“Best male jazz singer in Britain”…Evening standard
‘Winner of the London Jazz Awards for best Vocalist 2010′
Born in the East End of London, virtuoso vocalist, actor and composer Cleveland Watkiss Studied the voice at ‘London school of singing’ With opera coach ‘Arnold Rose’ and at the Guildhall School Of Music And Drama. Cleveland was also one of the co-founders of the vastly influential Jazz Warriors big band. His vocals can be heard on there debut album, Out of Many People which won a video award in Japan.
Cleveland was then entered for the Wire/Guardian Jazz Awards and was voted best vocalist for three consecutive years, and was the opening act of choice for two of the worlds greatest femail jazz vocalists ‘Cassandra Wilson’ And ‘Abbey Lincoln’…. John Fordham, the Guardian music journalist accurately describes Cleveland as ‘arriving on the scene with a bang”.
His amazing vocal experiences have seen him perform with many diverse artists from around the world such as ‘The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Dusseldolf Symphonic Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis,Bob Dylan, Jackie Mittoo, Keith Richards, James Taylor Quartet, Art Blakey, Sly & Robbie, Abdullah Ibrahim, Stevie Wonder, Patife, Lepaja Symphonic Orchestra, Nigel Kennedy, Carlinhos Brown, Robbie Williams, Joe Cocker, The Who, Branford Marsalis, George Martin, Julian Joseph, Bocato Big Band, Lisa Stansfield, Courtney Pine, Janet Kay, Maxi Priest, Soul II Soul, London Chamber Orchestra, Kassa Mady, BBC Orchestra, Goldie, Cassandra Wilson, Kenny Wheeler Big Band, Sugar Minot, Talvin Singh, Bjork, Pete Townshend, London Community Gospel Choir [LCGC] and many many More.
Cleveland watkiss is also a very keen Music Educator, Working as a voice instructor with workshops in Venues/Schools, colleges and Universities around the UK.
He also designed the vocal curriculum for BA Students at The ‘Weekend Arts college’ [WAC] in north london. And is a regularly facilitator and voice coach for the ‘Artist Development Programme’ [ADP] at the Hackney Empire Theatre in East London.
More recently, demonstrating great versatility Cleveland Watkiss was cast the starring role In Julian Joseph’s two groundbreaking Jazz Opera’s ‘Bridgetower’ & ’Shadowball’ to considerable acclaim.
The “CWQ” Quartet
Building on the formidable strength and range of his solo performances with Vocalsuite, Cleveland Watkiss has brought together three of the foremost musicians on the British jazz scene — Mark Hodgson (bass), Shaney Forbes (drums) and Marco Piccioni (guitars)— to form a Quartet that showcases his extraordinary vocal talent. Dubbed the “Sonny Rollins of the human voice” (Time Out), Cleveland’s rare ability to improvise like any instrument makes him a true frontman, but he is also able to incorporate his sound melodically, harmonically and rhythmically with bass and drums in a way that both complements and extends the musical dimensions of the conventional jazz Quartet format.
Cleveland has and continues to perform in many of the major concert halls, Festivals and clubs around the world with VocalSuite which is a solo voice performance,and his new Quartet ‘CWQ’