Elli Fordyce

Biography by

b. Elsa Frankl, 31 March 1937, New York City, New York, USA. Attracted to music during her school years, vocalist Fordyce sat in as occasional singer with a high school dance band led by pianist/flutist…
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Artist Biography by

b. Elsa Frankl, 31 March 1937, New York City, New York, USA. Attracted to music during her school years, vocalist Fordyce sat in as occasional singer with a high school dance band led by pianist/flutist Reese Markewich. During this same period, other high school musicians she hung out with included Bobby Cassotto and Dick Behrke. The former was then the jazz combo’s non-singing drummer, but later changed his name to Bobby Darin, with Behrke spending several years as his musical director. In 1955 Fordyce worked a summer-long gig, singing with a jazz trio at a Cape Cod, Massachusetts, club. This shaped her career for the next several years. During the mid- to late 60s, Fordyce worked regularly, singing on Caribbean cruise ships, Playboy Clubs in Miami and Jamaica, and in hotels and clubs in Puerto Rico. During this same period and on into the next decade, she sang solo and with several pop cover bands although her main interest gradually focused on singing jazz. She has performed in hotels, motels, clubs, restaurants and at festivals in various parts of the USA and Canada. As leader of her own groups and as a soloist, she is adept in both small group and big band settings. In addition to her work as a jazz singer, she has also worked in cabaret.

In order to pursue other interests, Fordyce quit singing for 15 years but in the mid-90s returned to the scene. This time around, she demonstrated her seriousness by spending two years as a student of Barry Harris. Fordyce has also studied music theory and harmony with Hill Greene and George Perkins. In addition to performing as a singer, Fordyce is also an accomplished dramatic actress, appearing in many independent films, on television, in commercials, and on stage. She has also hosted a talk show. Fordyce appeared on writer/composer Dawn Crist’s 2002 Philly Heat Suite, a recording made in connection with film and/or stage concept. In the early 00s, Fordyce first own name CD was in production and while she was still seeking a distributor, it was actually bootlegged prior to release. A very able singer, with a relaxed and mature approach to her material, Fordyce’s singing voice is attractive and true.