Born: Billie Jane Lee Lorraine Feather on Sep 10, 1948 in New York, NY
Genres: Vocal, Stage & Screen, Jazz, Blues
Styles: TV Soundtracks, Soundtracks, Traditional Pop, Vocal Jazz
Lorraine Feather, a native of New York City who grew up in Los Angeles, is the daughter of jazz critic Leonard Feather and his wife, Jane (a professional singer), while jazz legend Billie Holiday was her godmother. Exposed to a variety of music in her household, such a career almost seemed to be her destiny, though her parents neither pushed nor discouraged her. After finishing school, Feather returned to Manhattan to pursue acting, doing a bit of singing to pay the bills, including cabaret. She was in the Broadway and touring casts of Jesus Christ Superstar and later sang backup for Grand Funk Railroad and Petula Clark.
Open to many musical interests, Feather began focusing on jazz in the late '70s, making her debut on an album by pianist Joanne Grauer and recording her first jazz LP for Concord (Sweet Lorraine) in 1978. In the 1990s, Feather became a first-rate jazz singer as a member of the vocal group Full Swing, developing her expressive contralto to capture the essence of every song. She began regularly contributing lyrics to their repertoire, but her writing career blossomed when she began recording on her own. Her ability to write lyrics to challenging, often obscure instrumentals by Fats Waller and Duke Ellington, while also collaborating with several excellent, currently active songwriters, has impressed many jazz critics. Humor is especially her strong suit ("Imaginary Guy," "You're Outa Here," "Antarctica," and "Indiana Lana"), though her ballads, swing vehicles, and pop songs also merit strong praise.
Feather has also written extensively for television (she has earned seven Emmy nominations) and movie soundtracks, including The Jungle Book 2 and Julie Andrews' vocal comeback in The Princess Diaries 2. Opera star Jessye Norman performed one of her songs ("Faster, Higher, Stronger") at the opening of the 1996 Olympics.
- Ken Dryden (All Music Guide)