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Born in the East End of London, virtuoso vocalist, actor and composer. At age 16, he won twice in a local singing talent competition, hosted by “FatMan” of FatMan Sound System (North East London Based Roots, Reggae & Dub Sound System). Cleveland Watkiss studied the voice at the London School of Singing with opera coach Arnold Rose and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Cleveland was also one of the co-founders of the vastly influential Jazz Warriors big band. His vocals can be heard on their debut album, Out of Many People, which won a video award in Japan.

Cleveland was then entered for the Wire/Guardian Jazz Awards and was voted best vocalist for three consecutive years, and was the opening act of choice for two of the worlds greatest female jazz vocalists Cassandra Wilson and Abbey Lincoln. John Fordham, the Guardian music journalist accurately describes Cleveland as “arriving on the scene with a bang”.

His amazing vocal experiences have seen him perform with many diverse artists from around the world such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Dusseldorf Symphony Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis, Bob Dylan, Jackie Mittoo, Keith Richards, the James Taylor Quartet, Art Blakey, Sly & Robbie, Abdullah Ibrahim, Stevie Wonder, Patife, the Liepaja Symphony Orchestra, Nigel Kennedy, Carlinhos Brown, Robbie Williams, Joe Cocker, The Who, Branford Marsalis, George Martin, Julian Joseph, Bocato Big Band, Lisa Stansfield, Courtney Pine, Janet Kay, Maxi Priest, Soul II Soul, the London Chamber Orchestra, Kassa Mady, the BBC Orchestra, Goldie, Cassandra Wilson, the Kenny Wheeler Big Band, Sugar Minot, Talvin Singh, Bjork, Pete Townshend, the London Community Gospel Choir [LCGC] and many many more.

Cleveland is also a very keen music educator, working as a voice instructor at workshops in venues, schools, colleges and universities around the UK.

He also designed the vocal curriculum for BA students at The Weekend Arts College [WAC] in North London, and is a regular facilitator and voice coach for the Artist Development Programme [ADP] at the Hackney Empire Theatre in East London.

More recently, demonstrating great versatility, Cleveland Watkiss was cast as the starring role in Julian Joseph’s  two groundbreaking Jazz operas, Bridgetower and Shadowball, to considerable acclaim.

Cleveland has and continues to perform in many of the major concert halls, festivals and clubs around the world with his VocalSuite, a solo voice performance, and with his new quartet, CWQ.

AWARDS

Best Jazz Act Nominee, MOBO Awards 2017

Vocalist of the Year, Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2017

Guardian Jazz Awards Best Vocalist

Best Vocalist, London Jazz Awards 2010

WATCH AND LISTEN selected music videos

Julia Biel – Live from the church

 

Motherboard Pinball

 

Watch and Listen – Loucin

 

VOTI – Newcastle Jazz Festival 2021

 

VOTI – Robert Mitchell’s 50th Birthday Concert

 

VOTI – Julian Siegel: Tales from the Jacquard

 

APPJAG Review of Jazz in England

 

Watch and Listen – Deemer #2

 

Watch and Listen – Queen Mab

 

Watch and Listen – Deemer

 

Watch and Listen – Ivo Neame

 

Watch and Listen – Eliza Oakes

 

Watch and Listen – Isobella Burnham

 

Watch and Listen – JazznewbloodTAPES

 

Yazz Ahmed In Conversation

 

Watch and Listen – JazznewbloodTAPES

 

Watch and Listen – Open Conversations EP1 Part 2

 

Watch and Listen – Open Conversations EP1 Part 1

 

Watch and Listen – DJ Ritu

 

- click here to add events, both online and in-person

Emma Rawicz Quartet

 
Nov 29, 2021
  The Cockpit

JAZZ ADVENT SERVICE

 
Dec 5, 2021
  Christ Church Highbury, 155 Highbury Grove, London N5 1SA

Swing Into Christmas

 
Nov 29, 2021
  South Hill Park Arts Centre.

coming soon

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