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Lorraine Feather (born Billie Jane Lee Lorraine Feather; September 10, 1948[1]) is an American singer, lyricist, and songwriter.

Lorraine Feather
Birth nameBillie Jane Lee Lorraine Feather
Born (1948-09-10) September 10, 1948 (age 70)
Manhattan, New York, United States
GenresJazz
Occupation(s)Singer, lyricist, songwriter
InstrumentsVocals
Years active1967–present
LabelsConcord Jazz, Sanctuary, Rhombus Records, Jazzed Media
Websitewww.lorrainefeather.com

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Lorraine Feather was born in Manhattan, New York City, the daughter of jazz writer Leonard Feather, and his wife, Jane, a former big band singer. Feather's parents named her Billie Jane Lee Lorraine for her godmother Billie Holiday; for her mother (Jane); Jane's former roommate, singer Peggy Lee; and for the song "Sweet Lorraine.” [2] | The Feathers relocated to Los Angeles when Lorraine was 12. After graduating from Hollywood High in 1965 at age 16, and spending two years as a theatre arts major at LA City College, she moved back to New York to try her hand at acting.

CareerEdit

Feather struggled as an aspiring actress during her twenties, appearing in a few shows off-Broadway and on the road, and in the chorus of Jesus Christ, Superstar on Broadway. In long stretches between theatre work, she worked as a waitress at the Top of the Gate, a restaurant above the Manhattan jazz club The Village Gate, and later at half a dozen other New York restaurants.

Untrained as a vocalist, Feather began singing in clubs as a way to make grocery money, and spent short stints as a backup singer with Grand Funk Railroad and Petula Clark. After a decade in New York, Feather moved back to Los Angeles. In 1979, drummer Jake Hanna heard her singing at the jazz club Donte's and recommended her to Carl Jefferson of Concord Jazz, who contracted her to do an album of standards, produced by her father and released by Concord under the title Sweet Lorraine. The album made little impact, but attracted the notice of pop producer Richard Perry, who hired her to be part of the vocal trio Full Swing, which at that time included Charlotte Crossley, a former backup singer for Bette Midler, and Mel Tormé's son Steve March Tormé.

 
Eddie Arkin and Lorraine Feather, Math Camp photo shoot—photo by Mikel Healey


The trio made a big-band album for Perry's label Planet Records, The Good Times Are Back. Full Swing stayed together, with shifting personnel, for eight years, recording two more albums, In Full Swing and The End of the Sky. It was during this time that Feather discovered her talent for writing lyrics. The Good Times Are Back featured five songs with her frequently humorous words, including new versions of bandleader Charlie Barnet's “The Right Idea” and Horace Henderson's “Big John’s Special” (“Big Bucks,” later used in the film Swing Shift with Goldie Hawn). The other two albums were written predominantly with living composers, notably Eddie Arkin, who was to become Feather's principal co-writer for her future recordings.

Shortly after Full Swing disbanded in 1988, Feather began working in television as a lyricist. She received six Daytime Emmy nominations, for songs written for soap operas and cartoons. Her lyrics for children include Disney's Dinosaurs series on ABC, and the MGM films Babes In Toyland and An All Dogs Christmas. Feather and composer Mark Watters wrote the themes for MGM's TV shows All Dogs Go to Heaven and The Lionhearts; they also created the piece “Faster, Higher, Stronger” for Jessye Norman to sing in the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Olympics; this song received a Primetime Emmy nominations. Feather and composer Larry Grossman wrote the song that Julie Andrews performed in The Princess Diaries 2. Feather also co-wrote songs for Disney's feature film The Jungle Book 2 (with Australian jazz musician Paul Grabowsky), and for Pooh's Heffalump Halloween, the PBS series Make Way for Noddy, and the Candy Land and My Little Pony films for Hasbro Toys.

Feather's jazz and pop songs have been covered by artists such as Phyllis HymanKenny RankinPatti AustinDiane Schuur and Cleo Laine.

In the 1990s, Feather decided to put together an album of her own, and made her first self-produced album of original music, The Body Remembers, with collaborators Tony Morales (then her husband), Eddie Arkin, Terry and Sharon Sampson, Joseph Curiale, Don Grusin, and Carlos del Rosario. The album was largely electronic, covered offbeat topics such as PMS and losing one's keys, and included several stream-of-consciousness monologues that became a recurring feature of the string of solo projects Feather began co-writing and producing four years later.

 
Lorraine Feather, Math Camp photo shoot—photo by Mikel Healey.jpg


The first few of the CDs Feather released beginning in 2001, featured contemporary lyrics to formerly instrumental pieces written by Duke Ellington, Joel McNeely and Fats Waller. More recently, Feather's albums have comprised original works written with such jazz composers as Eddie Arkin, Shelly Berg, Russell Ferrante, and Dave Grusin.


Feather's 2010 release, Ages, begun when she turned 60, received a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album. 2012's Tales of the Unusual earned a nomination in the Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) category for the tune "Out There," arranged by Shelly Berg. Attachments (2013) was also nominated (Best Jazz Vocal Album), as was Flirting with Disaster (2015, Best Jazz Vocal Album (Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for “Be My Muse,” arranged by Berg).

 
Lorraine Feather Flirting with Disaster photo shoot - photo by Mikel Healey

Feather's most recent release was Math Camp (October 2018), produced with Eddie Arkin, who co-wrote seven of the 10 songs, the other three written with Shelly Berg. The project used math and physics as a metaphor for modern romance.

Personal lifeEdit

Feather was married to Tony Morales, formerly a drummer for artists such as The RippingtonsDavid Benoit and Rickie Lee Jones, from 1983 to 2012. They lived in Southern California, moved to the Half Moon Bay, CA in 1997, and to Orcas Island, in the San Juan Islands of Washington State, in 2007. When they divorced, Feather and Morales both moved back to Los Angeles; Feather then relocated to central Massachusetts in 2017.

DiscographyEdit

Year Album Label
1979 Sweet Lorraine Concord Jazz[3]
1997 The Body Remembers Bean Bag
2001 New York City Drag Rhombus Records
2003 Cafe Society Sanctuary
2004 Such Sweet Thunder: Music of the Duke Ellington Orchestra Sanctuary
2005 Dooji Wooji Sanctuary
2008 Language Jazzed Media
2010 Ages Jazzed Media
2012 Tales of the Unusual Jazzed Media
2012 Fourteen Relarion Records
2013 Attachments [4]
2015 Flirting with Disaster Jazzed Media
2018 Math Camp Relarion Records

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Lorraine Feather". All About Jazz. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  2. ^ {{cite web | url=https://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/Billie-Holiday-s-bio-Lady-Sings-the-Blues-may-2469428.php
  3. ^ "Lorraine Feather". Discogs. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  4. ^ "Attachments". Lorraine Feather. Retrieved 20 February 2016.

External linksEdit