The X Factor vocal coach hailing from Harpenden opens up about singing journey in time for 2018 competition

PUBLISHED: 15:40 10 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:49 10 September 2018

Annabel Williams. Picture: Tor Hills

Annabel Williams. Picture: Tor Hills


As The X Factor kicks off for another year, the show’s resident vocal coach spoke to Enjoy Harpenden More about her childhood in the town, her journey into singing, and her respect for Simon Cowell.

Annabel Williams. Picture: Tor Hills Annabel Williams. Picture: Tor Hills

Annabel Williams has an impressive CV - she has tutored a host of celebrities including Alphabeat, Amy Winehouse, Charlotte Church, Jason Derulo, and Katie Melua.

Branding herself The Vocal Coach, Annabel also mentors both The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent hopefuls through all the rigorous stages of the competitions.

She said: “It is my job to make sure everyone has their ‘moment’ each week. I am so emotionally involved, I really care and want each one of them to do well.

“No matter how talented or experienced they are, they get as much love and support I can give them so they can do as well as they can.”

Annabel Williams. Picture: Tor Hills Annabel Williams. Picture: Tor Hills

She is also a singer in her own right, recently strutting her stuff at Meraki Festival 2018 at Herts Showground.

The 37-year-old remembers the first time she was forced to perform as a shy 15-year-old at Sir John Lawes School. Having been reluctantly dragged along to the school play auditions as moral support for a friend she found out everyone in attendance had to sing.

Annabel was given Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors - the lead.

“My best friend, who was much more confident than me, she wanted to audition for the school play but didn’t want to audition of her own.

Annabel Williams. Picture: Tor Hills Annabel Williams. Picture: Tor Hills

“[When I got the part] I went to my drama teacher, crying my eyes out, saying “please don’t make me do it”.

“But I did, and it was actually the best thing I ever did.”

It set her on a path leading to ever greater success. Moving from Harpenden to London at 18, she studied at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute (BIMM). Annabell has this year moved back to her hometown.

Annabel remembers coaching Amy Winehouse before the international star became an icon, remembering how “music ran in her veins”: “She wasn’t famous or well known at all when I coached her. She was 16 and I was 19. She was totally different, she didn’t have a tattoo on her, she wasn’t skinny, didn’t have the beehive. It was a very different look.

Smooth voice of Annabel Williams delight the crowd at Meraki Festival 2018. Picture: KEVIN RICHARDSSmooth voice of Annabel Williams delight the crowd at Meraki Festival 2018. Picture: KEVIN RICHARDS

“She was quite remarkable because she would be quiet with a bit of attitude about her, but seemed like she didn’t pay attention to anything I was saying in the dressing room.

“Then she would go out and nail the song better than anyone.”

Annabel was thrilled when Amy Winehouse became famous and devastated by her passing in 2011.

The most asked question of all time, the singing coach laughs, is Simon Cowell’s real personality behind the cameras.

Annabel Williams at Meraki Festival 2018. Picture: KEVIN RICHARDSAnnabel Williams at Meraki Festival 2018. Picture: KEVIN RICHARDS

“He is just lovely, he honestly is, he is the most wonderful man - he looks after us so well and he knows his craft brilliantly.”

As vocal coach, Annabel jet sets around the world to all the judges’ luxury mansions for that stage of the competition.

Asked if she could predict who would do well, Annabel replied: “Before The X Factor, there was a saying, “you’ve got the X Factor” - and that was true.

“Someone had something special about them - you don’t have to have the best voice in the world, it is having a certain gift and confidence that separates you out and makes people want to know you.

“To be honest, I often get it wrong. Amazing singers come and go, and then there are some singers that I think, “are you crazy?” and they’re the ones that grow on you.

“But that’s why I am not a judge!”

She has words of advice for anyone who dreams of making it big in the music industry: “I can teach anyone to sing, but that’s like saying you can teach anyone maths or French and German, it doesn’t mean they’ll be any good at maths or French and German.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t reflect if they are good, it comes down to how much they want it because there would be instances on The X Factor when I want it more than they do.

“I am always learning and there is never a point that I know it all - if you do get to that point, frankly, you are wrong.”

Annabel is about to launch a new website and app called The Vocal Coach. It will offer exercises designed to teach anybody the principles of singing, from novice to advanced techniques.

Once it launches it will be available at thevocalcoach.com

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