CLARE Teal, one of the most successful female British jazz singers in decades, makes a return visit to Blackpool tonight.
With a string of albums, including the UK top 20 hit Don’t Talk, Clare is currently making radio shows for BBC Radio 2, and is on the road promoting her new album Hey Ho.
Growing up in a village near Skipton, Clare resisted the charms of the era’s new Romantics and instead spent her time in the attic listening to her nan’s 78s.
“I was obsessed with the singers of the 30s, 40s and 50s,” she says.
Trained as a child in the organ, piano and clarinet, Clare studied music at the University of Wolverhampton. On graduation she entered a national competition to find the country’s best Billie Holiday soundalike – and came second.
One of her first jobs was writing jingles.
“I’d 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 a pianist she had met years earlier called wanting a singer to perform alongside him for one night only. 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 and I was going to make the very best of it,” she said.
She made a selection of demos, guesting with various jazz bands, playing locally and losing a lot of money. But she was gradually making a name for herself and people were beginning to take notice.
In 2001, she signed with independent label Candid, for whom she wrote and recorded three albums.
Clare signed with the Sony Jazz label in 2004, which spawned her breakthrough album Don’t Talk. Critical acclaim poured in and it 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 she embraced a return to her first love of jazz with the release of Get Happy.
Alongside her music, Clare has a successful career in broadcasting, presenting Clare Teal (Sunday at 10pm) and Big Band Special (Monday at 11pm) for Radio 2.
Clare’s 10th album Hey Ho is 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.
Ticket details: with or without a three course meal for her Sands appearance can be obtained from (01253) 625262.