Kirsten Gustafson is one of the better jazz singers based in Chicago during the 1990s and early 21st century. She knew early on that she wanted to be a vocalist, but surprisingly, she did not receive any formal singing lessons. Gustafson played French horn while in school and majored in German language and culture at Northern Michigan University. Since the 1970s, she has sung in a wide variety of groups, including rock bands and different styles of jazz units. In 1992 she recorded her debut jazz album, You Taught My Heart to Sing, for Atlantic. She also performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival that year, but no immediate follow-up recording resulted. In 1994 she sang with the Latin group Samba Bamba. She has since recorded a privately issued second CD (2000's Live at Montreux), worked on voice-overs and jingles, toured with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, and performed with arranger Frank Mantooth and violinist Johnny Frigo. Gustafson has also performed regularly in Paris.