Denise Kirkland
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Denise Kirkland

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | SELF

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | SELF
Band Jazz Blues

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Denise Kirkland's debut CD, "Progressive Groove" is now in pre-production and the release will be announced very soon!

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Bio

Denise Kirkland Bio

Her sound is new, but caresses like a familiar memory. It is the straight-ahead jazz instrument of DENISE KIRKLAND whose voice is burnished wood that has been polished smooth by time, made as deep and smoky as a molten volcano. It is lustrous, smoldering and ample. Denise brings new life to the jazz genre, belting out jazz classics with her signature and sometimes surprising twists of phrasing. Hers is an earned gift that should only be entrusted to a woman fully grown who has experienced and understands life in all its prismatic permutations.

Urban born, suburban reared and small town southern seasoned Kirkland was born in Washington, DC, moved to Glen Burnie, MD at 2 weeks old: she has traveled ever since. She yo-yoed back and forth between her mother & father in Severna Park and her grandparents in Florence SC until graduating from high school. Both sets of parents however, instilled and nurtured her desire to be an entertainer enrolling her in theater and dance classes in both places. They each shied away from voice lessons: Kirkland couldn’t carry a note during that time.

Then, she appeared in a local production of Sweet Charity as Helene and proceeded to electrify the audience with her rendition of “There’s Got to Be Something Better than This”. It was here she found her voice. Her directors discovered that she could indeed sing; in her own special set of keys (a sultry octave lower than the written score). She has been Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, A Wa-Wa girl in Little Shop of Horrors and even The Fairy Godmother in Cinderella as well as countless cameos that showcased her amazingly versatile talent.

Her acting took on a whole new level when she took the challenge to impersonate the saucy, racy, double entendre Queen, Jackie “Moms” Mabley at a retirement dinner. Not only did Kirkland pull it off, she was hired on the spot to perform the character at the SC Education Association at the Mark in Columbia, SC. She also reprised the role at the UNCF Annual Fundraiser in Florence, SC. More recently she's performed in Atlanta at The Red Shoe, for the SweetRiver Music Series and for The Community Council of Metro Atlanta in the 2009 fundraiser concert “Soulful Interludes”.

It wasn’t until jazz aficionado Leola Dewitt, pianist Jean Brantley and guitarist Otis Davis pointed out that her real genre was jazz. Dewitt took her to see Skip Pearson and arranged for her to sing “’Round Midnight”. He said she reminded him of Sarah Vaughn {and others} rolled into one. Her first professional singing gig was in front of a thousand people at an outdoor concert in Florence, SC. She continued to sing for country clubs, wedding receptions and several nightclubs on Myrtle Beach.

Kirkland took a 20 year hiatus from the music biz and swears she couldn’t sing at all during that time. Now she’s back; pulling from all her experiences over the years and blending them with gutsy vocals that remind us that progressive, blue jazz is alive and well in the world.

Calling Atlanta home for a while since 2006, she has wowed audiences at The Red Shoe, Zanza, Hadleys, Feels Like Home, Studio 7, the Crowe’s Nest, Mabel’s in Macon and at open mics most notably at Star, Twains and Churchill Ground’s Whisper Room. Kirkland appeared at Jus’ Loafin’ for 5 weeks with Otis Davis and Home Cookin’. She also made an appearance at the Paper Mill Grill in Marietta, GA and Queen of Sheba’s Ethiopian Restaurant. She has created buzz for two years in a row at the Renaissance Hotel for both their 2009& 2010 Mother’s Day Brunch, the Paradise Grill in Decatur, C&J’s Sports Bar, Copeland’s of Buckhead and has been invited as a guest vocalist at several house concerts. In 2007, she opened for Bobbye “Doll”Johnson at the Georgia Freight Depot. She's performed at Gwendolyn’s in Raleigh, NC, Carter’s Blues Festival in North Carolina and a host of private functions. She currently can be seen weekly performing at Chazz Southern Cooking (East Atlanta Village) every Wednesday.


Returning to musical theatre Kirkland has been cast as “Jackie "Moms” Mabley along with a stellar ensemble cast portraying a cadre of legendary jazz & blues entertainers in the original Vincent Kee musical (Broadway Bound Productions), “Sonny’s Place”. She was last seen in Valerie Hines original musical, “Baby, You Put the Jingle In my Bell” here in Atlanta.
Kirkland and her band are available for concerts, restaurants, weddings, birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, private functions, house concerts, corporate events, independent living facilities, country club and night club engagements. She is also amenable to opening for other artists.

Contact Info
Home Office 404.343.4421
Cell: 267.242.8337
Website: www.denisekirkland.com