b. 8 February 1947, Kings Cross, New South Wales, Australia, d. 5 September 2014. Biddell studied piano for many years before starting a singing career. She sang commercials before her first major job as a backing vocalist for Dusty Springfield at The Chequers in Sydney, Australia. In 1968, Biddell joined the pop group the Affair, and performed with them in England before returning to Australia to work with the exciting new Daly Wilson Big Band. She became the featured vocalist with the band, from 1970-71, singing in a vibrant, forceful style that perfectly matched the band’s dynamics. Upon leaving the group she became busy with television work, studio session back-ups and voice-overs. She started a solo career in Sydney clubs and won the Music Maker poll as Best Female Jazz Singer. In 1974, she made her first trip to the USA and Canada. In Australia the ABC radio programme, Kerrie Biddell and Friends, was well received; even more so was her first solo album, which won The Australian Record Award’s Best Female Vocal Album. Returning to America, Biddell appeared on The Merv Griffen Show and enjoyed a residency at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. She formed the jazz fusion band Compared to What, which recorded the first Australian digital album for EMI Records.
In 1983 Biddell joined the faculty of the Jazz Diploma Course at the Conservatorium of New South Wales and taught masterclasses and vocal workshops for seven years. Working with Julian Lee, she won the Bicentennial Music award for Best Jazz Vocalist in 1988 and the Mo Award for Best Female Jazz Performer in 1990. In 1992, Biddell wrote her Legends show and was musical director for the play Lipstick. Another Mo Award in 1994 preceded a residency in Sydney’s Tilbury Hotel. Two years later she sang in the Sydney Theatre Company production of As You Like It and worked on a new album, before retiring from professional activities at the end of the decade. Biddell was a good choice as Australia’s best contemporary female jazz singer. Her voice, style and versatility inspired a critic to suggest, ‘her talents are so formidable that she is impossible to categorize. She is without doubt the most underrated talent in Australia’. Kerrie Biddell died from a stroke on 5 September 2014; she was 67 years old.