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Article by Neill Barston | 2nd July 2018

Delivering With Style as Standard

With a recently released 15th album, regaining her crown as jazz musician of the year, and a new round of national touring, Clare Teal remains one of our brightest stars. We catch up with her ahead of her latest Kent show.

After signing what was reportedly the largest-ever multi-million contract for a British jazz artist, Clare Teal is continuing to enjoy a richly rewarding career. From regularly performing alongside major names in music such as Sir Van Morrison, headlining a stage at the Glastonbury Festival, to hosting her own BBC Radio 2 show, have gained her an enviable level of acclaim.

But the silky-voiced singer from Yorkshire, who has resided in the West Country for many years, says the experience of signing a major record deal with Sony wasn’t something she was going to get carried away with.

While her resulting album, Don’t Talk, respectably made the top 20 mainstream album charts, it wasn’t about to bring her a vast overnight fortune.

“I think we went out and bought a vacuum cleaner after that deal – you can’t believe everything you read,” she quips in her down-to-earth manner, as she discusses her remarkable rise to recognition.

Her chosen genre of music – inspired by the likes of childhood hero Ella Fitzgerald and the big band greats of the 1930s and 40s – has a timeless appeal. To her credit, Clare, 44, has maintained a commendably loyal fanbase, which has supported her through her career.

Having recently claimed her fourth jazz musician of the year award, she says it proved especially gratifying knowing it was gained entirely by public votes.

As her deftly crafted 15th album, Twelve O’Clock Tales, has proved, Clare has continually strived to hone her vocal abilities, which took full flight with the technically-impressive Halle Orchestra, making it one of her most ambitious and eagerly-awaited projects, which posed a number of challenges.

Clare explains: “The last album was one of the biggest things I’ve ever been involved with. Everyone loves Manchester’s Halle Orchestra, and we had a total of 93 musicians performing, so that was an extremely rewarding experience.

“This is the first time that I’ve really worked as a co-producer on an album, so I was left along with the sound engineers looking at every little detail, but I think we managed to make it as much of a success we could, though it was a massive job,” says the singer of her album that includes notable covers of classic standards including Feeling Good, Wild is The Wind and Sinatra’s It Might As Well Be Spring.

As Clare explains, she still loves every minute of performing live, and recalled some memorable gigs in Kent, which remains a county she is particularly fond of.

“Every time I’ve come to Deal, it’s somewhere I’ve really liked, and enjoyed having a good old mooch about there. I have always had a fantastic time at the Astor Theatre – the people are really appreciative and humorous. It’s a really intimate theatre show with just me and pianist Jason Rebello, who is a fantastic musician.”

• Clare Teal is at the Astor Theatre, Deal, on 2nd February. For tickets, £23-£25, call the box office on 01304 370220.

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