Laurel Massé

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Laurel Massé
Birth name Laurel Anne Massé
Born 1954
Holland, U.S.
Genres Vocal jazz, pop, classical, vocal
Occupation(s) Singer, educator
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1972–present
Labels Pausa
Associated acts The Manhattan Transfer

Laurel Massé is a jazz singer and founding member of the Manhattan Transfer.


Massé was born in Holland, Michigan, grew up in Westchester County, New York, and lived in Europe during her teens. Early in school, she developed a fondness for classical music, particularly Beethoven, though she also cites the Beatles, Pablo Casals, and her grandfather as influences.[1] Her grandfather sang with Fred Waring's Pennsylvanians, and her mother sang opera. Massé started on piano, played cello in her teens, and was her own teacher on guitar during the 1960s. She sang in the choir and belonged to rock bands in high school.[2] She was unfamiliar with jazz until the age of twenty.[1]

In 1972, Massé was working as a waitress in New York City when she stepped into a taxi driven by Tim Hauser. Massé and Hauser had the same ambition to be singers. Hauser had formed a vocal group, the Manhattan Transfer, which broke up after recording one album. Some weeks later, one of Hauser's passengers took him to a party where he met Janis Siegel, another aspiring singer. Then he was introduced to Alan Paul, and the quartet was complete.[3] Massé's background in multiple genres fit the Manhattan Transfer's repertoire of jazzy pop, rock, and swing.[2]

With the Manhattan Transfer Massé toured worldwide, appeared on TV, and sold millions of albums until a car accident in 1978. Unhappy with life in the group, she considered the accident a providential opportunity to start a solo career.[4] In 1981, she moved to Chicago, and with the help of Judy Roberts, a singer and pianist, she returned to singing in clubs. She recorded her first solo album, Alone Together (Pausa, 1984), and toured in the U.S. and Canada.[5]

During the 1990s, Massé lived near the Adirondack Mountains in New York, concentrating on classical and Celtic music.[2] In 1997, she started teaching at the Ashokan Music and Dance Camp, and in 2004 at the International Cabaret Conference at Yale University. She has also taught at Dartmouth College and the Royal Academy of Music in England.[6] She has been a soloist and member of the choir of the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York.[6]


  • MAC Lifetime Achievement Award, 2004
  • Bistro Best Jazz Vocalist, 2009


  • Alone Together (Pausa, 1984)
  • Easy Living (Pausa, 1986)
  • Again (Disques Beaupré, 1990)
  • Feather & Bone (Premonition, 2001)
  • That Old Mercer Magic, Jalala with Janis Siegel, Lauren Kinhan (Dare, 2009)
  • Once in a Million Moons with Tex Arnold (2012)[7]

With The Manhattan Transfer

With others


  1. ^ a b Sawyers, June (5 June 1987). "Laurel Masse: Manhattan Transfers To Solo". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c Yanow, Scott. "Laurel Massé". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  3. ^ Weber, Bruce (17 October 2014). "Tim Hauser, the Founder of the Manhattan Transfer, Dies at 72". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  4. ^ Wyatt, Judith (4 May 1990). "For Singer Laurel Masse, Success Was No Accident". tribunedigital-mcall. Retrieved 25 March 2017. 
  5. ^ McCormick, Moria (5 January 1985). "Laurel Massé Transfers to Chicago". Google Books/Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  6. ^ a b "Biography". Retrieved 25 March 2017. 
  7. ^ "Laurel Massé | Album Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 March 2017. 
  8. ^ "Laurel Massé Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 March 2017. 

External links[edit]