Jeannine Rivers
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Jeannine Rivers

Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, United States | SELF

Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, United States | SELF
Band Jazz Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"MATC Music Occupations Program - Success Stories - Jeannine Rivers"

"The year was 2005 and I was 42 years old. My 18 year career in the Banking industry had come to an end. My daughter was 18 years old and leaving for college and I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. Music has always been a pertinent part of my life. I come from a family of musicians that made sure that music stayed alive in my soul and I can’t remember a time when I did not sing! I decided to complete a path in my life that I had put on hold 24 years prior. I enrolled into the music program at MATC in August of 2005. I would soon learn the true meaning of what being a musician really meant. I was born a singer. The texture, sound and range of my voice are something that comes naturally to me. I had very little formal music training growing up as a child; but performing in front of audiences was nothing new to me.
The music program at MATC taught me a brighter side to music! I learned the importance of music theory, composition, piano, and ear training. I went into the music program not fully understanding how important these aspects were to music. Now I see the light! The theory and harmony classes taught by Hal Miller proved to be a complicated learning experience for me. He was able to take the most complex aspects of harmony and theory down to a level of understanding that allowed me to grasp his teachings. As a voice student I came to MATC with years of vocal training. Taking the performance technique classes with Robbi Heighway gave me the opportunity to build my confidence, stage presence, and vocal techniques. I have been able to take the knowledge learned through this class and become a better performer.

The Music Business class taught by Ben Hans proved to be my favorite class and a very valuable experience. I learned the importance of copyright laws, and how to promote my own music business successfully. My favorite part of the class was learning how to make a creative business plan and press kit. I have also learned the importance of networking, social media, and music contracts and how to conduct business with other musicians. Through Ben’s guidance I have become very successful at booking my own gigs as well as booking gigs for other performers.
Since graduating from the music program at MATC I continue to perform at various festivals and music venues in Milwaukee and surrounding areas. I have had the pleasure of having articles written about my musicianship in the Shepherd Express and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In 2010 I was honored by Who’s Who of Black Milwaukee for my music excellence. I am currently working on my Bachelor of Arts in voice at Cardinal Stritch University and I currently work as a voice teacher teaching K4- 12th graders throughout various schools in the city of Milwaukee. God has blessed me with a magnificent gift. I continuously look forward to the musical journey he has prepared for me."

- MATC Music Blog

"Jeannine Rivers’ Jazz Journey"

Jeannine Rivers’ Jazz Journey
By Tea Krulos

Jeannine Rivers fondly recalls some of her earliest performances.
"My mother used to do a lot of baby-sitting growing up and I used to perform for the kids in the basement, singing 'Summertime' and songs by Gladys Knight," she remembers.

"When I was in third grade, I won first place in the school music competition. I sang 'Let's Stay Together' by Al Green. My teacher was like, 'Oh my God!' and she called my mother and said, 'You know your daughter can sing!'" Rivers says, laughing, her hearty laughter a sort of music of its own.

Rivers straightens her bright blue floral and paisley print dress, and then leans forward at a table at the Rochambo coffee shop on Brady Street. She says she began to take music seriously as a student at Custer High School, taking voice lessons and entering competitions. After a brief move to California, and a stint with Milwaukee band Collage, Rivers decided to concentrate her efforts on her daughter and her career in banking. She occasionally performed at weddings and other events. After a while, she felt like it was time for a serious return to music.

She enrolled at MATC for a music occupations degree, and it was there that she found several like-minded musicians, including ?members of her current backup band.

Rivers cites singers Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Carmen McRae as her musical influences, and her powerful voice follows in the footsteps of these jazz greats. Although she mostly performs jazz and R&B, she isn't afraid to adapt the tone if the mood calls for it.

"What I'm doing is adding a little funk or a little R&B to the jazz," she says. "A perfect example is a jazz standard I perform called 'Let's Fall in Love,' which I perform differently than people would expect, with a more R&B feel to it. I also do 'Superstition' by Stevie Wonder, but totally as a jazz song with a little funk to it. You have to figure out who your audience is and reinvent things."

After Rivers' return to the music scene a couple of years ago, she has been "performing nonstop," getting gigs at festivals and Milwaukee establishments like the Jazz Estate and Caroline's Jazz Club.

"It has been quite a journey; I'm enjoying every minute of it. The funniest thing is I'll get a call from my 22-year-old daughter and she'll say, 'Mom, you are having too much fun!' I feel like I'm 22 again," Rivers says, laughing loudly.

"Wherever this takes me, that is where I'll go. This is a journey I'm willing to take, and enjoy taking."

Jeannine Rivers will play a short set at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 22, at Woodland Pattern Book Center as part of a daylong benefit show for WMSE's "Alternating Currents" live music program. She also performs with Jack Grassel at the Carleton Grange Pub on Aug. 23 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

- Shepherd Express- by Tea krulos

"Sound Check-Inside Local Music"

Jeannine does have a big powerful instrument. I can see the Ella Fitzgerald comparisons, but the precision of her diction reminds me of Dinah Washington. -Dave Tianen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


October 2013 CD Debut.



Jeannine Rivers has firmly established herself as one of the most acclaimed jazz vocalist that Milwaukee has ever seen. She stands apart from the crowd and sings jazz like she means it, understands lyrics and knows how to caress a melody and, most of all, swings like mad.

Her powerfully expressive voice and her soulful, uplifting energy have graced the stage at some of Milwaukee’s historic jazz/music venues like Caroline’s Jazz Club, John Hawks Pub, The Jazz Estate, and Paddy’s Pub (just to name a few). Jeannine has also electrified audiences at Jazz at Cutler Park Waukesha and the Third Ward Jazz Festival.

Only playing with the best jazz musicians Milwaukee has to offer, Jeannine adds a unique articulation and personality to everything from Gershwin to Billie Holiday.