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Clare Foster's Biography

Vocalist, Lyricist, Composer and Educator

"There's a singer, who we say in the trade has paid her dues. Born in England, she's done the studying and the working in New York, in London, in Canada and places as far flung as Thailand and Singapore. She's now back in London gigging and teaching. Still awaiting the wide recognition that her talents undoubtedly deserve and I hope will receive very soon. There must be some justice in the musical world."

Humphrey Lyttelton on BBC Radio 2's Best of Jazz

Born in England on March 2nd 1968. Clare was introduced to Jazz by her father at the age of 5. He played her early recordings of artists like Bessie Smith and Bix Beiderbecke. Clare became more interested in jazz at the age of ten, when she was given a Fats Waller album by her mother and played it every day. By thirteen, she was playing the clarinet and vocalizing melodies. With saved pocket money she bought her first jazz vocal Hoagy Carmichael album. During her teenage years Clare concentrated on her clarinet, vocal and acting skills.

She had a desperate yearning to go to New York and New Orleans. In 1988 she made the move to New York, where she stayed for a year. It was here that she attended the workshops of Barry Harris, building up a large repertoire of songs, and performing them. Clare then went on to study and live with Judy Niemack, the highly acclaimed American vocalist. Judy was a very positive influence on the development of Clare's vocal technique and direction, greatly encouraging her potential. During this period Clare decided to make her first demo jazz recording with a very fine pianist called John Campbell, who at the time was Mel Tormé's pianist. It wasn't long before she made her New York debut, performing at the 55 Bar in Christopher Street.

After nearly a year of attending vocal workshops, jam sessions and hanging out at jazz clubs, Clare went for a short stint to New Orleans. It was here that she started to sit in with a local band at the Storyville Jazz club, waitressing there to fund her musical desire! In this time she met many influential local New Orleans musicians, including the Neville brothers.

In 1989, Clare returned to England and went to live in London. In 1990 she completed the one year Jazz Diploma Course at the Guildhall School of Music in London. She performed regularly at many venues in and around London, including Ronnie Scott's (with Randy Brecker and Steve Williamson), Pizza on the Park, The Bass Clef and The Royal Festival Hall. She was also involved in several jazz workshops for children and adults. Gathering a wealth of musical experience, Clare decided after a visit to the Netherlands that she would try her musical career there, as England seemed very cut off from Europe at that time.

Between 1991 and 1996, Clare was based in Amsterdam, Holland. Together with radio and television work, she performed in numerous venues including the prestigious Bimhuis. She ran a vocal open mic session at the Heeren Van Aemstel in the Thorbecke Plein every week for five years. During that time her interest for Brazilian music began. She took a Brazilian band into the Canecão, a Brazilian club, for a weekly residency. During her stay in Amsterdam she worked all around Holland, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, France and Asia, including Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.

In 1993, Clare recorded her first CD, Clare Foster Sings Wayne Shorter, on the Dutch record label Groove. When released, it received excellent reviews and was voted CD of the month on Euro Jazz Radio. It was here that Clare put lyrics to eleven of Wayne Shorter's compositions.

In March 1997, Clare left Holland to live in Toronto, Canada. She worked extensively with some of Canada's finest musicians including several performances at the Top O'the Senator and The Montreal Bistro with the American jazz guitarist Mark Whitfield.

In 1998, Japanese American guitarist Ryo Kawasaki (Elvin Jones) invited Clare to New York as featured artist, lyricist and vocalist for the album "Cosmic Rhythm", followed by gigs at Birdland and the Knitting Factory.

Clare returned to England in 1999 and began touring extensively in and around London.

In 2000, after another appearance at Ronnie's Scots Jazz club, Clare completed her 2nd solo album Believing in Angels distributed by '33-Jazz' records in UK. In this year Clare also set up a Brazilian band called Claridade, with local Brazilian and English musicians.

In 2001 Clare made a national Jazz services tour and appeared on BBC Radio 4 with her jazz trio. She also performed and taught in Finland.

In the year 2002, after a visit to Brazil. Clare recorded a Brazilian album called 'A Vontade' on '33-Jazz'. An extensive tour with her band Claridade followed.

In 2003, Clare recorded her third solo album, The Music and I. A tour followed. The album received rave reviews and was played on BBC Radio 2's Best of Jazz by Humphrey Lyttelton.

In 2004, after the birth of her beautiful daughter Maia, Clare continued to work and teach. Musically inspired even more to pursue her musical journey. She gave performances in Jersey, London and around the UK, Berlin and Tallinn, Estonia, also appearing on national TV and radio.

2005, touring in the UK and Germany

2006, touring in the UK, performed at the 'Felix' in Berlin

2007, touring in the UK.

2008, performed and taught at 'Ylläs Winter Jazz' in Lapland. Residency at the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit in Thailand, plus UK touring

In 2009, Clare released her fifth solo album, 'Learning To Love' on 33 Records, and toured in Belgium, including performances at the Music Village in Brussels and Frameries Jazz Festival. She also played at Marlborough Jazz Festival, and taught at Marlborough Summer School, Global Music Foundation Seminar in Certaldo, Italy, and Trinity College of Music.

In 2010, Clare released a vocal/instrumental workout and ear training CD, 'Where Do I Start?' on 33 Records. She played at Lily'sBar and the Bb Club in Berlin, taught at Marlborough Summer School and Trinity College of Music and joined a 30's vocal harmony group 'The Swinging Belles.'

In 2011 Clare performed in Brussels, Lokeren, Holland

In 2012 Clare travelled to Brazil and taught in Jyvaskyla, Finland

2013 Clare appeared at the Gooi Jazz Festival in Holland with the Mike del Ferro Trio, various dates in Berlin with Rolf Zielke Trio, appearance at the B flat jazz club in Bangalore, India. A London based session for singers SUFS (Shape up for Showtime) was born, where Clare leads 10 pro and semi-pro vocalists on a night with one of England's leading jazz rhythm section. This has become a successful monthly event and a support network for singers of the jazz vocal genre.

In 2014 Clare ran workshops and concert in Dol-de-Bretagne, France. She is preparing to release an English Song Project, due for release on 33 records in February 2015.


Jazz Festival Performances:

North Sea Jazz Festival
Thailand International Jazz Festival
Singapore Jazz Festival
Jakarta Jazz Festival
Jyvasklya International Jazz Festival (Finland)
Gooi Jazz Festival (Holland)
Jersey International Jazz festival
London Jazz Festival
Nomme Jazz Festival (Estonia)
The Montreal Jazz festival
The International Jazz Festival of Ottawa
The Du Maurier Downtown Jazz festival (Toronto)

Educational work

Clare is also very active on her teaching of Jazz Vocals/Voice both at conservatories and privately. She teaches on regular courses in London. She has also taught in the Netherlands, Canada and Finland (The Jyvaskyla Conservatory). Clare has great interest in creating the right environment when teaching. She believes when students feel safe, then they are willing to let go and explore themselves and their creativity more fully. Clare is very interested in the psychology of the voice and on a how we feel, is how we sound aspect. For the past twelve years Clare has been running Jazz and Brazilian vocal classes in her own home.

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