Denise Donatelli

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Denise Donatelli
Allentown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
GenresJazz, vocal jazz

Denise Donatelli (born c. 1950, Allentown, Pennsylvania) is an American jazz singer.

Early life[edit]

Donatelli was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania around 1950.[1] 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.

Musical career[edit]

In Atlanta, Donatelli was encouraged to return to music after attending a jam session that attracted the region's top players, including guitarist Russell Malone. She sang several songs with Russell, and began getting calls for performances. When blues singer Francine Reed joined Lyle Lovett's band, Donatelli joined the three-nights-a-week engagement at the Ritz-Carlton hotel.[2]

While Donatelli was working for 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 commercial. The relationship led to her recording studio promos 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, and Mercedes-Benz.[3]

Donatelli has toured and performed with Bill Cunliffe, Bill Mays, Roger Kellaway, Tamir Hendelman, Larry Koonse, Julian Lage, Peter Sprague, Bob Sheppard, Joe LaBarbera, Marvin 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 Christmas album That Time of Year (2011).

Donatelli sang "You Only Live Twice" as a parody theme song on The Simpsons, Season 25, Episode 4 "YOLO".


  • 2005 - In the Company of Friends (Jazzed Media)
  • 2008 - What Lies Within (Savant)
  • 2010 - When Lights Are Low (Savant)
  • 2011 - Bill Cunliffe: That Time of Year
  • 2012 - Soul Shadows (Savant)
  • 2015 - Find a Heart (Savant)


  • 2011: When Lights Are Low, nominated for Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album[4]
  • 2012: Jazz Vocalist of the Year, Los Angeles Jazz Society[5]
  • 2013: Soul Shadows, nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album[6]
  • 2016: Find a Heart, nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album[7]


  1. ^ Moser, John J. (12 February 2011). "Talking jazz with Denise Donatelli: Singer traces her steps from Allentown to Grammy nomination". Lehigh Valley Music. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  2. ^ Herndon, Holly (2008-10-20). "TEMECULA: Vocalist Donatelli headlines tonight's Jazz at The Merc Page 1 of 2". Retrieved 2013-08-12.
  3. ^ "Denise Donatelli". IMDb. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  4. ^ "2010 GRAMMY Awards". The GRAMMYs. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  5. ^ "Los Angeles Jazz Society | Jazz Tribute". 2012-10-21. Retrieved 2013-08-12.
  6. ^ "The Official Site of Music's Biggest Night". Retrieved 2013-08-12.
  7. ^ "". The GRAMMYs. Archived from the original on 2011-12-01. Retrieved 2015-12-09.

External links[edit]