2011 will be the busiest year yet for our Clare, with UK dates galore, festival appearances (including Glastonbury), an Autumn tour and of course a Christmas tour - and a healthy smattering of other surprises in between.
Growing up in a tiny village near Skipton in Yorkshire, England, a young Clare Teal was unlike many other teens of 1980s. Resisting the charms of Simon Le Bon and unmoved by the pleadings of Nik Kershaw, Teal spent her time in the attic listening to her Nan’s 78s "I was obsessed with the singers of the 30s, the 40s and 50s."
Trained as a child in the Organ, Piano and Clarinet, Clare Teal went on to study Music at the University of Wolverhampton. Upon graduation she entered a national competition to find the country’s best Billie Holiday soundalike, in which she came second.
One of Clare’s first jobs was writing jingles "I'd write these jingles, and then sing them in the manner of Julie Andrews, Madonna, my old favourite Billie Holiday and, well, anybody, really," she recalls. "They were singing telegrams, effectively, and it was actually a lot of fun.”
At 27, fate then stepped in. A pianist she had met years earlier during her Billie Holiday episode called, requiring a singer to perform alongside him for one night only and wondering whether Clare would be interested. It proved to be the night of her life, where everything suddenly felt natural and right. "This was my toe in the door of the industry," she says, "and I was going to make the very best of it." This entailed making a selection of demos, guesting with various jazz bands, playing locally and losing a lot of money. But she was nevertheless gradually making a name for herself, and people were beginning to take notice.
In 2001, she inked a deal with independent label Candid, for whom she wrote and recorded three albums, ‘That's the Way It Is’, ‘Orsino's Songs’, ‘The Road Less Travelled’
Clare signed with the Sony Jazz label in 2004, which spawned what would become her breakthrough album ‘Don't Talk’, an exquisite record of tender jazz that perfectly exemplified just what a talent she was. Critical acclaim poured in from the broadsheets and magazines. ‘Don't Talk’ topped the British jazz charts and cracked the UK Top 20, shipping 60,000 copies and winning several awards.
Clare’s fifth studio album ‘Paradisi Carousel’ saw the music move towards a more mainstream pop style, however in 2008 Clare embraced a return to her first love - jazz with the release of 'Get Happy’ on the Universal imprint W14 Music.
Alongside her music, Clare has a successful career in broadcasting, presenting Clare Teal, Sunday night at 10pm and Big Band Special, Monday night at 11pm for Radio 2. She also contributes a weekly column to her beloved Yorkshire Post.
Clare makes a welcome return in 2011 with her tenth album ‘Hey Ho’ a celebration of The Great British Songbook, spanning a period of almost 120 years
Clare won British Jazz Singer of the year in both 2005 and 2007, and BBC Jazz Singer of the Year 2006.
Clare Teal’s new album ‘HEY HO’ is out now.
Lighthouse Theatre, Kettering
01536 414141 / £ 18 Conc £16
Pizza Express Maidstone
T. 0845 6027 017
Theatr Hafren, Newtown, Powys
T. 01686 625 007 / £14
St George's Bristol
T. 0845 4024001 / £19
Town Hall Birmingham with BBC Big Band and Matthew Ford
T. 0121 780 3333 / £19.50 - 13.50
Chapel Arts, Bath
T. 01225 461 700 / £25
Liverpool New Year's Eve - Liverpool Philharmonic with John Wilson
T. 0151 709 3789 / £40 - £16