Deborah Swiney has definitely earned the title of a true chanteuse. Throughout her performance, you get to experience and enjoy a trip back to the Harlem Renaissance to experience the iconic era of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn and many other legendary jazz vocalists, dance across the Great American Songbook, and a flight to Rio for some smooth and relaxing Bossa Nova. Being a native of Memphis, you might even get a splash of blues.
Deborah’s love for music started at an early age with piano lessons and being active in music, whether in church or school. Growing up in a musical family, music had no borders. There were influences from various genres, including the music of Nancy Wilson, Aretha Franklin, The Staple Singers, The Carpenters, and B.B. King, all mixed together, not to mention classical music in the house, having a Memphis Symphony Orchestra bassoonist for a big brother.
Being on the local music scene, Deborah eventually landed a position as a backup vocalist for legendary Al Green, during the ‘90s, which led to an international touring experience.
That was then and this is now. Deborah is deep into Memphis’ jazz scene, and performs weekly as the house vocalist for Mollie Fontaine Lounge, an old swanky unique two-story mansion located in the historical Victorian Village, filled with a mix of fancy chairs and love seats, perfect for relaxing and listening to good music while sipping on a cocktail.
In a city that loves it’s Blues, Rock, Jazz and Gospel, Deborah has taken on the role of songstress of a new generation of musicians and vocalists, carving out a niche uniquely her own, as she releases her co-produced debut album on November 17th, “I Remember Rio”, a Brazilian based album filled with classic Bossa Nova standards written by Brazilian composers, including songs composed by the legendary Antonio Carlos Jobim, with the exception of two originals, “Bossa Nova Casanova”, written by Deborah and the title song, “I Remember Rio”, written by guitarist/song writer, Ed Finney.
Needless to say, the local musicians that grace this fantastic foray into smooth South American grooves are Memphis veterans Ed Finney, Tony Thomas, Sam Shoup, Tom Lonardo, and Lannie McMillan, Felix Hernandez, Ekpe Obioto, Jeffrey Boga(New Jersey), Barry Ford, Sr., and Carolyn Wright-Chatman, who is also a former backup vocalist for Al Green. Her melodic and sultry approach to Bossa Nova and other Brazilian stylings are natural and unique for a vocalist from the Bluff City. The percussive rhythms, her sophisticated style and smooth vocals, took me to Rio where I could close my eyes and imagine relaxing on a Copacabana or Ipanema beach.