@ the Hideaway
24 November 2013
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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 Teal’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 Teal 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
Teal 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
Teal’s fifth studio album “Paradisi
Carousel” saw the music move towards a more mainstream pop
style, however in 2008 Teal embraced a return to her first love
- jazz with the release of “Get Happy” on the Universal
imprint W14 Music.
Alongside her music, Teal 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.
Teal made a welcome return to recording in 2011
with her tenth album “Hey Ho” a celebration of The Great
British Songbook, spanning a period of almost 120 years from Yeats
to Snow Patrol and including two of her own compositions. She also
appeared at the Royal Albert Hall during the Proms, appearing with
the John Wilson Orchestra and singing, amongst others, “Secret
Love” to great acclaim.
Teal won British Jazz Singer of the year in both
2005 and 2007, and BBC Jazz Singer of the Year 2006.