Cleo Laine

Dame Cleo Laine, Lady Dankworth DBE, (born Clementina Dinah Campbell on October 28, 1927 in Middlesex, England) is a jazz singer and an actor, noted for her scat singing. She is the only person to have received Grammy nominations in the jazz, popular and classical music awards. Laine was born in a London suburb to a Jamaican father and English mother who sent her to singing and dancing lessons at an early age. She did not take up singing seriously until her mid-twenties, however. ...show more

Dame Cleo Laine, Lady Dankworth DBE, (born Clementina Dinah Campbell on October 28, 1927 in Middlesex, England) is a jazz singer and an actor, noted for her scat singing. She is the only person to have received Grammy nominations in the jazz, popular and classical music awards. Laine was born in a London suburb to a Jamaican father and English mother who sent her to singing and dancing lessons at an early age. She did not take up singing seriously until her mid-twenties, however.

She auditioned successfully for a band led by musician John Dankworth, with which she performed until 1958, when she and Dankworth married. She then began her career as a singer and actress. She played the lead in a new play at London's famous Royal Court Theatre, home of the new wave of playwrights of the 1950s: Harold Pinter and the like. This led to other stage performances such as the musical Valmouth in 1959, the play A Time to Laugh (with Robert Morley and Ruth Gordon) in 1962, and eventually to her show stopping Julie in the Wendy Toye production of Showboat at the Adelphi Theatre in London in 1971.

During this period she had two major recording successes. You'll Answer to Me reached the British Top 10 while Laine was 'prima donna' in the 1961 Edinburgh Festival production of Kurt Weill's opera/ballet The Seven Deadly Sins. In 1964 her Shakespeare and All that Jazz album with Dankworth received widespread critical acclaim, and to this day remains an important milestone in her identification with the more unusual aspects of a singer's repertoire. 1972 marked the start of Laine's international activities, with a successful first tour of Australia. ...show less