Laura Collins is a creative and dynamic singer, vocal educator and choir conductor.
Laura played classical 'cello and piano from an early age in her home town of Cardiff and sang as a choral exhibitioner at Queens' College, Cambridge University. This gave her an excellent musical and vocal grounding. When not in chapel, she found solace in Nina Simone and Charlie Parker:
'I saw the light, threw off my cassock, and began to take the path of jazz understanding.'
Then followed an adventurous year in Rome, singing in backstreet clubs. On returning to the UK she continued her apprenticeship in working mens' clubs and any place she could shove a microphone.
Keen to receive formal training, Laura moved to London to study on the jazz performance course at the Guildhall School of Music. There she was awarded scholarships from the Ryan Davies Memorial Fund and the Atlantic Foundation. Fortunate to learn from some of the most prominent figures in jazz, she studied singing with Lee Gibson, Trudy Kerr and Anita Wardell, and explored lyric-writing with Norma Winstone. Since, she has been performed with jazz greats including Tina May, Andy Cleyndert, Dave Cottle, Tony Levin, Dick Pearce, Paul Sawtell and Jean Toussaint.
Laura is most influenced by seminal jazz voices Sarah Vaughan, Betty Carter, Ella Fitzgerald and Norma Winstone. As a straight ahead jazz vocalist, Laura is lucky to gig around the UK with the finest musicians, from whom she draws inspiration and playful musicality. She was thrilled to record her debut album in 2010 on Spotlite Records, which issues Charlie Parker's Dial Recordings. 'Baltimore Oriole: Introducing Laura Collins' garnered great reviews ['a stunning debut from a refreshing new talent' - In Tune International ] and launched at London's 606 Club with a guest appearance by ex Jazz Messengers saxophonist Jean Toussaint. The album featured some of Britain's best jazz musicians, Barry Green, Sam Dunn, Matt Skelton, Jeremy Brown and the legend that is Dick Pearce on trumpet and flugelhorn.
Now living in Birmingham UK, where she took time out to raise a family, Laura works increasingly as a 'sidewoman' for projects in a variety of genres and draws on her unique skillset of excellent sight-reading skills and improvisational capability on voice, piano and 'cello to lend a distinctive flavour to live and recorded performance. She has worked freelance for the Royal Shakespeare Company, recorded on Ben Thomas' 'The Edge' project and is a charismatic big band vocalist, having sung with Mike Fletcher's big band and is the vocalist for 'Birmingham's hottest [big] swing band', the Jim Wynn Swing Orchestra, who converted Birmingham Symphony Hall into a ballroom in 2017 for an 'Ever After Vintage Spectacular'.
With varied experience in Classical and jazz music, Laura is a qualified teacher who is passionate about developing the voices of young and old. She is a member of the Association of Teachers of Singing and the British Voice Association. She taught music at the specialist performing arts school, Birmingham Ormiston Academy, from its inception. She has directed choirs for fifteen years and has facilitated singing ensembles for clients as diverse as Standard and Poor's, Essex County Council, University Hospitals Birmingham and diverse charity groups.