Gayle Bisesi is a true jazz soprano who brings a fresh, inspiring sensitivity and a playful edge to jazz music. She creates original material that will set your soul searching and adds a new flare to jazz standards from the past. Fusing the imaginative freedom of a child with masterful technique, flexibility and a superb overall command of her instrument. Watching Gayle perform, there is no doubt she commits to the music and brings this conviction to the forefront of every performance.
Currently, she resides in the Chicago area while pursuing her musical career. When not on the road with her jazz ensemble, Gayle is active doing jingle/voiceover work, singing with various Chicago bands and dedicates time to being a voice teacher, clinician and musical life coach.
Gayle first set her sights on music at the young age of 3. “Mom said my stage was the living room couch. My microphone - the vacuum cleaner hose.” Gayle’s love for music continued and by age 9 she moved from the couch to the stage touring all over Illinois as a featured soloist with a local Decatur ensemble. The following year Gayle’s parents signed her up for voice lessons at Millikin University.
Throughout her childhood, Gayle was exposed to singing many kinds of music including classical, musical theater, pop, and folk. It wasn’t until 1987 that her hidden passion for jazz was uncovered. “I remember auditioning for the MacArthur Jazz Band and something inside me just sat up and a strong connection was made. This music was so powerful and exciting to me.” Her work won her the coveted Downbeat award for Best Jazz Vocalist.
Having led an active musical life thus far, Gayle sought out Elmhurst College where she earned her degree in Music Education. While in college, she was recognized by the MENC (Music Educators National Conference) as Outstanding Classical Vocalist in the collegiate chapter, as well as being named Outstanding Jazz Soloist at the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival. “This was a special time in my life. I really took to studying the greats: Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Nancy Wilson, Dinah Washington, Chet Baker, Louis Armstrong,... and the list goes on. They taught me that one of the greatest gifts a vocalist can give the audience is to tell a story and have fun doing it.
“To me, singing jazz is a soulful release - an opportunity to unveil, expose, and bare my true self. Am I vulnerable? Yes, but what’s music without revealing your heart?” ~Gb
As a performer, she has had the honor of sharing the stage with such musical greats as:
Patti Austin, New York Voices, Howard Levy, John Pizzarelli, Clark Terry, Louie Bellson, Denis DiBlasio, Mark Whitfield, Conte Candoli, Hank Marr, Frank Mantooth, and Kevin Mahogany, among others.
Gayle has performed at numerous venues throughout the country and in Europe including:
Canada - Ontario Jazz Festival
Chicago - Jazz Showcase, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago Center for Performing Arts, Copernicus Theater, Andy’s Jazz Club, Park West, Green Mill, Hot House, Pop’s for Champagne, Fitzgerald’s, Uncommon Ground, The Box Factory,
The Roundhouse, and The Beat Kitchen, to name a few.
Germany - Hypothalamus, (Rhiene), Dausen & Hartmann Musikhaus (Meppen), and Fock’s Jam Factory (Muenster).
The Netherlands - North Sea Jazz Festival, Bethany’s Jazz Club, CC Muziekcafé.
New York City - Knitting Factory, Cornelia St. Café.
Switzerland - Montreux Jazz Festival
My philosophy for teaching voice is “holistic” in approach and has taken shape through a culmination of over 20 years of vocal training in classical, jazz, pop/rock, and musical theater styles, along with performing, yoga/chakra work and a lot of self-exploration. To me, learning to sing is not just about reaching a certain goal but also the journey of self-discovery along the way.
The fundamental goal of the lessons is to learn how to achieve a healthy well supported sound. Having said that, all vocal sessions are different. They are designed to meet the individual goals and needs of each student. I incorporate a variety of teaching methods addressing everything from basic technique to body-mind awareness and meditation.
Through these lessons, my goal is to help each student strengthen his/her own intentions/desires about music. I consider myself not only a voice teacher but also a musical life coach. Students that so desire are led into journaling about their past, present and future in music, do mind maps and set intentions to achieve their goals. For me, it’s exciting to watch students grow and stretch beyond what they originally thought their limits were. As we heighten the energy field around our intentions, we are drawn to that concept until completion.
In addition to teaching private voice lessons at Elmhurst College, I also offer the Vocal Voyage Summer Camp which is open to high school students. Each student explores singing through classical, jazz, musical theater, and pop genres while learning vocal technique and how to apply it to these different styles. Together we will co-create a fun, safe, non-judgmental, and supportive environment for growth, exploration and development. In that space, wonderful things are bound to happen!
Whether you study with me privately or attend summer camp, I hope you will enjoy the process of getting to know your body - your instrument - YOU!
"With Gayle’s help, I’ve learned so much more about music than just how to sing a song. I’ve learned how to perform on stage better, control aspects of my voice, and most importantly how to connect to people through my music. Gayle has really inspired me to keep performing!"
- Alyssa Allgood
"Having private lessons with Gayle Bisesi has opened my eyes to the world of professional singing. She has given me a deeper understanding of my vocal abilities. She motivates me!"
- Jessica Blue
"Being new to the Chicago area, I needed to find a new vocal coach. After only 2 months as a student of Gayle Bisesi,
the sound of my upper register greatly improved and I've also landed a gig as a substitute singer for a wedding/dance band! Her holistic approach has allowed me to relax when I sing, which in turn enables us to address my vocal issues quickly. The fact that she is an accomplished singer and performer herself was such an important factor for me in a vocal coach, and she is helping me to develop my ownaperformance style. I am looking forward to a long relationship with her as my coach and I can't wait to see where we will be able to take my voice. I would recommend her most highly to anyone wanting to improve his or her skills!"
- Bridgette Grace
"Gayle is such a gifted teacher. Her quest for healing and her holistic lifestyle are evident in her work. She incorporates many techniques, which allows us the freedom to build each session uniquely. Her insightful advice and guidance reverberates far beyond our sessions. I now feel so much more freedom, creativity and confidence however I am vocally expressing myself."
- Michelle Price
"My daughter (Alyssa) has studied with Gayle for 1 ½ years. Gayle provides a holistic approach to vocal instruction that includes a connection between the physical voice and the greater message of the music. She has provided my daughter with opportunities for performance and advanced study through her connections in the local music community. As an active performer, Gayle provides a wonderful model for my daughter."
Gayle is awesome! Her patience and understanding opened me up and gave me confidence in my voice. Gayle prepared me for my big surprise performance, which I completely enjoyed giving and my wife loved receiving. We cannot thank Gayle Bisesi enough!
- Shawn Emery