Jackie Richardson, one of Canada’s foremost singers of gospel, blues and jazz, was born near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and moved to Toronto with her family, while still at a young age.
She grew up in Richmond Hill which she still considers her hometown. Jackie began singing in her church choir at seven and her successful musical career started at the age of sixteen when she joined a local quartet called “The Tiaras” . She later performed at the Canadian Forces bases across Canada, the South Pacific and the Far East.
A veteran of the stage and the small and large screens, Jackie Richardson forged a very successful acting career with roles in “No! No! Nanette Anything Goes”; “Hello Dolly!”; and “Raisin in the Sun”. She became well known for her part in “Ain’t Misbehaving” , which earned her a Dora Award. With her glorious voice, it’s not surprising that she is in demand. Over the years, she has performed and/or recorded with, among others, Rita Chiarelli, Morgan Davis, Anne Murray, Alannah Myles, Joe Sealy, Ken Whiteley, Kingsley Etienne, Jeff Jones and Michelle Wright. Richardson’s own CD, A Woman’s View: Child Eyes, which is mainly contemporary jazz, is currently available in music stores.
In September of 1992, she helped to promote the James Robinson Johnston Chair in Black Canadian Studies, a worthwhile cause that benefits African Canadians in the field of higher education, history, culture and research.
A dazzling performer, Richardson has a powerful supple voice, and a warm, vibrant stage presence. The music of Jackie Richardson is an experience of soul, a profoundly personal synthesis of the remarkable gospel, blues and jazz women she has embodied on stage and screen. It is also a portrait of self – not the showcase of a showboat but a demonstration of songmanship in the service of spirit.
2004 Dora Mavor Moore Winner for Best Female Principal Role in a Musical for Cookin’ at the Cookery: The Music & Times of Alberta Hunter, Ms. Richardson has received Gemini, Dora, Juno, Jessie, Betty, Toronto Blues Society and NAACP Award Nominations.