Raised in Saratoga, California, Jacqui Naylor first became interested in music through her parents? collection of antique automated instruments and vintage jazz recordings. While learning songs from mechanical drums, music boxes and player pianos of the 1930s, she didn?t realize her tastes were not exactly contemporary. Jacqui explains, "I didn?t think this was old music, just what I liked and listened to."
Although she sang in musicals and talent shows during high school, Jacqui Naylor put her desire to perform aside and pursued a traditional college degree in marketing at San Francisco State University. But after listening to a recording of Sarah Vaughn singing Gershwin in a music appreciation class, she recognized that music was, in fact, her true passion. In 1991 she began studying with renowned San Francisco vocal coach Faith Winthrop, and continued to do so for the next four years.
Simultaneously, Jacqui Naylor worked full-time as the director of marketing with designer and husband Lat Naylor. She spent her spare time honing her vocal skills through lessons and by singing as a soloist with the Sacred Heart Gospel Choir. When in 1996 her job required she spend a year in New York, she continued her training with Shirley Calloway (Anne Hampton Calloway?s mother). In 1997 Jacqui Naylor returned to San Francisco with one thing on her mind: it was time to make singing her full-time career.
It didn?t take long for the San Francisco jazz scene to embrace Jacqui Naylor. "Billie Holiday?s inflections and a touch of June Christy" say?s San Francisco Examiner?s Phil Elwood. While her distinct sound reminisces the bygone days of jazz greats, Jacqui Naylor?s gospel influence and jazz interpretations of her own generation?s music explain her ability to attract both old-time aficionados and new jazz enthusiasts. "She can make you sway gently with a blues-flavored melody, heat up a room with a strong R&B sound and then cool it right down with a smoothness that slides gently into your ear," say?s Cabaret Magazine.
Jacqui Naylor performs both nationally and internationally, beginning her 2000 concert series with a two-week run at San Francisco?s renowned Plush Room and rounding out the year with a three-month tour in Tokyo. She has performed at such famed venues as Oakland?s Yoshi?s, the Hollywood Roosevelt?s Cinegrill, New York?s Cabaret Convention at Town Hall, Seattle?s Bumbershoot Festival, San Francisco?s North Beach Festival, the Newport Beach Jazz Festival and the San Jose Jazz Festival.