'Debra Salem is a singer in the truest sense of the word, whose approach to singing is very much an art form in itself. She doesn't just carelessly trot out a melody, but really gets inside the song and inhabits every little corner of the story, fleshing out the characters of a song and the emotions contained therein.'        

(Mike Wilson review from Celtic Connections 2009)

 

In 2003 Debra moved from Belfast to Perth and so began her 'Scotland Years'

which have seen her develop her style, drawing from both the folk and jazz

genres  and embracing 'anything else that works'.  In Belfast she sang 

regularly at the Sunshine Folk Club, and as jazz singer she had gigs at The

Guinness Spot in The Belfast Festival, live radio and TV appearances.

 

In jazz she has trained with some of the best such as Cleo Laine, Mark

Murphy, Sheila Jordan, Fionna Duncan and Leanne Carol, and her early jazz

career saw her working with composer Gavin Bryars in a bass/vocal duo.


Since moving to Scotland, Debra has sung with Dougie MacLean on his 'Rural

Image' project, and has sung backing vocals with Singer/Songwriter Fraser

Anderson. In 2008 she won a Danny Award at Celtic Connections.


Debra released her EP 'About Time' in 2009 to coincide with a short tour of

Scotland with Angus Lyon on accordion and Kenny Irons on bass. Since then

she had been working with Phil Alexander (accordion), Kevin MacKenzie

(guitar) and Paul Harrison (piano) on duo and trio gigs.

 

As a songwriter, Debra has been including more and more of her original

work into her set, as well as settings of two poems by William Soutar.