Lorraine Feather was born in Manhattan. Her parents named her Billie Jane Lee Lorraine after godmother Billie Holiday, her mother Jane (formerly a big band singer), her mother’s ex-roommate Peggy Lee, and the song “Sweet Lorraine.” She is the daughter of the late jazz writer Leonard Feather.
The Feathers moved to L.A. when Lorraine was 12; at 18, after two years as a theater arts major at L.A. City College, she returned to New York to pursue an acting career.
Some touring, off-Broadway work and the Broadway show Jesus Christ Superstar followed, interspersed with countless waitressing jobs up and down Manhattan’s West Side.
Frequently out of work, and discouraged by more than one restaurateur from pursuing a career in the food service industry, Lorraine decided to try singing. She began working with various jazz and Top 40 bands in and around New York. She sang backup for Petula Clark and Grand Funk Railroad, and finally put her own act together, eventually moving back to L.A., where she sang at local jazz clubs. Soon after, she joined producer Richard Perry’s vocal trio Full Swing and recorded three albums with the group.
Lorraine wrote lyrics for most of the songs on these releases, some for classic pieces like Duke Ellington’s “Rockin’ in Rhythm,” the Yellowjackets’ “Ballad of the Whale” and Horace Henderson’s “Big John’s Special” (later heard in the movie Swing Shift). Full Swing was featured on Barry Manilow’s Swing Street album and TV special singing the Feather/Eddie Arkin song “Big Fun.”
When Full Swing dissolved, Lorraine focused mainly on writing. Songs with her lyrics were recorded by artists such as Patti Austin, Phyllis Hyman, Djavan, David Benoit, Kenny Rankin and Diane Schuur. Cleo Laine recorded four tracks of Lorraine’s versions of Ellington instrumentals.
Lorraine has written lyrics for the Disney TV show Dinosaurs (with Ray Colcord) and the PBS show Make Way for Noddy (with Terry Sampson). Her work with Mark Watters includes the MGM animated film Babes in Toyland, the Disney video Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween, Hasbro’s Candy Land movie and their My Little Pony series, as well as the touring stage show My Little Pony—The World’s Biggest Tea Party. Lorraine and Mark also wrote opening title themes for All Dogs Go to Heaven and The Lionhearts, and the piece “Faster, Higher, Stronger,” performed by opera singer Jessye Norman in the Opening Ceremonies of the 1996 Summer Olympics. Lorraine wrote lyrics for the Disney feature films The Jungle Book 2 (with Paul Grabowsky and Joel McNeely) and The Princess Diaries 2 (with Larry Grossman).