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Spirited singer, actress, songwriter, teacher and bandleader Cami Thompson has been sharing her musical talents and charismatic personality with appreciative audiences all around the globe for over 40 years. Reno-born and musically trained, she has traveled to the far reaches of Paris, London, Amsterdam, Bangkok, Cannes, Sydney, Casablanca, Tokyo, Seoul, the Caribbean, and managed to find her way back from being very lost in most places to work across the US, singing her heart out in concert halls, clubs, jazz festivals, cabarets, theaters and more than a few unsavory but delightful dives. Audiences journey with Cami through a passionate repertoire of classic American standards, unique jazz tunes, saucy blues and poignant originals. Her 4-octave voice resonates with warmth and beauty, displaying great depth, dexterity and control. Often displaying dizzying blasts of blistering scats, Cami sings with outstanding musical skill backed by a great sense of humor, compassion and human dignity, all the while soaring on the wings of innovative jazz freedom, faith, imagination, and a great lack of reality -- probably stemming from her extensive background in musical theatre!
“Cami is loaded with talent and possesses one of the most technically diverse, smooth and sumptuous voices in music today… It grooves, belts, caresses, scats, soars, and gets way under the skin of every tune she sings.” (Jack Neal, Nevada Journal)
Cami has had the privilege of performing with her bands as Opening act for The Manhattan Transfer, Nancy Wilson, Dianne Reeves, Lou Rawls, Art Blakey, Jon Hendricks, Eddie Jefferson, Abbey Lincoln, Charo, Jose Feliciano, Louis Bellson, Lou Levy, and others.
Cami has starred in many professional musicals, including "Annie Get You Gun" (Annie) with John Raitt, "Mame" (Agnes Gooch) with Toni Tenille, “Showboat” (Ellie May) also with Miss Tenille, "Desert Song” (sidekick Susan), and the operatic lead in "Hansel and Gretel" (Rosina Daintymouth the Witch), all with the prestigious Nevada Opera Company. With Nevada Repertory Company, Cami had leads in "Sweeney Todd” (Mrs. Lovett), "Follies” (Sally Durant), “Mame” (Mame), "Candide”(Old Lady and vocal director), "Hair” (lead singer), “JC Superstar” (Mary Magdalene),” and "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” (Miss Mona).
Her most recent roles in the Bay Area include Jeanette in "The Full Monty" (Ray of Light), Muzzy in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” (Pacific Coast Repertory Theater), Miss Hannigan in “Annie” (Broadway by the Bay), and Kate Fothergill (the Ethel Merman role) in the 42nd Street Moon Theater’s production of the Gershwin’s “Girl Crazy”.
“(Cami) has a voice that stands out like diamonds from plastic glitter!” (Guy Richardson, Reno Gazette)
Early in her career Cami sang and/or played keyboards and percussion in various rock, R&B, soul and jazz bands around Reno-Tahoe, and was one of the youngest members of the Nevada Opera chorus while studying music, theater and voice at Univ. of Nevada-Reno. She earned several awards as "Best Local Singer" and "Best Local Actress" in Reno, and received the "Best New Artist" in the Washington D.C. area while she lived and worked there.
Miss Thompson spent over 2 years singing in Europe at various jazz clubs and festivals in England, France, Italy, Morocco and Holland, including the prestigious North Sea Jazz Festival in Den Haag, Holland, and the Juan Les Pins Festival du Jazz in France. She toured as lead actress with two DOD/USO 3-month-tour shows throughout the Far East. She spent four years in LA singing in jazz clubs, recording, teaching voice, and performing with the Emmy-nominated 12-voice group LA Jazz Choir.
“Cami Thompson is remarkable, a perfectly wonderful singer." (Philip Elwood, San Francisco Chronicle)
In 1990 Cami was asked to sing with trumpeter Mike Vax and His Great American Jazz Band, touring festivals around the US with them for 12 years. She is also a frequent guest artist with Vax’s 18-piece Jazz Orchestra, and has recorded tracks on their two albums, which received global critical acclaim and great reviews. She is also a frequent guest with the Reno Jazz Orchestra, recording her latest CD with them.
The recorded collection of Cami now measures 6! The latest was released 10-10-10 at the Sun Valley Jazz Festival. A “mostly” live recording with the 17-piece Reno Jazz Orchestra, “Swing! Swang! Swung!” is a tribute to the big band sounds of the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s. In 1993 in LA, Cami and her best friend Lizabeth Rogers and pianist Benjamin Dowling independently co-produced Cami’s first CD, "No More Blues," a collection of jazz favorites and original torch, blues and ballads. A digitally recorded 1992 live concert performance, “An Evening with Cami”, became her second CD. In 1998 Cami produced her third record, a jazzy soulful holiday album "Colors of Christmas", the title cut written for her mom. Her fourth release, “By Request” is a powerhouse of beautifully recorded live and studio tracks, capturing all the dynamic splendor of great American ballads, jazz and swing standards, sort of an “Ella meets Barbra meets Bette” thing. Her fifth album, “Café Camille”, is a collection of torch, blues and jazz songs recorded live during club dates in LA during 1993 with her trio, produced by Lizabeth Rogers.
Travelling often to her hometown of Reno, Cami has lived happily in San Francisco since 1995, singing in clubs and private parties, doing musical theater, creating concerts, touring, recording, teaching voice, and enjoying the great cuisine (much of it made by her very own “kitchen mechanic” - husband and chef Scott Lenau), and fresh foggy air!, and tending her balcony garden with great joy. She has received no awards there. – oh well, the balcony view is worth it!