Jazz;Traditional Pop;Visual Media
Lorraine Feather was born in Manhattan. Her parents named her Billie Jane Lee Lorraine, after godmother Billie Holiday, her mother Jane (formerly a big band singer), her mother’s ex-roommate Peggy Lee, and the song “Sweet Lorraine.” She is the daughter of the late jazz writer Leonard Feather.
The Feathers moved to Los Angeles when Lorraine was 12. At 18, after two years as a theater arts major at L.A. City College, she returned to New York to pursue an acting career.
Some touring, off-Broadway work and the Broadway show Jesus Christ Superstar followed, interspersed with countless waitressing jobs up and down Manhattan’s West Side.
Frequently unemployed, and discouraged by more than one restaurateur from pursuing a career in the food service industry, Lorraine decided to try singing. She began working with various jazz and Top 40 bands in and around New York. She sang backup for Petula Clark and Grand Funk Railroad, and finally put her own act together, eventually moving back to L.A., where she sang at local jazz clubs. Soon after, she joined producer Richard Perry’s vocal trio Full Swing, and recorded three albums with the group. It was for the first of these projects that she started writing lyrics, initially to preexisting big band swing tunes.
When Full Swing dissolved, Lorraine focused on lyric-writing, first for other artists’ recordings and then for film and television (My Little Pony, Dinosaurs, The Princess Diaries 2, All Dogs Go to Heaven). Her lyrics for animation, and one written for the Olympics, received a total of seven Emmy nominations.
In the late ’90s, Lorraine decided to try creating material for herself to record as a solo artist. She has released twelve albums since that time. Her 2001 project, New York City Drag, consisted of stride piano pieces by Fats Waller with Lorraine’s lyrics. She and New York animator George Griffin produced a cartoon based on the opening track, You’re Outa Here (https://vimeo.com/30809385), that was accepted at several dozen film festivals and won the Best Video award at the South Beach Animation Festival. She also recorded an album of Ellington instrumentals with her added words. Gradually, she transitioned into writing with living jazz composers based in Los Angeles.
Lorraine’s 2010 release, Ages, brought Lorraine her first Grammy nomination, in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category. Her next album, a Gothic collection of fables entitled Tales of the Unusual, earned a 2012 nomination for co-writer Shelly Berg’s arrangement of the Feather/Berg X Files song “Out There.” Attachments, 2014,was nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Her albums’ fourth and fifth nominations (Best Jazz Vocal Album, and Shelly Berg’s arrangement of “Be My Muse”), came in 2015, for Flirting with Disaster.
Lorraine and her longtime co-writer Eddie Arkin were asked by Warren Beatty to create a song for his long-gestating Howard Hughes film, which came out in November of 2016. Their song, “The Rules Don’t Apply,” was sung by Lily Collins in the movie several times, and became the film’s title (Rules Don’t Apply). It received a Critics’ Choice Award nomination.
Lorraine’s 2018 release was Math Camp. She is in the midst of recording an album for 2021, entitled My Own Particular Life, produced with Eddie Arkin. Her collaborators on MOPL are Arkin, Russell Ferrante, Shelly Berg and Dave Grusin. Lorraine is also currently collaborating with composer Nan Schwartz on two musicals in development: In the Wash (Le Lavoir aux Cancans) for French producer Kat De Blois ( showcased in Paris in late 2019), and The Grammarians, based on Cathleen Schine’s novel - a New York Times pick for notable books of 2019.
Lorraine has lived in Rochester, NY, since 2019, with her cat Albert Einstein.