Offbeat Magazine cover story
The daughter of two opera singers, Debbie Davis never had a chance. She was born a singer. Making her first professional singing appearance at the age of two, her childhood was peppered with performances in opera and musical theater. As a young adult she was on track for a career as an actress, singer and dancer when a knee injury diverted her energies toward singing exclusively. She became well known in her native New Jersey as a rock and roll singer in several bands, dabbling in jazz standards when opportunity allowed.
Moving to New Orleans in 1997, Debbie began making a name for herself in the local music community singing jazz and all manner of musical styles. She's gone on to record with people like John Boutte, Soul Asylum, The Misfits, New Orleans Nightcrawlers, Dukes of Dixieland, Leigh "Lil Queenie" Harris, Paul Sanchez (Cowboy Mouth), Kevin Clark, Tom McDermott, 3 Manisha, All That, Tin Men, Lil Band of Gold (CC Adcock), Marc Stone, Mike West, Harry Shearer, and Alex McMurray and was the jingle singer for the 2003 Zatarains ad campaign produced by David Torkanowsky. In 1999 she joined the world renowned vocal group,The Pfister Sisters, and has spent the last 14 years performing locally and internationally with the group.
In 2009, Debbie began work with one of the most ambitious and critically acclaimed local projects to date, Nine Lives- the Musical,singing several character roles and assisting in the vocal arrangements, not only for the 39 song recording but for the numerous subsequent live productions. She played herself in seasons 1, 3 and 4 of the critically acclaimed HBO series, TREME, and sang on the Grammy nominated soundtrack. She was nominated for Best Female Vocalist of 2010 by Offbeat Magazine along with Susan Cowsill and "the Soul Queen of New Orleans", Irma Thomas. In January 2012, Debbie and her ukulele traveled to Jazz at Lincoln Center for a one night only performance with friend and Tony Award winner, Michael Cerveris.
Debbie's first solo recording, It's Not the Years, It's the Miles, was released in March 2012 and features a who's who of New Orleans finest players (Jon Cleary, Bobby Lounge, Tom McDermott, Todd Duke, Evan Christopher, Aurora Nealand, Mark Bingham, Paul Sanchez, Matt Rhody and more) and songs spanning from Irving Berlin to Amy Winehouse as well as the talents of local songsmiths, Alex McMurray and Paul Sanchez and arrangements by Matt Perrine. (REVIEWS)
In 2014 Debbie Davis and the Mesmerizers released Linger Til Dawn, the last full record to be recorded and mixed at the legendary Piety Street Studio in New Orleans. The four piece ensemble with Alex McMurray on guitar, Josh Paxton on piano and Matt Perrine on sousaphone recorded 13 songs in a single afternoon to popular and critical praise. "Debbie Davis stands out in the crowd of singers like a bird-of-paradise in a room full of canaries".
Later that year, Debbie and her husband, Matt Perrine, released "Oh Crap, It's Christmas!" a holiday album featuring a who's-who of New Orleans musicians and 17 songs ranging from the sacred to the secular, the silly to the sincere. It set sales records at Louisiana Music Factory and became a perennial favorite among critics and fans alike.
In 2017, Debbie and long-time collaborator, Josh Paxton, recorded and released a duo CD at the Performing Arts Center of the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint. Vices and Virtues was recorded live and in front of an audience with no over-dubs and no second takes and features music from composers as diverse as Fats Waller, Stevie Wonder, Amy Winehouse and Tom Lehrer. (Offbeat Magazine review)
Debbie is New Orleans' premier female ukulelist and is proud to endorse Southcoast Ukes. She is also married to tubist, bassist, composer and arranger, Matt Perrine. They live in the Gentilly neighborhood of New Orleans with their sons, Ben and Henry and their dogs, Cosimo and Daisy Mae.
Some highlights of more than 4,000 live performances include:
- Jazz at Lincoln Center with Michael Cerveris (NYC)
- Jazz Ascona (Ascona, CH)
- BarJeder Vernunft (Berlin, D)
- New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
- French Quarter Festival
- HBO's TREME; seasons 1,3 and 4
- Abbaye Au Dames (Saintes, FR)
- Waterfest (Osh Kosh WI)
- Gretna Heritage Festival
- Voodoo Music Experience
- Chaz Fest
- Festival Internationale
- Michael Arnone's Crawfish Festival (Augusta NJ)
- Rampage on the River (Cedar Rapids, NY)
- HBO's Treme gala benefit
- HBO's Band of Brothers Film Premier
- Top Chef, celebrity panelist, season 5