This week on Art of the Song, we visit with Rondi Charleston, a Juilliard-educated jazz vocalist and songwriter (in collaboration with Lynne Arriale) with four albums to her credit. She is also an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning television journalist and investigative reporter for Primetime.
Charleston grew up in Chicago‘s Hyde Park neighborhood, the only daughter of an English professor father and voice teacher/singer mother. Her father, a jazz enthusiast, played jazz piano, and took her to a performance by Duke Ellington, where she met the man. After performing as a guest artist with the University of Chicago‘s theatre program, she enrolled at Juilliard as a theatre major, but soon transferred to music. She also studied journalism at New York University, desiring to work with Charles Kuralt. While in school, she discovered a Metropolitan Transit Authority cover-up that claimed a train crash was caused by an engineer high on illegal drugs, when no illegal drugs were in his system, according to the coroner’s report. ABC News hired her when she broke the story, and she worked with Diane Sawyer for the next five years. She then worked at NBC News for a year before taking time off to be a mother.
During this time, she studied jazz singing with Peter Eldridge of New York Voices, and began performing in Greenwich Village.
Her third album, In My Life, had a special promotion with Virgin Megastore, which sold it with an exclusive live DVD.
She currently lives in Westport, Connecticut.
- Love Letters (LML Music, 2001)
- Love Is the Thing (LML Music, 2004)
- In My Life (Emmamuse Productions, 2007)
- Who Knows Where the Time Goes (Motéma Music, 2011)