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Melody's Miscellaneous: Interview with Donna Singer

Powerhouse performer Donna Singer has wowed jazz lovers around the world through her recordings and live performances at festivals, concert halls and jazz clubs. Her European concerts include dates in Paris, Switzerland, Ireland, Italy and Wales. She has performed at the Metropolitan Opera Guild Recital Hall in Lincoln Center, Central Park's Naumburg Bandshell and The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach.

She has engaged audiences in many U.S. cities including Phoenix, Miami and Nashville. Her U.S. festival appearances include the Nebraska International Jazz Festival, Bethany College Jazz Festival in Kansas and the Saratoga Arts Festival in New York. Whether performing in an intimate gathering with her trio, with an 18- piece jazz orchestra, or with the 90-piece Boynton Beach Gold Coast Band, she's sure to wow audiences.

Growing up in Upstate New York, she and her siblings were introduced to the world of jazz. She and her twin sister, Dawn, were raised in a family of jazz enthusiasts who listened to the music of great jazz artists like Nancy Wilson (“Guess Who I Saw Today,”) Billy Strayhorn, (“Take the A Train” with Duke Ellington), Sammy Davis Jr, (“Hey There,” and Count Basie (“April in Paris”). Her great love for the music helped her evolve into a powerful jazz vocalist whose music has been played throughout North America, South America, Europe, Australia and Africa.

A graduate of the New York Academy of Theatrical Arts, Donna also studied at The Juilliard School and has kept music close to her heart. She established Dr. Donna's School of Song where aspiring musicians can begin their journey in the world of music. She shares her gift with young and adult students by providing mentoring and training in piano and voice. She has been a member of The National Guild of Piano Teachers (a division of the American College of Musicians) since 2006.

From 1998 to 2004 she hosted the weekly gospel show, "Down by the River" on WJFF FM in Sullivan County, NY. Donna performed for 15 years as the lead vocalist in the Swing Shift Orchestra, a 17-piece big band featuring the music of Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey and many more. The Singers and their only son, Christopher, recently moved to West Palm Beach from the lush Catskill Mountains.

Donna's voice is showcased in twelve recordings which have consistently climbed high in U.S. radio charts. She has also enjoyed international airplay. Donna's CD’s are available on all major music outlets and her YouTube videos have been seen by over half a million viewers. Her music is heard on the playlists of hundreds of terrestrial radio stations worldwide, as well as on Internet stations. Her most recent recording is a special jazz CD for children. Look for It's An Art To Follow Your Heart, available from fine retailers everywhere.

In order to release her albums globally, Donna Singer knew she needed a record label behind her to support and utilize her talent. In 2011 she became a recording executive, creating her own label, Emerald Baby Recording Company, LLC. The label has handled distribution of her music with great success. Her voice can be heard on jazz stations on many continents around the world: North America, South America, Africa, Australia and Europe.

We recently sat down to chat with Donna.

What’s your earliest memory of music?

I started piano lessons at age 7 and started humming the songs, my piano teacher noticed I was humming and suggested that my mother sing. From that moment I started playing the piano and singing. Who are some of your influences? I love Dinah Washington, Nancy Wilson and Sammy Davis, Jr.

You recently released your new single, "Go and Seek the Light," a contemporary gospel song. Can you give us a little backstory?

It was written by my husband Roy Singer and lyricist Mitchell Uscher. I love the jazz flavor with the gospel beat of the song. We’re having fun!!

What are some of the exciting projects you are working on now?

I finished recording my 9th CD and it will be released worldwide on my birthday on October 19th.

Who are some of your musical influences?

Nancy Wilson, Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis Jr.

What piece of advice would you give to young artists who are just starting out?

Follow your heart, dreams come and go but trust that heart. If music is your passion then your heart will follow.

If you could go on tour with any other artist, who would you choose and why?

Hands down Tina turner. I don’t just sing "Proud Mary," I performed that song out. I love and miss her dearly.

What are some of your hobbies outside of music?

I love creative scrapbooking!! It brings my great joy when an album is complete.

What is one “fun fact” people may not know about you?

I’m a very good whistler, complete arias and all.

Do you have any bucket list items you hope to cross off soon?

I’m performing in 2024 in Rome, Italy. That is one of my long time bucket lists.

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