Michele Henderson
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Michele Henderson

Roseau, Dominica | Established. Jan 01, 2000 | SELF

Roseau, Dominica | SELF
Established on Jan, 2000
Solo World Jazz





It is little wonder that Michele Henderson-- the girl with the golden voice-- loves music the way she does.

The Dominican songstress comes from a family involved in culture and the arts and many played instruments of all sorts.

Her singing talent has taken her to far-flung corners of the globe, generating international acclaim.

Michele took a little timeout from her busy schedule recently to talk about herself and her music.

As she animatedly shared her thoughts from her King George V Street Studio, it was evident that she absolutely enjoys what she does.

"I enjoy doing other things, but…my passion and drive and my career goals will always be in music," Michele said.

Over the years, she has made great strides, especially by breaking into the French music market where she has established an important niche.

Michele has released six albums so far: Michele Henderson; Michele Henderson Creole Special Live; Soundcheck; Mwen Aime'w; Sa Kai and Home.

Today, Michele has the enviable reputation of being one of the few musicians who can earn a living from the music industry in Dominica.

But she explained that doing so requires monumental effort, commitment and discipline.

"The effort that it takes to put yourself out there and get noticed and start to generate income…it's quite a bit of effort…it takes quite a bit of discipline to do that," she asserted.

Before launching her career, Michele researched the music sector and determined who the successful local musicians were. The name Gordon Henderson (a relative of hers) came up. She found out that the legendary songwriter's success is based on his insistence on owning his intellectual property.

So, even before Michele started making music, she registered with The Collections Society.

She then went to Guadeloupe and Martinique, and with the help of others, Michele got her music played on radio stations in the French islands.

The people loved her music and her fan base grew rapidly.

As her popularity grew, she got more and more calls for paid live performances. After a while, her record sales soared and Michele also began collecting royalties from the French market.

Michele was thrilled because she was doing what she loved and she was being paid to do it!

But Michele hastens to add that music is a tough industry and there is no easy path to success. "It doesn't just happen like that. There is a lot of work to be done," she said.

"You will be turned down a lot. You will be disappointed a lot before you actually get to that point where you feel something is happening.

"I have had a lot of disappointments, a lot of turn-downs. But we just didn't stop."

Success, she said, requires a musician to keep on pushing.

"Let people appreciate you for the good work you do and have less to criticize about you."

Michele sings mainly in the jazz, zouk, cadence and soul genres, but she has a much wider love for music.

"I like everything…oh my gosh! I am a rock fan as well…" she laughed. "To me, music is music and all of music is aesthetic. It's communication on a certain wavelength that…lifts you up out of everything that you are going through . . .

"That, to me, is a powerful force and all genres have that…different people experience that through different genres."

"Rock, to me, is my rebel music. Jazz . . . inspires me to do better. Soul . . . is music that I can express emotions the best in …and classical music I love as well," she explained.

Classical music, she remarked, came from a time when there were no recordings and musicians had to play from handwritten notes in order for others to hear it.

"Each piece would have been played differently because it would have been played by a different instrumentalist. I like that about classical music . . . that interpretation of it."

Michele plays the flute and writes most of her own songs as well as songs for other musicians, including calypsonians.

One of her own songs touches her the most; it is one that has not yet been released.

The song, "Always" is a soulful rendition that exemplifies the exquisitely controlled power of her voice. She wrote it especially for her father.

Michele has been a performer at high-profile festivals and events all over the world.

In 2014, Michele beat 57 semi-finalists to become the winner of the CARICOM song competition with her song "Celebrating CARICOM". The song is now the official anthem of CARICOM.

The Cultural Division has bestowed Michele with a Special Recognition Award for Contribution to Cultural Development.

Michele is married to Roland Delsol (Jr.) and is the mother of two. Aside from music, she is an accomplished businesswoman.

An active member of Crime Stoppers, she is also one of the founders and principal organisers of the Kai and Vicki Kids Charity.

