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Rachelle Ferrell

Composer, lyricist, arranger, musician, and vocalist Rachelle Ferrell is a recent arrival on the contemporary jazz scene, but her visibility on the pop/urban contemporary scene has boosted her audience's interest in her jazz recordings.

Born and raised in the Philadelphia area, Ferrell got started singing in the second grade at age six. This no doubt contributed to the eventual development of her startling six-and-change octave range. She decided early on, after classical training on violin, that she wanted to try to make her mark musically as an instrumentalist and songwriter. In her mid-teens, her father bought her a piano with the provision that she learn to play to a professional level. Within six months, Ferrell had secured her first professional gig as a pianist/singer. She began performing at 13 as a violinist, and in her mid-teens as a pianist and vocalist. At 18, she enrolled in the Berklee College of Music in Boston to study composition and arranging, where her classmates included Branford Marsalis, Kevin Eubanks, Donald Harrison, and Jeff Watts. She graduated in a year and taught music for a while with Dizzy Gillespie for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Through the '980s and into the early '90s, she'd worked with some of the top names in jazz, including Gillespie, Quincy Jones, George Benson, and George Duke.

Ferrell's debut, First Instrument, was released in 1990 in Japan only. Recorded with bassist Tyrone Brown, pianist Eddie Green, and drummer Doug Nally, an all-star cast of accompanists also left their mark on her record. They include trumpeter Terrence Blanchard, pianists Gil Goldstein and Michel Petrucciani, bassists Kenny Davis and Stanley Clarke, tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter, and keyboardist Pete Levin. Her unique take on now-standards like Sam Cooke's "You Send Me," Cole Porter's "What Is This Thing Called Love," and Rodgers & Hart's "My Funny Valentine," captured the hearts and souls of the Japanese jazz-buying public. In 1995, Blue Note/Capitol released her Japanese debut for U.S. audiences, and the response was similarly positive. Her 1992 self-titled U.S. debut, a more urban pop/contemporary album, was released on Capitol Records. Ferrell was signed to a unique two-label contract, recording pop and urban contemporary for Capitol Records and jazz music for Blue Note Records. For four consecutive years in the early '90s, Ferrell put in festival-stopping performances at the Montreux Jazz Festival.

Although Ferrell has captured the jazz public's attention as a vocalist, she continues to compose and write songs on piano and violin. Ferrell's work ethic has paid off, and Gillespie's predictions about her becoming a "major force" in the jazz industry came true. Her prolific songwriting abilities and ability to accompany herself on piano seem only to further her natural talent as a vocalist.

"Some people sing songs like they wear clothing, they put it on and take it off," she explains in the biographical notes accompanying First Instrument. "But when one performs four sets a night, six nights a week, that experience affords you the opportunity to present the song from the inside out, to express its essence. In this way, a singer expresses the song in the spirit in which it was written. The songwriter translates emotion into words. The singer's job is to translate the words back into emotion."

Ferrell has made her mark not as a straight-ahead jazz singer and pianist, but as a crossover artist who is equally at home with urban contemporary pop, gospel, classical music, and jazz. ~ Richard Skelly
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Individuality (Can I Be Me?)

