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Kacee Clanton (born Kellie Kristine Clanton) is a Los Angeles–based singer, songwriter, stage actress and performance coach who has worked as a background vocalist for recording artists Beth Hart, Joe Cocker, and Luis Miguel and toured as lead vocalist with Big Brother and the Holding Company. She has played Janis Joplin in the musical Love, Janis and was the alternate lead on Broadway in the Tony-nominated musical "A Night With Janis Joplin." She is also a vocal and performance instructor at Los Angeles College of Music. Both her music and vocals have been used in a variety of films, TV shows, and video games.
Kacee grew up in a musical home, studying Gospel and Contemporary Christian music. She began studying classical voice at the age of 15 and later studied at University of the Pacific's Conservatory of Music. She moved to the Los Angeles area and began performing in the late 1980s.
Kacee released her first independent solo CD entitled Seeing Red in 1996. It is a combination of traditional blues, modern rock, jazz, and gospel, and features various Los Angeles–based session players and singers such as Danny Jacob, T Lavitz, Ray Brinker, Tom Lilly, Chris Smith of Jefferson Starship, Robbie Wyckoff, and Tommy Alvarado. It also features iconic blues vocalist/guitarist Coco Montoya.
Her second release, Mama Came to Sing, was released in 2005. Mama is a blend of hard-hitting rock, funky folk, groovy blues, and moody pop. It features players and singers such as Tom Lilly, Jon Nichols, Ray Brinker, Jon Greathouse, Maureen Baker, David Crozier, Robbie Wyckoff, Janelle Sadler, and Ryan Drummond.
In 2001, Kacee joined the cast of the Off-Broadway stage production Love, Janis, playing the lead role in the rock musical based on the life and music of Janis Joplin. She performed in the production at the San Diego Repertory Theatre in both 2001 and 2002, where the Los Angeles Times said, "Joplin's mannerisms and her mix of sweetness and vulgarity were captured to near perfection...by Kacee..." She joined the cast once again in 2007 at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, where The Broadway Blog review said "Clanton literally brought the crowd to our feet with her exacting portrayal of Janis' music and fervent performance style." In 2009, she performed the show at The Downstairs Cabaret Theatre (Rochester, NY).
Kacee appeared in Repartee '07: A Theatrical Review at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre in 2007, Bandage: the Rock Opera at the House of Blues in West Hollywood, CA in 2008, and Your Town Follies, a Cirque Comique, at El Portal Theatre in No. Hollywood, CA in 2010.
In 2013 Kacee joined the regional stage production of "One Night With Janis Joplin" at Zach Theatre and San Jose Repertory Theatre, playing the lead role as Janis Joplin, before joining the Broadway cast of the renamed production, "A Night With Janis Joplin" as the alternate lead, alongside Tony nominated Mary Bridget Davies, at the Lyceum Theatre (Broadway). The production closed February 2014. Kacee performed for thousands and received rave reviews. "Tears rolled down my cheeks when Kacee Clanton poured her heart into 'Summertime'...Her phrasings were perfect - the soulful wail...the notes torn from a raw, visceral core - all within an artful reproduction of Joplin's unique delivery." "The formidable Kacee Clanton channels the wild-child fury of Joplin, shaking the rafters...Clanton...recreates Joplin's raspy vocals with uncanny purity. She nails Joplin's mind-boggling range, from the husky purr of 'Me and Bobby McGee' to the incandescent screech and howl of 'Ball and Chain'. The charismatic singer-actress...knows how to seduce a crowd as well as belt out a song. She's half diva, half earth mother and she summons up the iconic singer's unmistakable combination of grace and grit with breathtaking force. She connects with the music deeply and that sense of intimacy is the show's most intoxicating quality. Her lusty evocation of Joplin's whiskey-soaked wail is nothing less than unforgettable."
- Beth Hart
- Big Brother and the Holding Company
In 2002, Kacee began touring as lead vocalist with Big Brother and the Holding Company (BBHC), Janis Joplin's original San Francisco–based band. She has performed with BBHC many times over the years, including a European tour and a variety of festivals and concert venues throughout the U.S. and Canada.
- Joe Cocker
Kacee joined rock legend Joe Cocker in 2004 as a background singer in support of his Heart & Soul world tour (2005/2006) and continued in that capacity through his Hymn for My Soul world tour (2007/2008).
- Luis Miguel
Los Angeles College of Music
Kacee joined the teaching staff of the Los Angeles College of Music (LACM) in 2008 as a vocal and performance instructor. She was instrumental in designing both the performance and rock programs at LACM.
Kacee has appeared on television shows such as The Tonight Show (NBC), Live! with Regis & Kelly (ABC), and Parkinson (BBC/ITV). Her songs and/or vocals have appeared in films such as Tooth Fairy (20th Century Fox), and Kinsey (Fox Searchlight Pictures), and television programs such as Brothers & Sisters (ABC), Fox Sports, Cribs (MTV), Open House New York, 18 to Life (CBC/Canada), The Guiding Light (CBS), Star Search (CBS), and Thirtysomething (ABC). Kacee has also contributed soundtrack and/or voiceover work to video games such as The Saboteur (AE Games), Heavy Gear (Activision), and Teen Digital (Activision).
- Tony Perry, LA Times Theater Review, Rollicking 'Love, Janis' Does More Than Push Those Boomer Buttons (July 2002)
- "We 'Love, Janis.'" The Broadway Blog (March 2007)
- Luis Miguel Tour
- "Kacee Clanton - Filmography - Movies & TV - NYTimes.com". movies.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2 August 2011.