Clare Teal (born 14 May 1973) is an English jazz singer who has become famous not only for her singing, but also for having signed the biggest ever recording deal by a British jazz singer.
Teal was brought up in the Kildwick area of Keighley, West Yorkshire where she was born. She developed an interest in jazz from an early age, through her father’s collection of 78rpm records, becoming obsessed with big band singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Loss. She took music lessons (first on the electronic organ, then more formally on clarinet), before going on to study music at Wolverhampton University.
While at university, Teal found herself without her clarinet for an unexpected examination. Deciding to sing instead, she not only got her “best grades ever”, but discovered that she loved singing in public. After graduation, she started a career in advertising, singing in her spare time with various amateur and semi-professional bands.
Teal’s break came when she was asked to stand in for Stacey Kent at a weekend festival in Llandrindod Wells. This led (after some determined self-promotion, in which she drew upon her advertising skills) to a three-album contract with the jazz specialist label Candid Records. She became popular and got appearances on radio and television bringing her to the attention of a wider public.
This led to her being signed by Sony in what was the biggest recording deal by any British jazz singer.
Teal performs with a band led by pianist/music director Simon Wallace during her live performances. While the majority of her recordings are standards, her earlier albums feature many original songs, including post-swing material, most notably a cover of The Mamas & The Papas’ “California Dreamin’”. This cut attracted the attention of BBC radio presenter Michael Parkinson, garnering significant publicity during her period with Candid Records.
Her 2004 album Don’t Talk reached #1 in the UK Jazz Chart and #20 in the mainstream UK Albums Chart. In 2005 she won the award of British jazz vocalist of the year, and in 2006 the award of BBC jazz vocalist of the year.
Alongside her music, Clare has a successful career in broadcasting presenting the Big Band Special every Sunday Night for Radio 2.
Clare won British Jazz Singer of the year in both 2005 and 2007, and BBC Jazz Singer of the Year 2006.
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Hey Ho (CD)
Voices of Love (CD)
Voices of Love (HQCD)