November 13, 2023

About the Author: Stefan Joubert

Passionate manager of LSI. Discover your voice, regardless of age or talent. Contact now at to start your singing lessons in London or online!

Explore the captivating world of jazz through the “Top 10 Jazz Singers You Should Know.” These exceptional vocalists have left an indelible mark on the genre’s history. With unique styles and profound connections to jazz’s essence, these artists have earned their place among musical legends. Discover their stories and timeless songs that define their legacy.

Ella fitzgerald singing

Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald, widely regarded as the “First Lady of Song,” overcame a challenging upbringing to become a legendary figure in jazz. Born in Virginia in 1917, her exceptional vocal talents were evident from an early age, leading to her triumph at the Apollo Theater’s amateur night and subsequent involvement with the Chick Webb Orchestra. Ella’s extraordinary vocal range and mastery of scat singing distinguished her, making her a bandleader and a jazz icon. Her enduring influence on vocal jazz, characterised by emotive interpretations and inventive scatting, is immeasurable, with a discography of over 200 albums and 13 Grammy Awards. Her collaborations with jazz luminaries like Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong left an indelible mark on the genre, and her pure, crystalline voice continues to inspire singers worldwide. Some of her popular jazz songs include classics like “Summertime,” “At Last,” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.” Ella Fitzgerald’s journey stands as a testament to talent, resilience, and the timeless allure of jazz.

billie holiday

Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday, a true luminary in the realm of jazz, is celebrated for her emotionally charged delivery and an unparalleled gift for storytelling through her music. Born in Philadelphia in 1915, her distinctive phrasing and ability to infuse every note with profound emotion set her apart as an iconic jazz vocalist. Billie’s haunting rendition of “Strange Fruit,” a powerful commentary on racial injustice, remains one of her most iconic and socially significant songs. Equally mesmerising are her renditions of classics like “God Bless the Child,” “Good Morning Heartache,” and “Don’t Explain.” Billie Holiday’s influence on jazz extends far beyond her lifetime, with her legacy indelibly etched into the annals of music history. Her ability to convey raw, heartfelt emotion through her singing continues to resonate deeply with audiences, making her an enduring and cherished figure in the world of jazz.

Sarah vaughan smiling

Sarah Vaughan

Sarah Vaughan, affectionately dubbed “The Divine One,” is celebrated for her extraordinary vocal prowess characterised by impeccable control and an extensive vocal range. Born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1924, her journey as a jazz legend began at an early age, and her career spanned over five decades. Sarah’s enchanting voice graced a plethora of jazz classics, including “Misty,” a song that remains a timeless masterpiece, and “Lullaby of Birdland,” an emblematic jazz standard. Her ability to effortlessly transition between octaves and deliver emotionally resonant performances solidified her as one of the most revered and influential jazz vocalists in history. Sarah Vaughan’s contributions to the world of jazz continue to inspire artists and captivate audiences, leaving an indelible mark on the genre she so passionately embraced.

Betty carter singing

Betty Carter

Betty Carter, a trailblazing jazz vocalist, left an indelible mark on the world of music with her innovative and distinctive style. Born in 1929 in Flint, Michigan, she was celebrated for her fearless approach to jazz, characterised by adventurous improvisation and a deep emotional connection to her songs. Betty’s exceptional talent allowed her to effortlessly explore various jazz subgenres, including bebop and scat singing. Some of her most iconic songs include “Open the Door,” “Beware My Heart,” and “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” Her enduring influence on jazz vocalisation, marked by intricate phrasing and innovative vocalisations, continues to inspire a new generation of vocalists. Betty Carter’s legacy as a jazz icon and a catalyst for creative evolution in the genre remains undisputed.

Nat king cole smiling

Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole, a true maestro of jazz, left an indelible mark with his velvety voice and exceptional piano skills. Born in 1919 in Montgomery, Alabama, he possessed a remarkable ability to effortlessly blend jazz with elements of pop, leaving an enduring legacy. Nat’s voice, smooth as silk, graced timeless classics like “Unforgettable,” “Nature Boy,” and “Mona Lisa,” which continue to captivate listeners across generations. His versatility as an artist allowed him to transition seamlessly between jazz, pop, and even acting, solidifying his status as an influential figure in the entertainment industry. Nat King Cole’s music remains a testament to his unparalleled talent, and his ballads serve as timeless treasures in the world of jazz and popular music.

