"My dad told me that he and my mother listened to me singing in the bathtub when I was 2," Toni Wilson recalls with amusement. "They decided that I had a good voice and they were going to help me develop it. And they did."
Over the past decade, Wilson has sung diverse materials in a variety of contexts including jazz combo, top 40, rock 'n' roll, show, bar mitzvahs, and a three-year tenure as vocalist with Mike Crotty's Sunday Morning Jazz Band. She will be featured on the 19-piece orchestra's second album, now in the early stages of production and scheduled to appear later this year. This Friday at the National Press Club, 5:30 to 7:30, accompanied by pianist Tony Matarrese and bassist Dave Wundrow, she will perform songs from the Gershwins' "Embraceable You" to Charlie Parker's "Scrapple from the Apple."
Well-known and highly regarded locally, the Silver Spring native and Blair High School graduate is likely to soon become a household name to jazz enthusiasts. International music broadcaster Willis Conover is taping Wilson for airing worldwide via the Voice of America. He says she is one of only three singers whom he first heard as unknowns and immediately advised to "keep doing what you're doing because you are going to be a star." The others were Harry Belafonte and Barbra Streisand.