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Play to hear Kieran
I entered the world as a loud, loveable, unruly child with keen aural skills and a knack for singing. Or so I’m told. Actually, I still do plenty of singing these days, so I can verify that. I’ll leave it up to those I know well to attest to the continued veracity of the first part.
At 17, I received a place in the National Youth Choir, shortly before I started studying Music at Sussex and singing at the Guildhall. I discovered a passion for choral direction, which I still have to this day – I run UCL’s chamber choir and two community choirs – but that discovery was borne from a lack of self-belief.
The loud confidence of my childhood was lost when I started secondary school and my voice changed forever. The instrument that had come so naturally felt alien and uncontrollable. Despite having a demonstrably excellent voice as a teenager, I doubted myself in ways I had not before. As I studied, I became convinced that a career as a professional singer was not for me. But as a conductor, I recognised that I could focus my energy on lifting the voices around me.
Enter the Enneagram. I am 21, a student. I purchase a coffee machine for my birthday, buy only organic food and don’t have any income. My student loan evaporates in a term and my mother – I now see, sensibly – worries. I’m sent to Karen Webb. Her task? Saying the things to me that I cannot hear from my mother. I have no idea that she will go on to become my mentor, Enneagram supervisor and mainstay of my spiritual learning.
I become skilled at networking. Finesse my filmmaking. I launch an art-focussed video business and go on to manage a digital R&D project for the Arts Council. I rebrand a central-London concert hall with a hand-picked team of freelancers. I become trained in voice coaching and continue to wonder what ties my disparate skills together.
Perseverance is a virtue. A painful one, but necessary. Because I am now at the point where I know that my work is about making space for people’s vitality when they speak. Journeying with them through the self doubt. Empowering them to articulate the brilliance that’s already there. And being present as they express themselves to the world in their essential wholeness.