Clare Teal

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Clare Teal
Born (1973-05-14) 14 May 1973 (age 43)
Kildwick, Yorkshire, England[1]
Genres Big Band, Swing, Jazz
Occupation(s) Vocalist
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1995–present
Labels Candid, Sony, MUD

Clare Teal (born 14 May 1973, Kildwick, Yorkshire) is an English singer and broadcaster who has become famous not only for her singing, but also for having signed the biggest ever recording contract by a British jazz singer.[2] [3]


Teal was brought up in the Kildwick area of Yorkshire. 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 big bands like Joe Loss.[3] She took music lessons (first on the electronic organ, then more formally on clarinet), before going to study music at Wolverhampton University.[4]

While at university, Teal found herself without a 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.[4] After graduation, she started a career in advertising, singing in her spare time with various amateur and semi-professional bands.

Personal life[edit]

Clare lives in Glastonbury with her girlfriend, having lived in Bath for many years. In 2007 she said that although she had lived in Bath for more than a decade, she still feels like a Northerner, saying she is "never not from Yorkshire".[3]


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 and in 2004 she released her first album for Sony Jazz in what was the biggest recording deal by any British jazz singer.[2][3] Don't Talk topped the Jazz Charts and entered the UK Top 20 UK Albums Chart.[3][5] as well as winning several awards. By mid 2016 Clare will have recorded and released 15 albums, 7 of them on her own label MUD records.

While the majority of her recordings are standards, her albums feature original songs and contemporary covers including post-swing material, notably a cover of The Mamas & the Papas' "California Dreaming". This track attracted the attention of BBC Radio presenter Michael Parkinson, garnering significant publicity during her period with Candid Records.

In live concerts, Clare performs across the length and breadth of the UK and internationally, with either her Pianist, Trio, Mini Big Band or Hollywood Orchestra (Mini Big Band with Strings), celebrating the singers and songwriters of yesteryear and today alongside her own original material. She also guests with the Hallé Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, RTÉ Concert Orchestra and The John Wilson Orchestra as well as other top big bands. In August 2015, in addition to a packed touring schedule, Clare produced and presented her 2nd full scale concert for the Proms Season at the Royal Albert Hall. ‘Story of Swing’ [6] featured 2 roaring big bands and many special guests it was broadcast on BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3 and televised on BBC Four.

Other highlights of Clare’s live work include collaborating with Sir Van Morrison on his album ‘Duets: Reworking the Catalogue’ resulting in the A listed Radio single ‘Carrying A Torch’, opening twice for Liza Minnelli at Kenwood House and the Royal Festival Hall, singing with the BBC Big Band at Proms in the Park, headlining the Bourbon Street Tent at Glastonbury Festival, performing regularly at the world renowned Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, storming the Marlborough Jazz Festival and producing, presenting and performing ‘Battle of the Bands Duke Ellington v Count Basie’ for the 2014 Proms Season at the Royal Albert Hall, which was broadcast simultaneously on BBC Radio 2 & 3 and was the most viewed prom of 2014 on BBC Four.

In 2005, 2007 and 2015 Clare won the award of British jazz vocalist of the year, and in 2006 the award of BBC jazz vocalist of the year.[3] She was awarded Arts & Entertainment Personality of the Year in 2004 & 2011 Yorkshire Awards, a coveted Gold Badge by BASCA (British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors) in 2011 and an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music by the University of Wolverhampton in 2015.

From 2005 – 2009 Clare presented the BBC Radio 2 show, Big Band Special, on a Monday night. In 2009 she started presenting her own show on BBC Radio 2 on Sunday nights which was extended to a 2 hour show in 2012. Clare regularly appears as a presenter on Friday Night is Music Night.[7] Since 2 August 2009, she has also been presenting Sunday Night at 10, after former host Malcolm Laycock's decision to leave Radio 2.[8]

Clare writes a regular weekly blog for The Yorkshire Post.


  • 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) (UK #20)
  • 2007: Paradisi Carousel (Sony)
  • 2008: Get Happy (W14)
  • 2009: Clare Teal – Live at the Ebenezer Chapel (Ebenezer Records)
  • 2011: Hey Ho (MUD Records) (UK chart peak: #103)[9]
  • 2013: "And So It Goes" (MUD Records)
  • 2013: Jing, Jing-A-Ling (MUD Records)
  • 2014: In Good Company (MUD Records), credited to Clare Teal & Grant Windsor
  • 2015: At Your Request (MUD Records)
  • 2016: Twelve O'Clock Tales (MUD Records) coming spring 2016


  1. ^ Fordham, John (22 February 2008). "Clare Teal, Get Happy". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 30 April 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Clare Teal Biography". BBC Radio 2. Retrieved 31 May 2007. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Dodd, Celia (12 May 2007). "Into a new groove". The Times. London. Retrieved 31 May 2007. 
  4. ^ a b Kasriel, Alex (16 August 2005). "Jazz singer leaves it late". This Is Local London. Retrieved 31 March 2007. 
  5. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 550. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  6. ^ Whitehouse, Richard. "Prom 35. Story of Swing". ClassicalSource. Archived from the original on 30 August 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2015. 
  7. ^ Clare Teal Biography. BBC Radio 2. Retrieved on 31 May 2007
  8. ^ Gammell, Caroline (4 August 2009). "Radio 2 listeners 'appalled' at presenter's sudden departure". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 August 2009. 
  9. ^ "CHART LOG UK: NEW ENTRIES UPDATE : COMBINED SINGLES (200) :Chart Date 21.05.2011". Retrieved 4 July 2014. 

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