B I O G R A P H Y
I want everyone to "do their gift"...to look at me and see their possibilities. If I can do it, so can they.
Nothing compares to the live performances of America’s Songbird Myrna Clayton.
Audiences around the world get up to dance when Myrna sings; mesmerized by her soul-filled, profound musical message for all. Tagged “The Maynard Ferguson of Jazz vocals” by Jazz orchestra conductor in Kazan, Russia, Myrna is America’s Songbird, showcasing her versatility across a broad mix of American music: Jazz, Pop, Soul, Gospel, R&B, Blues, or Country. Myrna’s entertaining and uplifting performances are unforgettable, whether performing for a few or many, she invigorates the audience to dance and sing along, building a connected community in the moment.
Back from Namibia, (Southwest Africa), we are delighted to share that the U.S. State Department has awarded Myrna and her band, "The Myrna Clayton Experience" the opportunity to serve their country by representing American Music Abroad at US Embassies. In May 2018, they performed an EurAsia Tour of 5 Baltic Nations: Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus, Estonia, and Maldova. The Myrna Clayton Experience were selected 1 of 10 bands, out of 400 bands from 40 states across the USA.
America’s Songbird has performed across the world in Germany, France, Great Britain, Nigeria, Russia, and Belarus as well as across the U.S., from New York City to New Orleans. Myrna attracts audiences to hear her sing whether it’s at theater halls, festivals, churches, outdoor amphitheaters, national/international conferences, or conventions. Many of these wonderful, diverse performances have been captured through live recordings. In addition to performing with her own band, Myrna enjoys bring a featured vocalist for Big Bands. She has performed with four (4) Big Bands in Atlanta GA, including Atlanta’s oldest and longest-running Jazz orchestra (the African-American Philharmonic Jazz Orchestra) and Westside Winds 24-piece “Big Band” Jazz Orchestra (the most diverse big band orchestra in the southeast). She has also performed with seven (7) Big Bands across the countries of Russia and Belarus. Her versatility abounds.
Myrna is a quintessential entertainer, singer/songwriter, bandleader, flutist, A&R/vocal performance coach, and studio-session singer. A trained musician and singer since the age of 5 at her father’s church, Myrna has the skills to store an impressive repertoire and showcase her multi-octave instrument. Versatile in her range of American musical genres, Myrna’s jazz singing is remarkably versatile. She is equally at ease in performing Smooth Jazz, Classical Jazz Standards, Swing, Bebop, Fusion, and Contemporary Jazz.
In 2017, Myrna was selected by top award-winning Theatre Presenters and Producers for a coveted “juried” showcase at SouthArts’ 2017 Performing Arts Exchange. She has been the opening act for a wide array of top artists such as Kirk Whalum, Ruben Studdard, Alex Bugnon, Lalah Hathaway, and The Manhattans.
While greatly influenced by Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Nancy Wilson, and Natalie Cole, Myrna proudly acknowledges that her singing roots began in the church. Born in Alabama and raise in Atlanta GA, Myrna's father(minister and educator) and mother(librarian and archivist) instilled a drive within her for excellence and education. Myrna made her singing debut at the age of five in her father’s church. She graduated from Atlanta’s prominent Northside High School of Performing Arts, earned a BS at Alabama A&M University, and went on to achieve an MBA from Atlanta University, building a successful corporate marketing career first before switching to launch her career as a professional American singer.
America’s Songbird Myrna Clayton is beloved for her charming and generous persona, her gifted and authentic performing artistry -- and for being a loving force for humankind. Her willingness to help others develop their artistry comes from Myrna’s belief in paying back a debt of gratitude -- for her gift of song.
Artist-in-Residence/Performance Coach and Workshop Leader
America’s Songbird is also a sought-after teacher and has helped many to develop their artistry. Myrna’s passion, professionalism, and extraordinary talent in the performing arts have recently been recognized by the Georgia Council of the Arts. The Council has given her positioned her on both their prestigious “Georgia Artists” and “Georgia Teaching Artists” rosters. Respected in the area of Artist Development, Myrna offers Master Classes in Vocal Performing Arts, including Gospel workshops, Jazz and Scatting technique workshops, Healthy Voice clinics, and clinics that specialize in music for people with disabilities.
Myrna has coached students ranging from ages 8 to 59, willing to develop artists at any age and ability. She truly enjoys sharing, teaching, and encouraging others to perfect their gifts. Myrna firmly believes that how you treat your gift, demonstrates to the Giver of the gift how much you appreciate your gift.
Advocate for The Musically Underserved
Finally and not surprising, Myrna is not your typical professional performer. Near and dear to Myrna’s heart is her fight for equity opportunities for under-served communities. Myrna started a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Abel 2, Inc. (pronounced "able to" - www.Abel2.org) presents shows for artists and audiences with disabilities so that they too may experience the gift of music and the opportunity to share it. Currently Abel 2 is creating a registry of Artist with Disabilities in Georgia and the Southeast. America's Songbird sings out that Disability Rights are Civil Rights!