A singer with a lifetime of performing with a unique and soulful style all her own, Lorraine Gervais started singing at public events when she was 5 along with her mother, a classically trained singer, and then moved on to follow in the footsteps of her jazz and blues singing, piano playing grandmother who began touring in the 1920’s, playing speakeasies, roadhouses and nightclubs around the country.
After living in Europe for some years, Lorraine came back to the States and continued performing in nightclubs throughout the West Coast. Festivals, nightclubs, large scale events, house concerts, touring and recording have been the mainstays of Lorraine’s professional life since the age of 15. From playing in duos, trios and quartets, on up to leading 17 piece bands with horn sections, backup singers, and varied multi-instrumental combinations, her life as a musician has been a lifetime ride.
In addition to being a singer, performer, and front woman, and opening for headliner artists such as Mavis Staples, Etta James, Charlie Hunter, Pointer Singers, John Hammond & Pete Escovedo, she has sung on many commercial projects and has released 5 jazz influenced albums (3 with her latest band project Lolo Gervais), and a Christmas album partnered with guitarist Tony Unger.
Lorraine sings everything from jazz to soul to pop— it’s all in a good night’s work.
In the role of concert producer and mentor, Lorraine Gervais Productions has showcased regional artists and vocalists who live in Northern California. Her large vintage style tribute shows, co-produced with The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley, have highlighted music in many genres—from jazz to country to R&B and soul to rock and pop, and have been tremendously successful— all 17 of them! In these productions she has mentored young and less experienced singers into the world of professional stage performance by bringing them in as both background and lead vocalists, teaching them how to interact with professional musicians, how to manage stage confidence and develop their own stage presence and style. Lorraine also recently served as the Music Mentor Program Coordinator for a free community music mentoring program with The Center for the Arts, funded with a 2 year grant from the Irvine Foundation, The California Arts Council, and other entities. This groundbreaking program brought 50-60 members of the community together every Monday night for 40 weeks in creating a safe, supportive, and fun environment for people to participate in making music together in a band setting with professional musicians to guide them.
Photographer: Kim Sayre