Gillian Margot is the rarest sort of singer – the kind that makes people sit up and listen. She has an exquisite voice, a disarmingly wide range and a style that eschews jazz singer clichés in favor of an original, interpretive delivery grounded in a song’s lyrical and emotional content.
A native of Toronto, Canada, Margot studied under a generation of jazz legends including Oscar Peterson, Freddy Cole, Carol Welsman, and Norman Simmons before expanding her talents beyond borders through collaborations with artists in the United States, Australia, and Asia, where she’s earned devoted followings.
Her voice can be heard in commercials and in film and television programs, including Jane Goodall’s Wild Chimpanzees (IMAX 2002), New Year (Doublesee 2010), North (Novel 2012), and Lethal Weapon (FOX 2016), from which it is clear that Ms. Margot feels equally at home in the many musical worlds of jazz, R&B, chamber, and pop. She offers a stage presence and confidence honed through years of performing major venues on several continents with top-tier talent, including rock icon Sting, jazz trumpeters Chris Botti and Jeremy Pelt, pianist Robert Glasper, famed soprano Kathleen Battle, conductors Wayne Marshall (London Philharmonic) and Jukka-Pekka Saraste (Toronto Symphony Orchestra).
In 2010, Gillian Margot independently released A Pink-Filled Sky with her chamber trio. An acoustic collaboration of voice, piano and double bass, the album features a spectrum of original contemporary jazz which reveals hints of Margot’s classical training and improvisational tendencies. Captured live in concert, A Pink-Filled Sky showcases the trio’s penchant for in-the-moment arranging of standard jazz repertoire, their element of surprise and healthy irreverence echoed in the delighted applause of the live audience.
Ms. Margot’s album Black Butterfly (Hipnotic 2016) speaks to the singer’s passion for diversity, and is an artfully crafted set that showcases her multifaceted musicality. Involving some of the most in-demand musicians on the New York scene, the album blends Great American Songbook standards, intriguing jazz originals, gutbucket blues, contemporary hip-hop flavors and uniquely personal covers of songs by Curtis Mayfield, Joni Mitchell, Nina Simone, and even 80’s English rockers Simply Red. Black Butterfly is Ms. Margot’s first direct overture to the U.S. and international markets and her first recording on HiPNOTIC Records.
Her most recent collaboration is with multiple GRAMMY®-nominated pianist Geoffrey Keezer on his latest album, On My Way to You (MarKeez Records 2018). With Margot featured on five of ten tracks, Ted Panken writes that the vocalist and pianist “achieve an uncanny mind-meld on the co-composed ‘You Stay With Me’ — Margot projects her magnificent contralto to equally compelling effect both when conveying her tender, sensuous lyric and then improvising in dialogue with the piano during the latter section. They also co-wrote the percolating ‘Guanajuato’ (named for the Central Mexican city where they performed a duo concert), on which the protagonists engage in a protracted, intuitive musical conversation.”
Never one to rest on her laurels, Gillian Margot is currently producing, writing, and recording new music for her upcoming album Power Flower which is due for release in 2019.
“Margot’s smoky contralto, solid pitch and warm delivery might remind some listeners of Dianne Reeves and the multi-tracked background voices are a creative plus.” – New York City Jazz Record
Margot projects her magnificent contralto to equally compelling effect both when conveying her tender, sensuous lyric and then improvising in dialogue with the piano.” – Ted Panken (Music Journalist)
“Gillian has a love for song and the storytelling aspect of musical performance. The tone and sincerity of her voice, her remarkable presence and knowledge, use of phrasing, and ability to communicate with an audience make her relatable and personable. She has a penchant for hard work and a tendency to win over an audience.” – Jeremy Pelt (Trumpeter/ Recording Artist/ Producer)
“…a stunning debut by a jazz vocalist who sounds like she has chops that must have been related to a civil rights era jazz/soul singer…Properly supported by a crew that’s the bubbling under A-Team of New York jazz, this after hours flavored vocal set is a real charmer. Margot knows her stuff and how to roll it out in fine style.” – Midwest Jazz Record
“With a full, oaky voice, and a keen perception of harmony, it is no wonder that Gillian Margot stands out from today’s top vocalists. The ability to beautifully depict a songs melody with a vast alto range is what allows her to lead a band as a dynamic vocalist, but also function as an in-demand sideman.” – Marcus Strickland (Saxophonist/ Recording Artist)
“Gillian Margot has made a fantastic, genre-bending new album featuring some of jazz’s hottest current players. The music spans the spectrum from Jazz to R&B and Gillian nails all of it. ….she’s got something to say, not just another cookie-cutter female jazz singer.”– Geoffrey Keezer (GRAMMY®-nominated Pianist/ Arranger/ Producer)
[A Pink-Filled Sky] reveals Margot as a remarkable singer with a rich, mature voice… Duke Ellington’s “Mood Indigo” is simply astonishing and Margot was born to sing Eden Ahbez’s “Nature Boy.” – Mike Ruta, Entertainment Editor, Metroland Media Group
“…First and foremost [Black Butterfly] is jazz of the highest caliber, the kind that has garnered her a following in her hometown of Toronto and residencies in places like Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. There’s no mistaking it in Margot’s delivery: soulful and robust–a voice you might say was built like a brick house–but also sensuous, carefully sculpted to the contours of each song; her precise articulation; her rhythms, simultaneously poised and playful.” – Michael J. West (Music Journalist)
“…a rich, clear and earthy voice that was both rhythmic and free…strong in voice yet vulnerable in spirit, conversant and still melodic as she delivered the lyrics of resignation…This lady needs to be heard…” – L.A. Jazz Weekly