Aside from her impressive three-octave-plus soprano voice, Jan Shapiro also plays several instruments ranging from the flute to electric bass and piano, and has devoted her life to the craft and study of singing.
A St. Louis native, Shapiro studied at the St. Louis Institute of Music and completed her music degree at Howard University in the mid-'70s, but she spent most of early adult life on the road as a full-time singer working the hotel circuit, and continued to do so for a time even after her sons were born in 1979 and 1981. Eventually she took a teaching position at Southern Illinois University, moving on to Fontbonne College in St. Louis and from there to Boston's Berklee College of Music, which afforded her the opportunity to complete her masters at Cambridge College. Well respected as a teacher, administrator and performer in the Berklee community, Shapiro became department chair in 1997, a position she continues to hold. A versatile singer who blends jazz, R&B and pop in her approach, Shapiro released her debut album, Read Between the Lines, in 1997, followed by Not Commercial a year later. For 2000s Boswellmania!, an independently released, 20-minute homage to the songs and arrangements of the Boswell Sisters, she worked with Adriana Balic and Lisa Thorson; the trio perform regularly. Back to Basics was released in 2006. ~ Steve Leggett, Rovi