About

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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. 

Experience

2011

  • "American Idol" Season 10

  • UCLA – Guest Speaker

  • Berklee College of Music – “How To Audition” clinic

  • "Pop Star To Opera Star" Season 2 – ITV Network in UK

  • Star School Live! Tour (dates tba)
    *For more information about Byrd’s Star School Live! master class series, please click here.

2010

  • Star School Live! Cleveland

  • Star School Live! Chicago

  • Star School Live! Los Angeles

  • "American Idol" Season 10 Audition Tour

  • "Operation: Rising Star" – Pentagon Channel for U.S. Army

  • U.S. Army Band Singers – Private Vocal Instruction

  • Stepp Stewart's "Show 'n Tell" – Musical

  • "American Idol" Season 9

  • "If I Can Dream" – Internet TV Show

  • "Pop Star To Opera Star" Season 1 – ITV Network in UK

  • Barry Manilow at Paris in Las Vegas

  • Musician's Institute – Master Class in Los Angeles

2009

  • Debra Byrd joins an All Star Cast of Celebrity Judges at Operation Rising Star show – November 16th, 2009

  • Debra Byrd, Vocal Coach for “American Idol,” Offers Exclusive Master Voice Class in Washington, D.C. – Saturday, November 21st

  • Brush up vocal rehearsals for Barry Manilow's band and singers at the Las Vegas Hilton

  • Coast Music Grand Opening Event! in Hermosa Beach, CA – September 12 and 13

  • Delta Fair and Music Festival in Memphis, TN – September 5 and 6

  • A Capitol Fourth Celebration on PBS

  • American Idol Audition Tour, Season 9

  • American Idol, Season 8

  • Private vocal and image development classes

  • Launch on-line vocal classes

  • Welcome To STAR SCHOOL seminars nationwide

  • Vocal Supervisor for the national tour of Ain't Misbehavin'? (starring Ruben Studdard)

  • Vocal Supervisor for the 30th anniversary production of Ain't Misbehavin'? at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles

  • The NAMM Show on behalf of Alfred Publishing and the American Idol songbooks

2008

  • American Idol, Season 7

  • Canadian Idol, Season 7

  • Launch new pitch pipe, Pocket Tones by Byrd

  • On-line store launched

  • Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul (page 151)

  • Welcome To STAR SCHOOL seminars nationwide

2007

  • Performance and Audition Training

  • American Idol, Season 6

  • Justin Timberlake, My Grammy Moment Contest, 49th Annual Grammy Awards

  • Nevada Ballet Honors Paula Abdul

  • DVD Launch - VOCAL HELP NOW! Vocal Performance & Audition Training

  • Canadian Idol, Season 6

  • Welcome to STAR SCHOOL seminars

  • Welcome to STAR SCHOOL seminars – 6 weeks

  • Military Idol

  • High School Musical – The Concert Tour

  • The NAMM Show

2006

  • American Idol, Season 5

  • Canadian Idol, Season 5

2005

  • American Idol, Season 4

  • Canadian Idol, Season 3

  • Military Idol

  • Palm Springs Christmas Benefit with Barry Manilow. Arranging and rehearsing his singers and a 30 voice choir

  • Held rehearsals for the upcoming Barry Manilow PBS Special from Las Vegas

  • Award Presenter at the 10th Annual Multicultural Prism Awards Gala

Press

2013

  • 'Voice' Coach Debra Byrd Named Vocal Chair at Musicians Institute 

  • Billboard.com

2011   

  • Top 8 American Idol Coaches

  • EW.Com

2009

  • ON THE GO [UX]

  • Operation Rising Star, Idol for the Military

 

2008

2007

 

2006

  • VENICE MAGAZINE

  • LOS ANGELES TIMES

  • POPSTAR MAGAZINE

2005