b. Garden City, Long Island, New York, USA. Dexter adopted her stage name because her mother, an actress, was also named Jane Dexter. While still at school Baby Jane was working professionally with a local theatre group and was briefly in the Broadway cast of Hair. After school, she supported herself driving a taxi while seeking stage work. She appeared at New York clubs and also on television, in No Holds Barred, and the theatre, Anything Goes and The Music Man. Like many other artists, Dexter’s career stalled in the late 70s when musical tastes changed. From 1981 she was active as a counsellor in programmes designed to offer an alternative to prison for young offenders. When a close friend, AIDS activist, Vito Russo, persuaded her to start singing again, she performed at AIDS benefit concerts at the Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center. Late in 1990, Dexter decided to perform a show at Eighty-Eights in Greenwich Village for Russo but he died just before she was scheduled to open. She continued with the show and early the following year was at the club performing a show I Got Thunder, which she also recorded. This and subsequent shows at Eighty-Eights, Big, Bad, & Blue and The Real Thing - An Intimate Opera, attracted considerable and highly favourable attention.
Drawing upon her experiences as a performer and as a counsellor, and also upon many personal difficulties through which she had worked her way, Dexter also developed a workshop programme, Healing Through Entertainment - A Motivational Performance Art Experience For Women. In the late 90s, she took part in TED/Technotainment, an ambitious joining of the entertainment and technology industries. In 1998 she made her Carnegie Hall debut, appearing in the Weill Recital Hall to considerable acclaim. In December of that year, she was at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall for the Concord Jazz Christmas show, A Singin’, Swingin’ Christmas. In 1999, she starred in We Have Something To Say.
Dexter possesses a powerful singing voice and a strong and engaging stage presence. Among awards she has won are Backstage magazine’s Bistro Award, the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs (MAC) Female Vocalist Of The Year award, 1994 and 1996, and the MAC Award for Best Major Pop/Rhythm & Blues Performer, winning the latter in 1998, 1999 and again in 2002.