Born: September 12, 1985 Primary Instrument: Piano
Born in 1985, Champian grew up in Norman Oklahoma with her parents, Stephen and Susan. Influenced at an early age by her father Stephen, a world reknowned Jazz trumpeter, Champian fell in love with Jazz. Surrounded by her father's musician friends, which included Clark Terry and Major Holley, Champian learned the language of the music firsthand. She began to study piano with her grandmother at age 5. As singing became more and more important, Champian began to play Jazz piano to accompany herself at home.
Champian's family moved to LeMars Iowa in 1994; where Stephen Fulton became the director of the Clark Terry Institute for Jazz Studies. It was here that Champian formed her first band. The members of the Little Jazz Quintet were all under the age of 10, except for the trumpeter - the elder of the group - who was 12 years old. The Little Jazz Quintet performed at many events in LeMars, including Clark Terry's 75th Birthday party.
After a short move to New York, Champian and her family returned to Norman Oklahoma in 1998. Champian's full attention turned to Jazz at this time, and by 1999 Champian was performing with her new band all around the region. 1999 included appearances at the Kemah Boardwalk Jazz Festival, the Corpus Christi Jazz Festival, and the Jazz in June Festival held in Norman Oklahoma.
2001 marked the beginning of Champian's stay at Maker's Cigar & Piano Bar in OKC. Maker's, and its owner Clinton Greehaw, were supportive of Champian while she grew musically as a professional performer. Makers made a wonderful musical home for Champian during these formative years. The Champian Fulton Trio would continue to perform at Maker's nearly every weekend through 2003, when Champian graduated from Norman North High School as valedictorian and made her move to NYC to attend SUNY Purchase Music Conservatory.
In New York City since 2003, Champian has been able to become a part of the Jazz scene. Besides leading her own gigs Champian has been able to play with some world-class musicians such as Louis Hayes, Jimmy Cobb, Frank Wess, and Lou Donaldson. She has been a mainstay at Birdland, the Jazz Corner of the World, and you can catch her at a number of other venues in Manhattan.
A perpetual student of Jazz piano and Jazz singing, Champian mentions Erroll Garner, Bud Powell, Sonny Clark, Count Basie, Dinah Washington, and Sarah Vaughn as some of her main influences. It is also a well kept secret, but Champian was an award winning Jazz soloist on her trumpet in high school with state honors.
Champian was named as a finalist in the Kathleen B. Turner Jazz Piano Competition at the University of West Florida in spring 2006. That same year she graduated with honors from SUNY Purchase. Champian’s debut album “Champian” was released in 2007 and the new trio CD, “Sometimes I’m Happy” was released in September of 2008. She lives in New York City and continues to play the music she loves with her current trio featuring Neal Miner (bass) and Fukushi Tainaka (drums).
Awards:American Music Harvest Award in 2009 for Best Jazz Vocalist and Pianist of the Year
...relentlessly swinging bebop-oriented conception and chops. - David Orthmann, AAJ
...an assured vocalist with a galvanizing presence. - The New Yorker
...She's a true show-stopper. Time Out NY
...she's an authentic jazz artist... Zan Stewart, Newark Star Ledger
...Fulton is sassy and sexy... All About Jazz
“It is always suprising to come upon a young singer who can handle both the musical and emotional demands of the Great American Songbook. 22-year-old Champian Fulton bears an understanding of this matrial beyond her years; on her debut album, Champian (Such Sweet Thunder), Fulton evokes the sound and presence of the best of the Swing Era’s big band vocalists.” Suzanne Lorge, All About Jazz NY
This may be the most auspicious debut of a female band singer since the 19-year-old Peggy Lee etched a few sides with Benny Goodman in 1941. - Jay Harvey, Indianapolis Star
...sunny, lovely, expressive and soulful singing voice and formidable, bebop-based piano chops... Hajime Sato Eastwind Imports
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