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Hailing from the Detroit metropolitan area, Carmen Woodruff started singing with jazz ensembles at the age of eleven, continuing throughout high school and college, where she was featured in a Busch Gardens big band show “Starlight Orchestra” and at Walt Disney World Resort’s “Wide World of Sports” in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Accolades include recognition from the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE) as the two-time “Teal Jazz Vocalist of the Year” and the “Woody Herman Jazz Performance” award after she was spotted singing at the Detroit Montreux Jazz Festival.
Repeat performances at the Detroit Montreux Jazz Festival led to an invitation to join IAJE President Sunny Wilkinson’s inaugural “Sister’s in Jazz” program, where she worked under the guidance of esteemed Detroit jazz vocalist Ursula Walker and her husband pianist Buddy Budson. Additional impactful teachers and mentors include Douglas Blackwell, Sunny Wilkinson, Jo Belle Yonely, Dave Loeb, Wendy Moss, Rodney Saulsberry, Nathan Tanouye and Dr. Jocelyn Jensen.
Carmen has also performed with Motown stars “Martha Reeves and the Vandellas” and shared the stage with many of today’s hottest names in smooth jazz in addition to up and coming artists nationally and internationally in Europe and South Africa. Recording credits include corporate jingles and Detroit-based saxophonist Randy Scott’s “FUTURE” album. In addition to jazz music, Carmen loves gospel music and enjoyed the life-changing honor of being selected to sing with the vocal ensemble at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas.
Carmen earned her BA degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and after serious soul-searching, decided to switch gears in 2010 to wholeheartedly pursue her passion for music. She recently joined the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) music program after working for nearly a decade in publicity and marketing, graduating with her second BA in Music. Exciting performances during Carmen’s UNLV experience included a Black History Month concert alongside Marlena Shaw and Don and Alicia Cunningham, a UNLV Ladies of Jazz KUNV live radio tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, her recent Senior Recital and various corporate and collegiate gigs around Las Vegas.
In her free time, Carmen enjoys writing, traveling, yoga and reading. She is currently enrolled in the Berklee College of Music's Master of Music Program in Contemporary Studio Performance of which she will study in Valencia, Spain and complete her graduate degree in July of 2015.
"Stronger" - This is a song I wrote and recorded at the Detroit School of Rock & Pop Music. Thank you to Lamar Willis (keyboard/organ/instrumental arrangement, background vocals), Jason Gittinger (drums), Alan Tishk (production/engineering) and Tristan Kindy (background vocals).
"God Bless the Child" - Holiday/Herzog - Arranged by Julian Tanaka - Performed by Carmen Woodruff (vocals), Danbi Cho (piano), Nick Schmitt (bass), Gyasi Greer (drums), Julian Tanaka (tenor sax)
"If You Could See Me Now" - Dameron - Performed by Performed by Carmen Woodruff (vocals), Julian Tanaka (piano), Nick Schmitt (bass), Gyasi Greer (drums)