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Donatelli grew up in a rural area of Pennsylvania. She began playing piano at the age of three and studied classical piano for 15 years, winning first place awards in the National Federation of Music Clubs’ piano competitions three consecutive years. After college she set her musical career aside for marriage and family and did not begin singing professionally until her sons were in their teens.
While living in Atlanta, she was encouraged to return to music after attending an Atlanta jam session that attracted the region's top players, including guitarist Russell Malone. Donatelli sang several songs with Russell, and began getting calls for performances. When veteran blues singer Francine Reed joined Lyle Lovett's band, Donatelli joined the three-nights-a-week engagement at the Ritz-Carlton.
Recording and professional career
While Donatelli was working in Atlanta at the Turner Broadcasting Network she made contact with Los Angeles-based associates and was introduced to arranger Neal Hefti while he was recording a TV spot. The relationship led to her recording studio spots for episodes of The Simpsons and television promos for Frasier, Card Sharks and Turner Classic Movies as well as national and international commercials for CNN, Hyundai, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and others.
She has toured and performed with Bill Cunliffe, Bill Mays, Roger Kellaway, Tamir Hendelmen, Larry Koonse, Julian Lage, Peter Sprague, Bob Sheppard, Joe LaBarbara, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, Christian Jacob's Big Band Theory, Alf Clausen and his Jazz Orchestra, the Stan Kenton Alumni Band. In addition, she is heard on pianist Bill Cunliffe’s 2011 Christmas album "That Time of Year." She tours extensively, performing at jazz festivals, jazz clubs, performing art centers, and with university jazz bands where she conducts master clinics.
Donatelli's Grammy nominations include her 2012 release "Soul Shadows"  for Best Jazz Vocal Album and her 2010 release "When Lights Are Low"  peaked at #2 and remained on the chart for 23 weeks. It resurfaced 28 weeks later where it remained for another 7 weeks — which received two nominations, one for Best Jazz Vocal Album and another for Best Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist for pianist and collaborator Geoffrey Keezer for his arrangement of "Don't Explain." Grammy nominated "Soul Shadows" is the third collaboration with 2 time Grammy nominated pianist, arranger Geoffrey Keezer.
The Los Angeles Jazz Society honored Donatelli with the 2012 Jazz Vocalist of the Year Award. In 2013 Downbeat Magazine named her in the top ten of the 61st Annual DownBeat Critics Poll in the Rising Star Female Jazz Vocalist category.
- Soul Shadows (CD) (2012) Savant Records
- Bill Cunliffe: That Time of Year CD (2011)
- When Lights Are Low (CD) (2010) Savant Records
- What Lies Within (CD) (2008) Savant Records
- In the Company of Friends (CD) (2005) Jazzed Media
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