- Roots, Jazz, & American Music
BA, Fine Arts/Education, University of Colorado, Boulder
BS, Information Systems Management, University of San Francisco
Guest soloist with 18-piece big bands, and large orchestras
Awards and Distinctions
Bay Area Jazz & Blues Artist Lifetime Achievement Award, 2018
In the tradition of all great vocalists, Clairdee infuses each song with her own unique style while always remaining true to the song itself.”
What is your hometown?
What is your favorite recording?
Just one? Off the top, I’d say “Nat King Cole Sings/George Shearing Plays,” “Nancy Wilson, Broadway, My Way,” and “Sarah Vaughan, After Hours.”
What are you passionate about outside of music?
Family, travel and interior design
Who were your major teachers?
I started singing professionally at age 14 and have had great mentors throughout the years: John Levy, artist manager; singer Nancy Wilson; pianist Norman Simmons.
What was the defining moment when you decided to pursue music as a career?
I’ve been singing and making music all of my life. It was a natural choice and I have no regrets.
What was a turning point in your career?
Being chosen for representation by John Levy, artist manager to the greats: Shirley Horn, Nancy Wilson, Cannonball Adderley, Joe Williams, et al.
If you weren’t a musician or teacher, what do you think you would be doing now?
What is your daily practice routine?
15 minutes: breathing exercises, long tones, and scales. I’m usually singing throughout the day working on material.
If you could play only three composers for the rest of your life, who would they be?
George Gershwin, Billy Strayhorn, and Stevie Wonder.
What is your unrealized project?
Recording with a symphony orchestra.
What recordings can we hear you on?
Clairdee: A Love Letter to Lena (Declare Music) 2020
Clairdee: Stand Up (Declare Music) 2018
Clairdee: Music Moves (Declare Music) 2005
Clairdee: This Christmas (Declare Music) 2002
Clairdee: Destination Moon (Declare Music) 2000
What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?
Learning starts with imitation. Absorb what is useful. Discard what is not. Add what is uniquely your own.
In a career spanning some four decades, vocalist Clairdee has performed around the world as an internationally touring artist who's collaborated with some of America's most celebrated jazz masters, including Dick Hyman, Bucky Pizzarelli, Houston Person, Cyrus Chestnut, Russell Malone, and Ken Peplowski.
Deeply informed by the music's departed masters, Clairdee puts a personal stamp on whatever she sings, a gift aptly described by the inimitable Nancy Wilson, who declared that "in the tradition of all great vocalists she infuses each song with her own unique style while always remaining true to the song itself." Equally at home singing various idioms in an array of settings, she works with symphony orchestras, big bands, small jazz combos, intimate duos, and leads her own world-class band.
Clairdee’s discography as leader includes four highly regarded albums on her Declare Music label. “A Love Letter to Lena,” garnered international press and was acknowledged in three categories in the 2020 Grammy® first round nominations.
A 2018 recipient of the Bay Area Jazz & Blues Artist Lifetime Achievement Award, Clairdee is a passionate mentor and advocate for music education having served as a Professor of Jazz Voice at San Francisco Conservatory of Music and a Teaching Artist for SFJAZZ and San Francisco Symphony. She is currently a Board member of Bay Area Jazz Mobile and Jazz in the Neighborhood, as well as a member of the Independent Musicians Alliance.