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Fran Hartshorn

I was born to sing!

About Me

Fran Hartshorn was born to sing, and has been doing so most of her life. She is the youngest of 9 children and grew up with music all around her. She has trained in the Bel Canto technique for over 10 years, sings in four languages and is equally comfortable singing Cole Porter and Mozart.

She has performed professionally in many capacities as a solo artist, with her own band as well as with several various music groups including: The Moonlight Serenade Orchestra, a big band that plays weekly to a crowd of swing dancers; Blue Velvet, a retro-Vegas-style lounge act; Opus Melodious, a classical quartet; Full Measure Carolers, a professional Christmas Caroling a capella quartet; Sounds Divine, a vocal jazz ensemble.

Fran has also been seen and heard singing opera on the Lyric Opera San Diego stage for the past 10 years performing many character roles, most recently as Ruth in Gilbert & Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance”.

In 2008 Fran attended the Centrum jazz workshop in Fort Worden, WA, under the artistic direction of John Clayton, and studied under singers such as Kim Nazarian of the jazz vocal ensemble, New York Voices, New York based vocalist Sachal Vasandani, Dee Daniels, and Nancy King. She also recently completed a vocal workshop with vocalist/arranger Darmon Meader also with the New York Voices.

Fran performs jazz regularly with some of San Diego’s top musicians at private events and venues such as Donovan’s Circle of Fifths, Dizzy’s San Diego, Buon Giorno Italian Restaurant, Villa Capri, Hawthorn’s Restaurant, Bondi, The Birch North Park Theatre, The Balboa Theatre and the Park Manor Hotel.

Fran is most passionate about and has always felt her voice best fit the jazz genre and released her first solo jazz vocal cd, Introducing Fran Hartshorn, in August of 2007. The recording contains modern arrangements of standards from the 1930’s and ‘40’s, and has received airplay on San Diego’s local FM jazz radio station, KSDS, 88.3, and positive reviews. A second release of Brazilian and Latin standards is currently in the works.

The San Diego Troubadour review states “Hartshorn’s voice is strong yet malleable. She effortlessly changes pitch and places herself solidly within the framework of her accompanying musicians…”

The North County Times review claims “Fran Hartshorn is a first-rate jazz singer of the old school. Her debut CD shows a vocalist of superb range, great warmth and elegant interpretative taste…local jazzheads are going to be wondering when her next disc will come out.”

She was a featured guest on Art Rocks Radio, and internet radio program, in anticipation of her cd release. That interview is on the Art Rocks Radio archives, and is linked from her website homepage,

She was also a featured guest on the Cynthia Hammond radio show on San Diego’s KSDS, Jazz 88.

Hear sound bytes and find more information on her website at or at

My Jazz Story

Published on: 2018-08-11

I love jazz because the sound always puts a smile on my face. I love to sing jazz, swing and blues, more than any other styles. It just fills me up with so much joy. My first memory of exposure to jazz was the movie "The Cotton Club". That may seem corny, but there was a scene in that movie where a beautiful woman is singing the song "Ill Wind" by Harold Arlen, and that right there is what made me want to become a jazz singer. There was something about it that made a big impression. Perhaps it had to do with the history. The best show I ever attended was Ella Fitzgerald at Radio City Music Hall in 1991. That was my first jazz concert. I feel so lucky to have gotten to hear her live. The first jazz record I bought was "For the Love of Ella Fitzgerald". I listened to it so many times. You can't be sad listening to that lovely lady sing. She had so much class in everything she sang.

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