing and incredible array of music, talent, performing arts, pageantry, fashion, design and an entire catalogue for fantastic, inspirational and empowering events that family-orientated, positive and uplifting!
"VOCAL ZONES… is my contribution and I am truly humbled and blessed by GOD to have the opportunity to work with these truly talented “Stars of Tomorrow.”
AND... with VOCAL ZONES reaching back onto the UK soil, we will be recreating the MAGIC once more!
Interview with Preston Thompson
The Georgia Studio & Infrastructure Alliance