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marie-claire was born in Dominica West Indies and moved to the Bronx, New York as a child. Due to her love of the two cultures, she has split her time between both places as an international performer. The list of performances in her native Dominica is extensive, and includes a slot at LIME Creole in the Park. Regional events include the St. Lucia Love Fest, the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, the Ocho Rios Jazz Festival and the Love Is All We Need concert in Antigua. She has shared the stage with notable artists from Jamaica’s Bob Andy and Earl “Chinna” Smith to Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra in L.A. , as well as Will Calhoun in Cartegena Colombia.
She was classically trained to sing opera by Maestro Guido Caputo and Maestro Frascati of the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy. Further training includes two years under Marc Forrest in Los Angeles and exclusive study under Raymond Buckingham in New York City. It was Buckingham who recognized the rich and deep vocal timbre of her voice, discovering she is a rare operatic contralto. This discovery, in tandem with her extensive vocal training, led to her debut at Carnegie Hall with the New York Grand Opera Company in the role of Maddalena from Verdi’s Rigoletto. marie-claire continues her vocal studies with Catherine Mazzone in New York City.
marie-claire has had several notable performances in the New York metropolis. In 2001 she performed at the Central Park Summer Stage Lyricist Lounge for a crowd of 5,000 people with Black Moon’s Doug E. Fresh who nicknamed her “The Queen,” due to her commanding performance. In March 2013 marie-claire represented the Bronx at Battle of the Boroughs, and that December, she sang the National Anthem a Brooklyn Nets vs. Detroit Pistons basketball game at the Barclays Center. marie-claire has performed at the Farafina Lounge in Harlem and continues to appear at the Metropolitan Room in New York City. marie-claire has also been a featured performer at notable NY jazz hotspot Small’s Jazz Club with her jazz quartet.
In April 2014, she debuted the song “Two Old Maids” at the BMI Workshop Smoker presented by the Drama League, Drama Desk and Tony honored BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, where she was a featured vocalist. The next month, marie-claire snagged the starring vocalist role in the Off-Broadway play “Mothers” at the Kraine Theater. A few days later she was featured performing her trademark Jazz, Opera fusion, mixing operatic vocals with different genres of music, at the Medici Gallery. She has also performed at Blues Alley in Washington D.C.
A major highlight for 2014 were her performances at the UN on December 10th: first at the High-Level Pledging Luncheon to raise funds for the Permanent Memorial at the UN to honor the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade and then at the launch of the Decade for People of African Descent (2014-2024).
This event is especially momentous because of marie-claire’s philanthropic efforts both in the Caribbean and in the Greater NYC area. In 2010 marie-claire raised funds for disadvantaged Dominican youth through the Year of the Child concert which she co-founded and co-produced. She has also shared words of encouragement with female victims of sexual abuse in Dominica, Jamaica and St. Vincent. In New York she continues to mentor young women. In March 2014 marie-claire was honoured by the Williamsbbridge chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for her service to her community as part of Women’s History Month celebrations.
In 2014 estimable Pulitzer Prize winning composer John Harbison composed a four-song cycle especially for marie-claire, to which she added lyrics and melody. Mr. Harbison is the Metropolitan Opera House commissioned composer of the “The Great Gatsby” and Institute Professor of Music and Theatre Arts at M.I.T.
marie-claire spent time in front of the camera as a cast member on the second season of Chappelle’s Show on Comedy Central and is currently auditioning for other roles on network TV as she works to expand her skills to acting. She was recently cast as an extra on the Cinemax series “The Knick”, starring Clive Owen. She has also auditioned for co-starring roles in two movies.
As part of 2015 Black History Month celebrations, marie-claire performed the Star Spangled Banner at City Hall in NYC. In June marie-claire will return to the UN General Assembly Hall to perform at the organization’s 70th Anniversary Gala. She will also travel to India in October for a private showing at an esteemed museum in Jaipur.
In between performances marie-claire works with various charities that assist victims of sexual abuse. She also mentors young women at her alma mater Cathedral HS in Manhattan.