Jeremy Monteiro is a jazz pianist and vocalist who has won critical acclaim worldwide. The Eurasian is the first local to perform jazz in the international arena and the first jazz musician to receive the local Cultural Medallion. The local press has often labelled him "Singapore's King of Swing".
Monteiro grew up in a family that loved music where both his parents played musical instruments and both his sisters, the piano. His father played jazz guitar although his day job ranged from serving in the police force to establishing himself as a marketing executive. His mother too held a staid job as a nurse but was proficient in piano playing, just as his two sisters were. Not surprisingly, Monteiro took piano lessons at a young age and eventually attained a Grade 8 music certification. He confessed to being drawn to jazz as a teenager because of the music's spontaneity and influenced by friends who were making money moonlighting in Chinese nightclubs.
By the time he was 16, Monteiro was already working as a professional musician. He first performed at Club 392 where the Palais Renaissance now stands along Orchard Road. Driven by his passion for jazz music, Monteiro spent the past 25 years playing in local clubs as well as performing at international festivals such as the reputable Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. He has played with a range of fellow jazz musicians, including saxophonists James Moody and Ernie Watts, Eldee Young, Paul Martin and Shawn Kelly.
At 45, Monteiro shows no sign of slowing down. During the middle of 2002, he launched the album "Swinging in Chicago" which featured tracks such as Polka Dots and Moonbeams and I'm Confessin' That I Love You. The album was released in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan and Japan. He has hitherto 22 albums to his name spanning his entire music career.
In October 2002, Monteiro was awarded the Singapore Cultural Medallion. The first jazz musician to achieve this honour, Monteiro was recognised for his artistic excellence and contribution. He is also the composer of the national song titled One People, One Nation, One Singapore which he penned in 1990. Other achievements in Monteiro's career include being designated a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (organiser of the Grammy Awards) in 1991 and remains the only Southeast Asian to hold a vote in the Grammies, performing with the Asian All-Stars jazz band to 14,000 people at the Shanghai Convention Centre in 1996, and being appointed artistic director of the Singapore International Jazz Festival in 2001.
Besides running his own production house Showtime Productions Pte Ltd, he is also the Director of Composers and Authors Society of Singapore Ltd, a company which administers music copyrights.
1986 : Released his first jazz album entitled "Back to Basics" with his band of three, the Jeramzee.
1991 : Awarded the silver medal at the International Radio Festival, New York for his composition "One People, One Nation, One Singapore"
8 Oct 2002 : Awarded the Cultural Medallion, Singapore for his contribution toward the local jazz scene.
Sisters: Sheila and Claressa, the latter a professional jazz singer
June Kai Woon Gwee
Oon, C. (2002, October 9).The blues brother. The Straits Times, Life!, p. 3.
Whang, S.Y. (2002, August 9). Making of True Singapore Talent. The Straits Times, Life!, p. 17.
King of swing wins top cultural award. (2002, October 9). The Straits Times, p. 1.
Monteiro Swings Again. (2002, June 12). The Straits Times, Life!, p. 3.
Monteiro, J. (n.d.). Retrieved July 29, 2003, from www.jeremymonteiro.com/
Jeremy Monteiro. (n.d.). Retrieved July 29, 2003, from www.geocities.com/jazzupsg/pg4jm.html
The information in this article is valid as at 2003 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.