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Tiffany Austin

Tiffany Austin had sung on three continents—around her native Los Angeles while attending college, then for a year in London, and eventually for five and a half years in Tokyo—before setting music aside upon being accepted in 2009 at the University of California's Boalt School of Law in Berkeley. Yet the itch left by the music bug never went away, and a year into her law studies, she enrolled on a full scholarship at the nearby Jazzschool (now the California Jazz Conservatory), where her refreshingly original singing style attracted the attention of such innovative young San Francisco Bay Area bandleaders as bassist Marcus Shelby and tenor saxophonist Howard Wiley. Although she did earn a Juris Doctorate in 2012, while her peers were taking the bar exam Austin decided instead to devote her life to her first love.

Regarded as one of the fastest rising jazz singers in Northern California with a tradition¬rooted yet thoroughly modern style, Austin is now stepping further forward with her debut CD, Nothing But Soul,on her own Con Alma Music label. The album is the outgrowth of a November 2013 SFJAZZ “Hotplate” concert for which she reimagined compositions by the great American songwriter Hoagy Carmichael. For the recording, which was produced by saxophonist Howard Wiley, Tiffany was joined by bassist Ron Belcher, drummer Sly Randolph, and Glen Pearson, one of the busiest and perhaps most versatile pianists in the Bay Area.

Nothing But Soul is made up of six Carmichael tunes—“Baltimore Oriole,” 'Stardust,” “Skylark,” “I Get Along Without You Very Well,” “Georgia on My Mind,” and “Sing Me a Swing Song (And Let Me Dance)”—as well as two non¬Carmichael numbers that he recorded as a vocalist: Henry Sullivan and Harry Ruskin’s “I May Be Wrong (But I Think You’re Wonderful)”; Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line”; and “Tete a Tete,” a wordless a cappella duet by Austin and Wiley based on the chord changes of Charlie Parker’s “Confirmation.”

Austin created three of the arrangements heard on Nothing But Soul,basing “Baltimore Oriole” on Lorez Alexandria's version but replacing Latin¬tinged rhythms of the original recording with a soul¬jazz boogaloo and turning “I Walk the Line” into a barrelhouse blues shuffle. Wiley arranged three, giving “Stardust,” usually performed as a ballad, a two¬beat swing lift in tempo; treating “Skylark” to a somewhat off¬kilter rhythmic twist that he characterizes as cross between Pharoah Sanders and Q¬Tip (“She’s sitting on top of the pillow real nice,” the saxophonist says); and reconstructing “Georgia” with a J Dilla¬-like hip¬hop groove and vocal harmonies by both Wiley and Austin.

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"...An incredibly strong debut, placed in a setting that is straight out of the gate live and interesting. ...A strong and clear voice, full of emotion, nuance and heart. " - Jeffrey Wood - Music Producer/Studio Director, Fantasy Studios

"Tiffany breathes new life into every song she sings, creating that delicate balance between a profound respect for tradition and a fearless sense of soul. ... A brilliant star on the rise." - Rebeca Mauleón - Pianist/Composer/Author and SFJAZZ Director of Education

"When I first heard Tiffany Austin sing, I was truly stunned by her grace, sophistication, and talent. Her tiny stature stood out in great contrast to the emotional depth, strength, and power of her voice.

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Primary Instrument

Voice / vocals

Willing to teach

Beginner to advanced


Tiffany Austin teaches private vocal lessons for students of all ages in her Berkeley CA studio, and at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts in Richmond, CA. In addition to private voice lessons, Tiffany teaches music theory/ear training, and is a choir leader and lecturer. Tiffany has taught at series hosted by SFJAZZ, the Healdsburg Jazz Festival; and at venues including, Stern Grove, SFJAZZ, and Bay Area schools and juvenile detention centers.


Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson


Con Alma Music


Nothing But Soul

Con Alma Music



From: Nothing But Soul
By Tiffany Austin

Skylark (sample)

From: Nothing But Soul
By Tiffany Austin

Baltimore Oriole (Sample)

From: Nothing But Soul
By Tiffany Austin


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