Born in Oklahoma, Champian Fulton has become a world class Jazz pianist and vocalist with international acclaim. She grew up with music in the home; her mother and father (Jazz trumpeter and educator Stephen Fulton) recognized her fascination with music at an early age. The presence of her father’s musician friends, including Clark Terry and Major Holley, inspired her focus on Jazz. Her first paid musical engagement was with her own band at Clark Terry’s 75th Birthday Party; she was ten years old. Since then, her piano and voice skills have been recognized by peers and critics as distinctive and sophisticated. This young woman from Oklahoma captivates audiences in New York’s finest Jazz rooms and in concert halls around the world.
A mainstay on the vibrant New York Jazz scene, she has performed with musical royalty such as Lou Donaldson, Frank Wess, Eric Alexander, Buster Williams and Louis Hayes. From New York to Barcelona, Champian’s swinging style and charismatic performances have made her a guardian of the legacy of Jazz. Champian’s heroes include Bud Powell, Red Garland, Erroll Garner, Count Basie, Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington.
Jazz education is a concern near and dear to Champian’s heart, having been inspired by Clark Terry’s tireless advocacy for the perpetuation of the craft. Clark coached her on rehearsal techniques, performance etiquette, private teaching and the business of the Jazz. Champian strives to impart this unique knowledge to students around the world, while being involved in educational programs such as Litchfield Jazz Camp and Rutgers Jazz Institute. Her skills as an educator in Jazz come from the highest authorities as she works to perpetuate the Jazz language.
Champian is ambitious about recording her music. As a leader she has nine recordings to her credit. Her debut album, Champian with David Berger & the Sultans of Swing (2007 Such Sweet Thunder Records), was recorded following a two-year residency at the famed New York Jazz Club Birdland. Her releases Sometimes I’m Happy (2008 Venus Records) and The Breeze and I (2010 Gut String Records) featured her working trio. Champian’s following two releases, Champian Sings and Swings (2013 Sharp Nine) and Change Partners (2014 Cellar Live) were both recognized as being “in the top 10 releases of the year” for their respective years (NY Observer). Champian’s album After Dark (2016), with Jazz luminaries David Williams on bass, Lewis Nash on drums and Stephen Fulton on flugelhorn, features the music of Dinah Washington.
In 2017 she released no less than three albums: an instrumental one (Speechless – Posi-Tone), a wonderful recording with Scott Hamilton (The Things We Did Last Summer – Blue Records) and Christmas with Champian – Champian Records. Champian’s 2018 release, The Stylings of Champian, is a two-disc set that was named one of the Top 5 Jazz Vocal Releases of the Year by the NYC Jazz Record, alongside Cecile McLorin Salvant and Kat Edmonson. In 2019 Dream a Little (Cellar Live Records) will be released featuring a live duo concert by Champian and Cory Weeds. Charlie Parker’s Centennial is in 2020, and Champian will be releasing an album featuring his music and several special guests.
Recognized as a Rising Jazz Star by the Downbeat Magazine Critic’s Poll, Champian Fulton also received "Female Jazz Vocalist of the Year" honors at the 2017 Hot House Jazz Magazine Fans Decision Award Ceremony. Her “galvanizing presence” (The New Yorker) and her alluring musical presentation have made her “a charming young steward of the mainstream Jazz tradition.” (The New York Times)