Vocalist and Vocal Jazz Educator / Clinician Lori Williams is a native Washingtonian; and is the leader of her own Washington, DC-based entertainment group LoriJazz®. She graduated from Hampton University where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree. Lori is the proud mother of two talented and gifted children, Lauren Vanessa Highsmith and Yusef Khalil Chisholm. Lori was the former Director of Programs / National Jazz Choir Director for the Best Friends Foundation. She has taught music in Washington, DC Public Schools for over 21 years. Currently, Lori is the Director of Vocal Music at Woodrow Wilson High School. She has an extensive background in the performing arts. She has directed several choirs including the National Diamond Girls Jazz Choir (performing for the Inauguration Ceremony for President George Bush); the Sagamihara Christian Fellowship Gospel Choir in Sagamihara, Japan; the Fort Foote Baptist Church Gospel Choir in Fort Washington, Maryland; Carmody Hills Baptist Church Children's Choir in Capitol Heights, Maryland; and the Bethlehem Baptist Church Gospel Choir in Washington, DC.
Lori has been blessed to share the stage as lead or background vocalist with many internationally-known artists such as Oleta Adams, Yolanda Adams, David Archuleta, Regina Belle, Eric Benet, Keter Betts, The Blackbyrds, Norman Brown, Tom Browne, Peabo Bryson, Jerry Butler, Terri Lyne Carrington, T.C. Carson, Gene Chandler, Stanley Clarke, Howard Curtis, Jon Davis, Will Downing, George Duke, David Dyson, James Genus, Savion Glover, Slide Hampton, Winard Harper, Christian Havel, Walter Hawkins, Nathan Heathman, Howard Hewitt, William Hubbard, Al Johnson (The Unifics), Allyn Johnson, Stanley Jordan, Kindred The Family Soul, Ben E. King, Debbie Kirkland, Ledisi, Avon Lucas, Marion Meadows, Maysa, Julia Nixon, Phil Perry, The Poysdorf All-Stars, Lloyd Price, Nolan Quinn Dreaming Quartet, Ellie Saitoh and The Love Tambourines, The Saltman Knowles Group, Sylver Logan Sharp (Chic), The Sherelles, Gary Taylor, Tony Terry, Bobby Vee and The Vees, Andre Ward, Kim Waters, Allyson Williams, Vesta Williams, Angela Winbush, and Sherry Winston. She also has done extensive studio recording, commercial work, voice-overs, radio hosting and touring in the US, Europe and Japan and has collaborated with many of these artists.
Lori Williams has performed in numerous musical theatre presentations. The list includes "Meet Me at the Cafe" and "The Scenic Route" at the Joy of Motion Dance Center / Jack Guidone Theatre in Washington, DC. She co-starred in "Isn’t It Romantic" (written and directed by David Hunter Koch) with Jimi Ray Malary at MetroStage Theatre in Alexandria, VA. Additionally, Lori played the role of Mary in "Bending Towards the Light – A Jazz Nativity" at Patriot's Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton, New Jersey. Lori also showcased her singing, acting and dancing ability in director Thomas Jones' productions of "The All Night Strut", "Cool Papa’s Party" (choreographed by Maurice Hines, nominated for Outstanding Ensemble - Helen Hayes Award), "Ladies Swing The Blues: A Jazz Fable", "Bessie's Blues" and "Shake Loose at MetroStage. Lori was nominated for a 2014 Helen Hayes Award as an Outstanding Lead Actress in a Resident Musical for her role as Ella Fitzgerald in "Ladies Swing the Blues: A Jazz Fable".
Lori was recognized as an outstanding Music Teacher in the October 2000 issue of Teaching Music magazine. She was selected to have her biography appear in the 2005 Premier Edition of Great Women of the 21st Century for her professional dedication and commitment to communities. She was also recognized as a 2005-2006 National Honor Roll's Outstanding American Teacher. She was the recipient of the 2007 Superintendent's Arts Teacher of the Year Award. Lori was honored at the Mayor's Arts Awards, held at the John F. Kennedy Center. This award was given on behalf of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, DC Public Schools, and the DC Arts. Additionally, Lori was recognized as the 2010 Vincent E. Reed Teacher of the Year. Her affiliations include Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (Prince Georges County Alumnae Chapter, Maryland), Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity (Hampton University), BMI (songwriter/composer), The Washington, D.C. Chapter of The Recording Academy, Washington Area Music Association, Songwriters Association of Washington, The National Association for Female Executives, Kappa Tau Alpha and DC Music Educators Association.
Lori Williams has independently released three CDs on Pacific Coast Jazz. Her debut CD ~ Healing Within ~ was released in 2010. This project is dedicated to the memory of her Mother - Myrtle W. Williams. She released her sophomore CD ~ Eclipse of the Soul ~ in 2012. Her third CD ~ Behind the Smiles ~ was released on October 7, 2016.