By Gwen Evelyn - The Sun Newspaper


Dominican singer Michele Henderson gave a brilliant performance at Jazz on the Greens on Sunday. She was the high point of the evening, the tenth anniversary of the annual jazz showcase. The show, held at WASA grounds in St Joseph, featured five hours of good music and attracted a larger audience than last year’s. The mood was mellow for the most part, with the two female performers on the cast, Henderson and Llettesha Sylvester, provided most of the sparks. The open-air show had a great atmosphere, with guests seated on chairs or picnic blankets, sipping wine and taking in the music. The producers gave each of the five featured performers an hour onstage, a decision that had somewhat uneven results. The seasoned acts did well, but the less experienced ones might have done better with shorter sets. Carlton “Zanda” Alexander opened the show, leading his band on the keyboards as patrons streamed into the ground. Backed by Russell Durity on bass, Anthony Woodroffe on sax, Makesi Joseph on drums and Akinola Sennon (who also did a solo number) on tenor pan, Zanda performed languid renditions of songs including calypso classics like Tension and Don’t Forget Your Mother and Father.

Sylvester was next, flexing her warm, soulful gospel-trained voice on contemporary songs like Adele’s Rollin in the Deep, Alicia Keys’ I’m Ready and Jill Scott’s One is the Magic Number. The young performer proved she has lots of talent, but the extended set seemed to put some strain on her voice at times. Her set was enjoyable, however, also including Sweet Love and Ain’t No Sunshine. Guitarist Clifford Charles played some of his originals as well as jazzy versions of That Girl, Take Five and Machel Montano’s I Just Wanna Dance. At times the band—Rodney Alexander and Dereck Cadogan (keys), Sean Friday (bass), and David Richards (drums)—ran the risk of fading into the background as patrons enjoyed their lime, but Charles warmed up as the set went along. He was at his best when he engaged the audience, finishing off by inviting the “Bacchanalists” in the audience to come to the front of the stage and dance as he played the Carnival 2012 Kerwyn Dubois hit. Michele Henderson was up next, proving to be the highlight of the night. Her experience showed as she gave a nuanced and expressive performance, shifting easily between sweet, melodic singing and hitting some soaring, powerful notes that stopped the show.

In her second JOTG performance, Henderson was backed by local musicians including Elan Parle leader Michael Low Chew Tung on keyboards, Dean Williams on guitar, Modupe Onilu on percussion and Kevon La Fleur. She used her multifaceted talent to deliver jazz classics like Misty and My Favourite Things, a couple of jazzy zouk numbers including the creole-language Leve, which she said was a “revolutionary” call for people to stand up for themselves, the very technical Spain, two pieces by Chick Corea and Marley’s Waiting in Vain. She also showed her skills on flute on some of the songs. Her rendition of I Am Changing mashed up the session and her Do I Do (Stevie Wonder), which closed her set, earned her a standing ovation and calls for an encore. She did it all over again as the crowd stayed on their feet and danced. Ace pan composer Annise Hadeed had a hard act to follow and his set, which was the last for the evening, was a lot more mellow. The London-based recording artiste and his musical team—Theron Shaw on guitar, Richard Bailey on drums and bassist Douglas Redon—performed Valentino’s Trinidad is Nice and some of his own compositions, including Spur of the Moment. Patrons made their way out—some unfortunately not waiting till the end—after what had been a pleasant evening’s entertainment. - TRINIDAD & TOBAGO GUARDIAN










2008  SA KAI

2014  HOME








Great things come in small packages. Michele
is that phrase personified. Her enviable range, her
dexterity on the flute, and her energetic stage personality make for a powerful

 Michele debuted as a member of
the jazz band
“impact!” She was the
lead singer and flautist.  She went on to
be featured on an album by one of Dominica’s most famous bands,
WCK and the World Creole Music Festival Commemorative Albums vol. 1,2 & 3.  

 In 2000 she released her first
solo album, the self-titled,
Michele Henderson.  From there
she went on to perform at the
Spice Jazz Festival
and has been featured many times at the St. Lucia Jazz Festival.  Her albums and videos have gained her a
legion of fans in the French islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique and a number
one hit on the Zouk charts in France. 

 Michele has shared billing with
international stars like Green Day and The Foo Fighters at the
Roskilde Festival in Denmark, headlined
Jazz Artists on the Green and Jazz on the Hill festivals in Trinidad
and Virgin Gorda respectively. She has performed with major artists including
Stanley Clarke, Chick Corea and Doug E. Fresh. 

 Michele has recorded six albums
and one DVD to date, the latest project being
Home (Chez Moi).   She also
starred in Caribbean Theatre Network’s reproduction of the Broadway hit musical
“Once On This Island”.

 She is a Goodwill Ambassador to
Dominica and the author and composer of the CARICOM regional anthem
“Celebrating CARICOM”


Band Members