2. Sista

3. Will You Remember Me?

4. I Forgive You

5. I Gotta Go

7. Gaia

8. Run To Me

9. Reflections Of My Heart

10. Satisfied


Track List: Rachelle Ferrell

1. I'm Special

2. Welcome To My Love

3. Waiting

4. It Only Took A Minute

5. With Open Arms

6. 'Til You Come Back To Me

7. You Can't Get (Until You Learn To Start Giving)

8. Nothing Has Ever Felt Like This (Duet Featuring Will Downing)

9. I Know You Love Me

10. Sentimental

11. Could've Fooled Me

12. Too Late

13. Peace On Earth


Track List: First Instrument

1. You Send Me

2. You Don't Know What Love Is

3. Bye Bye Blackbird

4. Prayer Dance

5. Inchworm

6. With Every Breath I Take

7. What Is This Thing Called Love

9. Don't Waste Your Time

10. Extensions


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Her voice is silky and rich. Wow! She brings her A game everytime. Amazing!!!
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The first time I heard her music i was truly blessed.
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playwithstar s
I love her. She makes the songs vibrate in your soul. Im happy she has grace us with her voice...
No other like her before ir since !!!
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Biggest fan ever I luv me some Rachelle. Black bird!
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YES,YES, YES !! This Woman can SANG !!! I just Adore her voice, She knows her way around a song and I believe her Everytime!! xoxo
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Ms Rachelle u are a pleated all by yourself your voice is like air we all need so.
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Wish she were touring more! Just missed her a couple of weeks ago and would have gone from Chicago to see and hear her...I love her instrument!! Rachelle come to Chicago - you have a lot of fans here!
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Adore her!
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I must confess; I broke the DJ code of playing the same song/artist every night on my show when I heard Rachelle sing on her self titled album. I was in love with her sound (and easily think I could have fallen in love with her but I digress) as it created a picture in my mind that I could never describe. She is simply amazing.
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I love to hear her voice. I had to sing one of her song for a wedding first time my family hear me sing hit every high note my cousin sang that song like Will Downing (never felt like this .)
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So Classically Mellow....oo o o o h S**t
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song so hot!!
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What a beautiful voice and gift from above. Thank you for sharing it with the world.
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the most underrated singer there is this woman has pipes on her there is no comparison
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As I read through the comments that were posted, I had to agree 100000% with all of you. Her voice and Will Downing together are OUT OF THIS WORLD!!!!!!
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No one compares to Rachelle.
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Blessed to have encountered Rachelle Farrell along with George Duke and one more amazing singer (old timer with the memory) in the VA some years ago. Hubby informed me that the woman behind us sounds like she just had a magic moment - I was too busy having my own. This amazing professor of notes took me to school and I got a higher level of education of her talent and range. ALLEVER
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I was young when I first heard this women. Such melody,such sweet sound. She is by far one of the greatest vocalist around.
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With out question Rachelle is one of the great voices in contemporary jazz and r&b. Her vocal range is unbelievable and she is a phenomenal musician. She has no equal in her style and delivery. Known as a perfectionis t she is in my top 5 of female vocalist who i feel give full emotion out of a song
Angela Bofill
Natalie cole
Stephanie mills
Teena marie
Rachelle ferrell
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There is such sweet clarity in her voice it's almost Angellic and her range is amazing!
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When I first heard this women sing It was 1992 at my moms house on the radio. The sing was I'm special I was leaving to go out the door and when I heard the song I stopped, listen to the whole song, went and bought the cd. I have been listening to her ever since, her range is crazy the sounds that comes out of her, amazing she's confident and sure about herself. She my favor singer . I like her so much because we have a similar style. I sing jazz and hope to be as great as she a true sista.

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I went to see her on November 14th, 2014 @ the Keswick Theatre for the first time and I had the opportunity to sing with her. She has a great voice and together our voices intertwined with each other. I really love her and her music. She has brought me back to life. I pray she will continue singing and blessing me with the words that are so powerful and meaningful. "MY SISTA!"
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I remembered the first time I heard her..I couldnt believe what i was listening too..her angelic sound was so awesome. She is in a category all buy herself. Rachelle Ferrell God truly blessed you. Keep singing and I will keep listening. .thank you
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Rachelle brings it!
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She has to be from another planet, what a voice!!!
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This is the s**t...
All her music. . you just cant imagine what I'm feeling right now listening to this...
This is one sister that really rocks...♡♡
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I love to hear voice. Her voice put me in place where no one can touch me. All the pain or stress I might been going through just disappear. I will love to she her live.
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nsullivan331 4
I just had the experience of hearing Rachelle Ferrell live in Rochester Ny. I walked away with a sense of being dumped in a vat of concentrated love, and stirred aggressively . I lost all sense of time. My worries for that night had dissolved, it left with the residue of joy.
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She is one of the very few acutely talented vocalist
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That voice is amazing gurl.
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rachelle is by far my all time favorite singer! got to see her at kimbal's in berkeley, ca (emeryville) area. she sang her part AND will downing's part. AWESOME.
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Saw her at Blue Note in NYC! She is pure perfection! Dynamic, sophisticate d , innovative and creative. Her scarring rivals Ella Fitzgerald, and her riffs and vocal acrobats rival seasoned gospel singers! She is awesome and in a class by herself.
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Folks sleep on this lovely vocalist, LOVE HER! Real music!
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One of the Greatest Voices Ever, it is a shame she is not as well known , not only in R&B circles but beyond ...SO Very happy I found her ...a Treasure !! xoxo
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I've just recently discovered this veteran of music and let me tell you. Her voice reaches the depths of my mind, my soul and my spirit. She is awesome and extremely talented. I'm a NEW FAN. (Where have I been?) Love her.
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One of the best! She truly has a God given gift. Love her voice.
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A true talent!. That voice is extremely underated in todays musical scene. You go Rachelle.... K u d o s ! ! !
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Love her!!! What a voice!!!!!
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Where is your next performance? I'm there!!!!!
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Angelic Voice!!!!! WOW
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My god I go to a place within when I hear her voice me hanging onto every note is like a treat every time im only 30 but been a follower of her for 12 years awesome!!!
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maritimeglob a l e n t e r p r i s e 1 9 7 2
When we are in favor to listen to greatness such as this you give thanks that she shares her great gift , I am pleased to say with honor that she gives me a way to enjoy music away from all the mainstream artists no disrespect but I love the mood of real soul driven music.
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OMG, Speechless!!
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Masterful!!! ! ! ! ! !
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To underrated! This woman had a natural, flawless voice that could range from tenor to coloratura soprano and people focus on that horse sounding Beyonce and that nasally Rihanna (no offense!) instead of such a jazzy, warm vocalist like Rachelle Ferrell. I recently discovered her about 1 month ago when I heard her sing With Open Arms and I've been in love with her ever since.
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