Cécile McLorin Salvant, a 2020 Doris Duke Artist in the jazz category, is a composer and vocalist who was called “the finest jazz singer to emerge in the last decade” by The New York Times. After winning the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals competition in 2010 at age 20, Salvant developed a curiosity for the history of American music and the connections between jazz, vaudeville, blues and folk music. Salvant carefully chooses her repertoire, oftentimes unearthing rarely recorded, forgotten songs with strong stories. She has received Grammy Awards for Best Jazz Vocal Album for her three latest albums, “The Window,” “Dreams and Daggers” and “For One To Love,” and was nominated for the award in 2014 for her album “WomanChild.”
Born and raised in Miami, FL, she started classical piano studies at five, sang in a children’s choir at eight and started classical voice lessons as a teenager. In 2007, Salvant moved to Aix-en-Provence, France, to study law as well as baroque and jazz voice. Salvant’s latest work, “Ogresse,” is a through-composed musical fable that blends genres (folk, baroque, jazz and country) and disciplines. It is in development to become an animated feature-length film, which Salvant will direct. In addition to animation, she also makes large-scale textile drawings.
Salvant has been recognized with many awards and prizes, including the before-mentioned Grammy Awards, the Top Vocal Album in NPR’s jazz critics poll in 2015, the Glenn Gould Protégé Prize Recipient and the Jazz Album of the Year by the DownBeat Critics Poll for “Dreams and Daggers” in 2018.