The Voice and American Idol star Debra Byrd dies

Singer and vocal coach Debra Byrd has died aged 72.

Best known for her work as a vocal coach on The Voice and American Idol, she’d also worked with stars including Jennifer Hudson, Barry Manilow, Bob Dylan and Kelly Clarkson.

She died in Los Angeles on Tuesday. No cause of death was given.

Actress and singer Jennifer Hudson paid tribute on X, sharing a clip of her rehearsing with Byrd, and also singing with Sir Elton John.

Hudson wrote: “Heartbroken over the passing of Debra Byrd, the vocal coach on American Idol. She encouraged and supported us from the very beginning! I am so grateful for everything she taught us. She will be dearly missed, but her legacy lives on through the music of countless artists she influenced during her lifetime.

“Rest in peace, Debra.”

Singer Barry Manilow shared a picture of him on stage with Byrd, writing: “This is one of the saddest days of my life. I just can’t wrap my mind around the fact that Debra is no longer with me.

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“She was one of the most wonderful friends I’ve ever had.

“I will miss you forever, my love.”

Byrd had performed with Manilow for many years, touring the world as part of his featured backup group, Ladyflash.

The group released a song written by Manilow in 1976, titled Street Singin’, which reached number 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

As well as her TV roles for The Voice, and American Idol, Byrd also appeared on Canadian Idol, Military Idol, and another US reality singing show Majors And Minors.

Byrd also collaborated with Bob Dylan on several tours, as well as giving him voice lessons.

Byrd received critical acclaim for her starring role as Da Singer in the national touring company of Broadway’s Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk.

She also sang on film soundtracks including The Lion King and Sister Act II, as well as working on several Oscar productions and the 2019 Super Bowl tribute to Prince, directed by Spike Lee.

Away from her broadcasting success, Byrd was also respected in the academic world, and was chair of the vocal department at the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles.

She also served as an artist in residence at the prestigious Berklee College of Music.​​

Source : Sky News