Nina simone

Nina Simone

Nina Simone, a formidable musical figure, left an indelible legacy with her commanding voice and socially conscious lyrics that transcended the boundaries of jazz. Born in Tryon, North Carolina, in 1933, she wielded her art as a potent instrument of change during the civil rights movement. Her songs, including the searing “Mississippi Goddam” and the haunting “Strange Fruit,” became anthems that resonated deeply with those fighting for justice and equality. Nina’s exceptional versatility allowed her to traverse genres, seamlessly blending jazz, blues, and soul, all the while maintaining her unwavering commitment to using music as a powerful force for social change. Her music continues to serve as a profound reminder of the profound connection between art, activism, and the enduring quest for social justice, cementing her status as an iconic figure in both the world of music and the ongoing struggle for equality.

Luis armstrong laughing while holding a trumpet

Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong, often celebrated as “Satchmo,” was a jazz legend known for his exceptional trumpet skills and a voice that was as distinctive as it was endearing. Born in New Orleans in 1901, Armstrong’s musical journey began in the vibrant heart of jazz itself. While he initially gained fame as a groundbreaking jazz trumpeter, his gravelly and soulful vocals added a new dimension to his artistry. Songs like “What a Wonderful World,” “Hello, Dolly!,” and “When the Saints Go Marching In” showcase his unique vocal style and continue to enchant listeners worldwide. Beyond his contributions as a musician, Armstrong’s warm and charismatic persona endeared him to audiences, making him one of the most beloved figures in jazz history. His enduring legacy as both a trumpeter and vocalist has left an indelible mark on the genre, and his influence can be heard in countless artists who followed in his footsteps, making him a true icon of jazz and American music.

Dinah washington

Dinah Washington

Dinah Washington, often hailed as the “Queen of the Blues,” was a musical powerhouse known for her captivating and soul-stirring voice. Born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in 1924, she emerged as a prominent figure in the world of jazz and blues. Her bluesy and emotive delivery of songs like “What a Diff’rence a Day Makes,” “Mad About the Boy,” and “This Bitter Earth” resonated deeply with audiences, earning her acclaim as one of the genre’s most remarkable vocalists. Dinah’s ability to infuse raw emotion into her performances transcended boundaries, leaving an indelible mark on both jazz and blues. Her influence continues to be felt today, and her title as the “Queen of the Blues” remains a testament to her enduring legacy in the world of music.

Bobby mcferrin

Bobby McFerrin

Bobby McFerrin, celebrated for his remarkable vocal acrobatics and pioneering use of vocal percussion, stands out as a true musical innovator. Born in Manhattan, New York, in 1950, McFerrin’s artistry redefined the possibilities of vocal music. His improvisational skills allowed him to create intricate and mesmerising vocal arrangements, often pushing the boundaries of what the human voice could achieve. Renowned for his iconic hit “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” McFerrin’s inventive approach to music can also be heard in songs like “Blackbird” and “Drive.” His unique ability to use his voice as an instrument, seamlessly blending melody and rhythm, continues to inspire vocalists and musicians across genres. Bobby McFerrin’s musical legacy is a testament to the boundless creativity that can be achieved through the human voice, making him an influential figure in the world of contemporary vocal music.

Chet baker holding a trumpet

Chet Baker

Chet Baker, an iconic figure in the world of jazz, was renowned for his signature West Coast jazz style, characterised by its cool and laid-back sophistication. Born in Yale, Oklahoma, in 1929, Baker’s trumpet playing possessed a distinct allure that became synonymous with the West Coast jazz scene. His singing, often accompanied by his own trumpet, carried an intimate quality that resonated deeply with listeners. Songs like “My Funny Valentine,” “Let’s Get Lost,” and “Time After Time” exemplify his ability to capture raw emotion through his music. Chet Baker’s enduring influence on jazz, marked by his effortlessly cool demeanour and emotive performances, serves as a testament to the timeless appeal of his West Coast jazz style, solidifying his place as a beloved and influential figure in the genre.

These remarkable jazz singers have not only made significant contributions to the genre but have also left an enduring imprint on the global music landscape. Delving into their music is akin to embarking on a captivating journey through the diverse and vibrant history of jazz.


These remarkable jazz singers have not only made significant contributions to the genre but have also left an enduring imprint on the global music landscape. Delving into their music is akin to embarking on a captivating journey through the diverse and vibrant history of jazz.

Discover the Art of Jazz Singing in London

If you’re passionate about delving into the realm of jazz singing and elevating your vocal abilities in this genre, the London Singing Institute is the perfect place for you. Our experienced instructors provide personalised singing lessons that encompass a wide range of musical styles, including jazz. To embark on a captivating musical journey with us and explore the rich heritage of jazz singing, learn more about our jazz singing lessons in London!

Tags: History of singing, Jazz singers, Jazz singing, jazz singing history

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Tags: History of singing, Jazz singers, Jazz singing, jazz singing history