The founder of the Africa Voices Trust - and heading up the tuition and guidance of the selected Africa Voices musicians - is Alice "Shy" Gillham. She is joined by a team of music industry professionals in coaching the participants.
While working in the industry both in South Africa and abroad, Shy identified a significant gap in the training of African vocalists and musicians. Drawing on her own experience and through discussion and collaboration with a selection of like-minded music industry professionals, she created an intensive programme designed to fast track and elevate talented young African musicians to international standards, and the Africa Voices Trust was born.
The goal of the Africa Voices Programme is not just to teach the participants valuable skills; but to identify and nurture leadership potential, to support their entrepreneurial spirit and to actively inspire and empower them to take responsibility for their role as future standard bearers in the growth of the African Music Industry.
In order to achieve these objectives the programme was piloted once during 2010 and focused segments were repeated during 2011 in preparation for the first official programme which was launched in 2012. The Africa Voices Trust has since presented many successful recording, performance and career development workshops ranging from Jazz, Soul, Rock & Contemporary to Opera & Musical Theatre.
The Africa Voices participants went on to feature on South African music legend Karen Zoid's theatre run entitled “Under the Covers” at the popular Theatre on the Bay in December 2012, performing to approximately 700 audience members in an intimate environment across 4 evening performances. The group also performed live with Zoid on the popular breakfast show Expresso on the popular South African TV channel SABC 3.
In October 2014 The Africa Voices Trust announced The Caroli Singing Award, presented in collaboration with the Bayerische Staatsoper. The award will be announced annually to one deserving participant or graduate of the Africa Voices Development Programmes in Opera, granting them the opportunity to travel to Germany for 10 days. Whilst in Munich, the award winners will experience the inner workings of an internationally acclaimed opera house, observe all behind-the-scenes activities and be in a position to network in order to further their career as proudly South African yet internationally recognised Opera singers. Furthermore, the award winner will have the opportunity to audition for the Opera Studio's Young Artist Programme.
In February 2015, Africa Voices artists were selected as the principal backing vocalists and soloists for a recording project with Zolani Mahola (Freshlyground) and Karen Zoid. Graduate Paul Morrissey was also selected to arrange the music for this project.