Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Cheryl Conley: Bio

- Jazz Vocalist

Phrasing with the sensitivity of a horn player, her intonation flawless was quoted by Leonard Feather of the Los Angeles Times, while others have crowned her style, and showmanship of music, as the rebirth of Jazz.

Cheryl Conley native of Pasadena California, remembers her parents playing the sweet sounds of Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole, and Etta James as she was growing up.  Her musical talent was apparent at an early age; chosen to sing the lead in her second grade spring program, playing the flute by 5th grade and awarded a vocal scholarship in the 10th grade to attend the USC Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts summer program.  Cheryl sang in all the high school choral groups. "My father would cry when he listened to Etta James. Once she was at the Parisian Room. I  thought I could look like I was 21 so I snuck the car, and drove to Los Angeles. I wanted to see the woman who made my daddy cry. I wanted to be a singer after that!  Then my mother took me to see Ella Fitzgerald at the Pasadena Civic Autitorium. After meeting Ella, I knew what I wanted to do".   

Joining the Ike and Tina Turner Review as an Ikette, for only a few months, during her senior year in high school was her first professional experience.   Cheryl has been quoted saying “I wrote my mother a note and took off!"  The Ike and Tina Turner Review was set to open for the Rolling Stones in England but Cheryl decided graduating from High School was her first priority, so she elected to stay behind.

Cheryl hit the ground running, first recording “I Found Someone of My Own” with Columbia Records pop group, The Free Movement,  in the 70’s, appearing on American Bandstand and Soul Train. While attending CSULA Cheryl was featured as lead vocalist with The Cal State University Los Angeles Jazz Band, opening the historical Playboy Jazz Festival in 1982.  Cheryl was the first voice major to receive a music degree in Jazz Studies from Cal State University Los Angeles.  "There was no voice teacher for  Jazz studies vocal majors so I took voice classes off campus with Phil Moore".  After graduating Cheryl taught music in a local elementary school and was a standing performer at Palermo Restaurant in Hollywood for eight years.  She has appeared at Catalina’s Bar and Grill  in Hollywood, The Hip Kitty Jazz Club in Clarimont, Cafe 322 in Sierra Madre, Nick & Stef’s in Los Angeles, and Vitello's in Studio City.  A well kept secret; Cheryl opened three venues, The Levette Pavilion in Pasadena CA., Café 322 in Sierra Madre CA. and Red White & Blues in Pasadena, CA. while singing with the Pasadena Jazz Institute.

In April 2008 Cheryl self produced her first production “A Tribute To Women In Jazz” after receiving a grant and 'Individual Artist' award from the City of Pasadena CA, Cultural Affairs Department.  The Show features women who were influential in the jazz  beginning in the 1800’s. It is mix of impromptu moments,  songs made famous by these women, authentic costumes and brief bio’s of  women that have contributed to the eclectic sounds of jazz and blues. 

Under the TCB Montreux Jazz Label, Cheryl debut her album “Lemon Twist” on February 18, 2010. Previous released albums:  "Tender Moments" and "Santa Baby".  She is also on Buddy Collett's album "Live at El Camino College."

Cheryl is truly a beautiful listening bouquet that has fully bloomed. Expect the scent of this beautiful bouquet that can only be smelled through your ears...Bianca Hunter