Tue | Nov 12, 2019

Regina the 'Belle' of Jamaica Jazz and Blues

Published:Friday | January 14, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Regina Belle

Regina Belle, the award-winning R&B and jazz singer, songwriter and producer, is slated for the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival 2011.

Walter Elmore, president of Turnkey Productions and executive producer of the festival, said he was very happy to have Belle on the line-up and said jazz enthusiasts will be in for a treat when she hits the stage.

"Regina Belle is a very powerful artiste. She is a songwriter, producer and wonderful singer with compelling lyrics that resonate with many people all across the world. She is a welcome addition to the line-up for the festival. She is looking forward to her performance in Jamaica and we are pleased to have her," Elmore said.

Elmore noted that this will be the second staging of Jazz and Blues at the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium and he wanted to ensure that the line-up on all three nights was solid and appealing.

"We have something for everyone at the festival this time around. Maroon 5, Air Supply, Ron Isley and Laura Izubur are just a few of the other names," Elmore said. "Jazz has evolved over the years and is now being mixed with other sounds. We are trying to make sure that all genres are covered and that the audience goes home feeling satisfied."

Regina Belle began singing in church at eight years old, some of her musical influences coming from Donny Hathoway, Nancy Wilson and Billie Holiday. After high school, Belle attended the Manhattan School of Music and Rutger's University, where she became the first female vocalist with the school's jazz ensemble.

She began her professional musical career as the opening act for The Manhattans and later recorded Where Did We Go Wrong with the group. The song caught the attention of Columbia Records, with which Belle signed her first record deal.

In 1987, her debut album All By Myself, which included her first hits Please Believe Me and Show Me The Way, was released and from thereon Regina was dubbed a musical maestro.

In 1993, she recorded the song A Whole New World with Peabo Bryson for the Disney movie Aladdin, the track hitting number one on the Billboard charts and also winning Belle two Grammy awards.

She has since done several albums, including the gospel set Love Forever Shines with Pendulum Records in 2008.

Belle has shared the stage with many standout performers, including Ray Charles, Boney Jones, Paul Taylor, The Rippingtons, Gerald Albright and Stephanie Mills over her illustrious career.