Ann Hampton Callaway
A highly regarded cabaret mainstay who made her Broadway debut in 1999 with "Swing!," statuesque brunette songstress Ann Hampton Callaway made the most of her three octave range without slipping into vocal theatrics or showiness. Sweetly husky-voiced, with an appreciation for standards that didn't deter her from performing original material, the talented jazz singer had a career marked equally by struggle and amazing good fortune. On her third day in New York, a 21-year-old Callaway landed her first job, making the most of her wedding singer background while in the audience at a piano bar. She stepped in and brought the crowd to its feet when the pianist on duty didn't know a request, the Dan Hill 1970s popular ballad and wedding standby "Sometimes When We Touch." Two years after this, the singer-songwriter-pianist recorded her debut album on Inner City Records, but was left in the lurch when the label folded before releasing the record. The performer stuck to it, and honed her craft in New York when in 1987 she met David Susskind. The famed producer seemed to hold the promise of a career jump-start, but tragically, he died suddenly not long after making this discovery.