Clare Teal (born 14 May 1973) is an English jazz singer from the historic county of Yorkshire who has become famous not only for her singing, but also for having signed the biggest ever recording deal by a British jazz singer. Teal was brought up in the Kildwick area of Keighley, West Yorkshire where she was born. She developed an interest in jazz from an early age, through her father's collection of 78rpm records, becoming obsessed with big band singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Loss.
Teal was brought up in the Kildwick area of Keighley, West Yorkshire where she was born. She developed an interest in jazz from an early age, through her father's collection of 78rpm records, becoming obsessed with big band singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Joe Loss. She took music lessons (first on the electronic organ, then more formally on clarinet), before going on to study music at Wolverhampton University.
While at university, Teal found herself without her clarinet for an unexpected examination. Deciding to sing instead, she not only got her "best grades ever", but discovered that she loved singing in public. After graduation, she started a career in advertising, singing in her spare time with various amateur and semi-professional bands.
Teal's break came when she was asked to stand in for Stacey Kent at a weekend festival in Llandrindod Wells. This led (after some determined self-promotion, in which she drew upon her advertising skills) to a three-album contract with the jazz specialist label Candid Records. Her popularity soared, with appearances on radio and television bringing her to the attention of a wider public. This eventually led to her being signed by Sony in what was the biggest recording deal by any British jazz singer.
In live performances, Teal performs with a band led by pianist/music director Simon Wallace. While the majority of her recordings are standards, earlier albums feature many original songs, including post-swing material, most notably a cover of The Mamas & the Papas' "California Dreamin'". This cut attracted the attention of BBC radio presenter Michael Parkinson, garnering significant publicity during her period with Candid Records.
Her 2004 album Don't Talk reached #1 in the UK Jazz Chart and #20 in the mainstream UK Albums Chart. In 2005 she won the award of British jazz vocalist of the year, and in 2006 the award of BBC jazz vocalist of the year.
Teal currently lives in Bath with her partner and manager Muddy Field, and Field's son. Although she has lived in Bath for more than a decade, she still feels like a Northerner, saying she's "never not from Yorkshire". She presents the BBC Radio 2 show Big Band Special on Monday nights.
1995: Nice Work
2000: Messin' With Fire
2001: That's the Way It Is (Candid)
2002: Orsino's Songs (Candid)
2003: The Road Less Travelled (Candid)
2004: Don't Talk (Sony)
2007: Paradisi Carousel (Sony)
2008: Get Happy (W14)
Official website: http://www.clareteal.co.uk