Debra Byrd tops an elite list of vocal coaches in the music, television and film industries. Oprah Winfrey named Byrd "America's Top Coach For Best Vocal Advice." Byrd's 'Star School' includes Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Carly Rae Jepsen, Jennifer Hudson, Margaret Cho, Chaz Bono, Blush and hundreds of singers from The Voice, American Idol, Canadian Idol, The Next, the Grammy Awards, High School Musical, Majors & Minors, Operation Rising Star and The Winner Is. She has coached, judged and mentored on ABC, NBC, FOX, MTV, CW, Disney, The Hub Network, ITV, CTV and the Pentagon Channel.
Currently Byrd is a vocal coach on NBC's Emmy Award winning show, "The Voice" and is Chair of the Vocal Department at Musicians Institute, college of contemporary music in Los Angeles.
Byrd is an entertainment renaissance woman, a road warrior performing around the world with artists from Kelly Clarkson, The Eurythmics, UB40, and Lyle Lovett to Roberta Flack, Patti Austin and Bob Geldof. She was a recording artist on RSO/Polydor Records, also recorded and performed duets with Bob Dylan and Barry Manilow, and is vocal arranger on Manilow's Emmy Award winning DVD, Music & Passion.
As an actress, she received outstanding reviews for her leading role as Da Singer in the national touring company of Broadway's Bring In 'Da Noise, Bring In 'Da Funk and was nominated for a 2001 Black Theatre Alliance Award for Could It Be Magic. Byrd's Broadway credits include The Human Comedy, Barry Manilow on Broadway, Haarlem Nocturne and Ain't Misbehavin', both Broadway and the national tour. She has worked in movies for Paramount, Disney, NBC Universal Studios, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., and Miramax. Byrd can be heard on the film soundtracks of the Lion King 2 1/2 and Sister Act II, among many others. She was vocal coach for the 2010 Grammy nominated national tour of Ain't Misbehavin,' as well as the special 30th anniversary production in Los Angeles, and for Holland America Cruise Lines.
In addition to performing, Byrd has produced a successful product line that incorporates her Star School Live! vocal seminars, her instructional DVD Welcome to Star School and her digital pitch pipe Pocket Tones by Byrd. She is currently developing an exclusive line of herbal products that will protect, soothe and enhance the voice.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Byrd studied opera and piano from age 12 and sings in four languages. As a teenager, she co-founded and sang in church choirs, performed in a band and narrated children's concerts for the Cleveland Orchestra. She studied at Kent State University, Karamu Theater and Dobama Theaters and is an Artist in Residence at the renowned Berklee College of Music.