Vocal Summit guest artist Paula Cole will perform for Vocal Summit participants. A Grammy winner and seven-time Grammy nominee, Cole has released six solo albums spanning an 18-year career. She has sold approximately three million albums and has performed with icons in many genres of music, from Peter Gabriel to Dolly Parton and many others. Cole’s emotionally deep and thrilling performances are a trademark. Poetic and fiercely touching, intelligent writing makes Cole stand apart.
Her compositions have been covered by Herbie Hancock, Annie Lennox, and Katherine McPhee, to name a few. From a small town in Massachusetts, Cole was raised in a musical family with whom she and her daughter remain close. She is a scholarship alumna from Berklee with a background in jazz, received her first record deal with a jazz label (which she declined), and has collaborated with many jazz artists. Cole teaches and gives clinics in a spirit of giving back to the circle of music and has broken boundaries with a searcher’s spirit. From her top ten hits of the 1990s to her more recent critically acclaimed albums, Paula Cole continues to write, produce, record, and perform heartfelt, meaningful, lasting music that defies categorization.
Vocal Summit guest artist Overboard performs for Vocal Summit program participants. Overboard is an a cappella group featuring original arrangements and an energetic live show that has caught the attention of everyone from American Idol to Glee.
Originally conceived as a street performance group, Overboard has transcended its humble beginnings with the release of six successful albums and its ambitious “Free Track Tuesday” single-of-the-week program. Renowned for creative and intricate arrangements, Overboard has garnered nominations for 11 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards, 18 A Cappella Community Awards, and an appearance at the national Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival. Overboard tours throughout the U.S. and Europe, visiting colleges, performing arts centers, and music festivals to share its tight harmonies, emotional performances, and engaging workshops with singers and enthusiasts of all ages.
Jazz quintet Chroma presents original compositions featuring a modern yet accessible sound with its roots in groove. Chroma is comprised of Berklee students Brian Plautz (saxophone), Alex Conroy (guitar), Joel Hill (piano), Brian Benton (bass), and Matt Raphaelian (drums). Emphasizing melody and emotion, Chroma’s music is featured on Jazz Revelation Records’ 2013 release and is showcased on the quintet's independent release, Pentameter.
As the son of two musicians, Davis Whitfield's early years in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were filled with music. He began playing guitar at age five and moved to Jersey City, New Jersey, at eight, where he began studying piano. While attending high school, Whitfield was accepted by the Jersey City University Visual and Performing Arts Program and served as the principal pianist in its jazz ensemble for four years. In 2008, Whitfield became the assistant director for the Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra, writing arrangements and performing weekly at the Jazz Standard in New York City.
Whitfield received a scholarship from the National Foundation for Advancement of the Arts and attended the 2011 YoungArts Week in Miami, Florida. He also received full scholarships to attend the Berklee Summer Jazz Workshop in 2009–2010 and a presidential scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music for his undergraduate degree.
At 21 years old, Clifton Williams is an accomplished pianist from Washington, D.C. In the spring of 2010, Williams was invited by the U.S Ambassador to Vienna to perform a series of concerts in Vienna, Austria, and Paris, France. He is a graduate (valedictorian) of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts High School and now attends Berklee College of Music on a presidential scholarship. While at Berklee, he has taken full advantage of its prominence, accompanying numerous concerts, vocal classes, and recitals.
Recently, Williams has toured with the Harlem Gospel Choir both nationally and internationally. He is a dual major in music education and contemporary writing and production. He aspires to be a well-rounded musician and an inspiration to all who encounter him.