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What was the inspiration behind her change of career from medical editor at Johns Hopkins to jazz vocalist? Loretta Cormier will only say, “I love the music, and I love to sing. I didn’t grow up in a musical family, but my dad loved and wanted to sing opera, so perhaps the music is in my genes. Jazz, the swing of the big bands, and the lush vocals of the ‘girl’ singers have always enticed me. Chris Connor, Lee Wiley, Billie Holiday, and Frank Sinatra are my primary influences.” Loretta admires the vocal stylings of Chris Connor, and without a doubt has the emotional intensity of Billie Holiday. Loretta studied with prominent jazz vocalists Ronnie Wells of Washington, D.C. and Ethel Ennis of Baltimore. Performing in area venues as a student of Ronnie Wells sparked a desire to make singing professionally a part of her life.

Loretta is as comfortable singing in an intimate setting with only piano accompaniment as she is performing with a trio or larger ensemble. Her extensive repertoire from the American Songbook includes popular standards as well as unfamiliar gems of the 1920s-1950s. Although she’s been told that she sounds like a number of jazz and big band vocalists, Loretta has a distinct vocal quality, which catches the listener’s attention on hearing the first few notes. She is a marvelous interpreter of the lyrics. “I feel each word as I sing,” she remarks. Her impeccable phrasing, flawless enunciation, and a warm, natural delivery combine to captivate even the casual listener.

Loretta’s debut CD, Sing! Went the Strings of My Heart, which features outstanding San Antonio musicians, garnered excellent reviews and has received national and international air play. On her second recording, Under A Blanket of Blue, Loretta is again ably supported by extremely talented players. Both albums demonstrate her ability to move with ease from tender, romantic ballads to swinging up-tempo tunes.

Past performances include the first Baltimore-Washington jazz festival, “Puttin’ On the Glitz,” held in Columbia, Maryland, as well as frequent appearances in jazz venues in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. Currently, Loretta performs in hotels, clubs, restaurants, and for private functions in San Antonio.

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