Bio of Chicago Jazz Vocalist Deborah Powell


Deborah Powell – stage name DEBORAH – is an American jazz, soul, and gospel vocalist who has become an integrated part of the Chicago music scene starting decades ago. She is adored by her fans for her warm and caring personality, her spellbinding energetic stage presence, and her powerful and beautiful voice which she can skillfully control to fit any jazz and popular musical style and genre.

Early Life

Deborah Powell began her musical journey as a little girl singing in the church choir in Rockford, Illinois. After playing percussion in middle school, in 8th grade she was selected as one of the few Afro Americans to ever make the high school a cappella choir. During that time she expanded her knowledge of music as she sang not only with the school’s a cappella choir, but Madrigal Singers & All State Choir as well. Her parents encouraged all her siblings to play an instrument. Together they had a family singing group with some type of music always around her environment.

Education And Musical Development

Deborah received a partial scholarship from the National Negro Scholarship fund and attended Benedict College in Columbia, SC. While attending college she studied, performed, and traveled with the Concert Choir. In doing so she observed a variety of theatrical and musical genres which made music become an even stronger part of her life, reaching deep into her soul.
During her senior year of college, she went to New York City where she was touched by the scenes of Broadway. Ignited more than ever, she now knew for sure that she wanted to make music an integrated part of her entire life.

Working As A Professional

After moving to Chicago Illinois, she began to sit in on music sessions. As the rich music scene there expanded her horizon, she began to work and travel with some the finest Chicago band leaders such as
Lorenzo Smith, Nate Vincent, Pete Baron Quartet, Eddie Harrison Orchestra, Tyrone Pittman, Thomas Gunther Trio, and Mr. Bill Pollack Productions.

Deborah performed in every major hotel in Chicago with the Eddie Harrison Orchestra as well as surrounding States. While gigging with him in the city, she has made 3 commercials for both TV and radio, one of them can still be heard at Midway airport in Chicago today.
As the feature front artist with the Thomas Gunther Trio, Deborah performed at major events in and around Chicagoland, including the Chicago Summer Dance.

Family Life

After getting married Deborah raised two children.
Teaching in the Chicago Public Elementary School System, she worked on her elementary certification while singing on the weekends and continued working on her master’s degree in Education as well.


Presently Deborah’s is performing with her long-time collaborator Thomas Gunther in a duo setting called the The Jazz & Soul Connection.

She is also an active member of the Church choir in her church called Our Lady of Africa Catholic Church.
She also performs with other Chicago musicians when she has time.