Deborah Swiney has definitely earned the title of a true chanteuse. Throughout her performance, you get to enjoy a trip back to Harlem to experience the iconic era of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughn; you get to dance across the Great American Songbook; and you get to take a flight to Rio where you could close your eyes and imagine relaxing on a Copacabana or Ipanema beach. Being a Memphis native, you might even get a splash of blues.
Deborah’s affinity for music started at an early age with piano lessons and being active in music, whether in church or in school. Growing up in a musical family, music had no borders. If the walls of her home could sing, they’d reverberate the sounds of Nancy Wilson, Aretha Franklin, The Staple Singers, The Carpenters, and B.B. King, all mixed together; not to mention classical music, 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 the legendary Al Green during the ‘90s, which led to an international touring experience.
That was then and this is now. In a city that loves it’s Blues, Rock, Jazz and Gospel, Deborah has carved out a niche uniquely her own. This is evident with her highly praised co-produced debut album, I Remember Rio, a Brazilian inspired album with “Memphis-Soul seasoning” (All about Jazz). I Remember Rio is filled with classic Bossa Nova standards and tunes written by the legendary Antonio Carlos Jobim as well as Deborah Swiney’s “Bossa Nova Casanova” and guitarist, Ed Finney’s title song, “I Remember Rio”. Jazz Weekly describes her as bringing “ a strong and Sarah Vaughan-esque voice to deliver soulful reads of Brazilian..." Transcending the standard definition of a Jazz songstress, her melodic and sultry approach to Bossa Nova and other Brazilian stylings are natural without betraying her Bluff City roots.
When she isn't in the studio, you can find her knee deep into Memphis’ live music scene. Whether as part of a duo or in front of a full band, prepare to be whisked away with her sophisticated sounds and vivacious vocals.