Singer and opera producer, Clive Carey was born at Sible Hedingham, Essex, on 30 May 1883, the fourth child and elder son of Francis Carey and his wife, Elizabeth Harrowell. He was educated at King's College Choir School, Sherborne, and Clare College, Cambridge, from where he attained a BA in 1904 and gained his MusB in 1906. He was a scholar at Sherborne and organ scholar at Clare College. He was also Grove scholar at the Royal College of Music.
Carey's career began at Cambridge, where he lived after graduation, in between visits to France, Italy, and Germany to study music and learn languages. He was also active in the folk music revival, collecting songs and dances in Sussex, Essex, and Oxfordshire. Between 1910 and 1914 Carey organised the musical activities of Mary Neal's Espérance Morris Guild, and he remained a lifelong friend. He contributed to Part 2 of the Espérance Morris Book (1912) and published Ten English Folk Songs in 1915.
During the First World War, Carey served with the Royal Army Medical Corps and the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, rising to the rank of major. After demobilisation he returned to singing and opera direction at the Old Vic under Lilian Baylis, taking the title role in the 1920 production of Don Giovanni. Carey's first major teaching post was at the Elder Conservatorium, Adelaide, between 1924 and 1928. Back in England, Carey joined the staff of the Royal College of Music and returned to work with Lilian Baylis, producing opera, at Sadler's Wells before again working at the Adelaide Conservatorium. He was later co-director of the Melbourne Conservatorium. He returned once again as director at Sadler's Wells between 1945 and 1946, and professor of singing and director of the opera school at the Royal College of Music between 1946 and 1953. He was appointed CBE in 1955. Clive Carey died at his London home on 30 April 1968.
The Clive Carey manuscripts of folk songs and dances plus correspondence are reside at the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML). They principally cover the period 1911 to 1949 and the geographical coverage is of Sussex, Middlesex, Essex, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Surrey.