Déborah Tanguy is an established voice on the Paris and French jazz scenes, as well as in South Africa. She is most renowned as a powerhouse improvising scat vocalist with abundant instrumental facility. Equipped with a broad vocal range and intuitive musical sensibility, she delivers sublime performances of a range of music.

Repertoire & performances

Tanguy is an accomplished vocalist, comfortable with different styles including mainstream and contemporary jazz, funk, big band and popular music. Her repertoire covers original compositions, French chansons, Swing era jazz, refined standards, Brazilian and South African music, free jazz and related music.  She is comfortable in any range of music ensemble, including working in vocal ensembles and choirs. She is a first-call vocalist for several bandleaders. In a 20-year career she has performed on all the biggest stages in Paris and France – in festivals, clubs and concert halls; likewise, in South Africa, where she has lived intermittently since 2002. She has also performed in Germany and Belgium.


Tanguy is Head of Jazz Vocals at Bobigny Conservatory in Paris since 2010 and Director of Jazz Studies since 2015. As a singing coach and educator, she is found in a variety of settings from schools to conservatories, vocal ensemble teaching for choirs in communities and corporate businesses, as well as individual tutoring. She is a lead educator at vocal camps for numerous jazz festivals in France, including Crest Jazz Vocal, Jazz Saint Omer, Festival des Musiques du Monde d’Albierres, and regularly presents master classes for institutions such as Tous en Scene, Maad93 and MEPA 93.

In South Africa she is affiliated with the University of Cape Town’s music department, where she first taught in 2003 as a guest. Subsequently she lived in the country, established a teaching and performance career, and performed or taught in a variety of settings including festivals, institutions, community music programmes and private teaching. These include the National Jazz Festival; National Youth Jazz Festival (both in Grahamstown); the Cape Town & Joy of Jazz (Johannesburg) Festivals; The UCT Big Band; Stellenbosch University; Wits University and in various initiatives such as jazz conferences and youth jazz empowerment by the South African Association for Jazz Education (SAJE).


She holds a Diplôme d’Etat (State certified BA degree) in jazz teaching and is completing a South African Masters Degree in Jazz Vocal Improvisation at the University of Cape Town.

As a start-up professional in Paris in the 1990s, Déborah debuted as a stage performer in musicals, became a bandleader, then a jazz and contemporary singing teacher and recording artist. As a child she was trained on the violin and saxophone. Constantly surrounded by music and nurtured by her parents, she became immersed in recordings by the jazz greats, eventually progressing to vocal expression in her late teens. Jazz studies followed with Sarah Lazarus, Stéphane Belmondo and Lionel Belmondo.

Awards & recognition

Her major music awards include Winner of the Young French Jazz Talent (2002), Crest Jazz Festival Award (2001) and one of the five best international vocal discoveries of the Jazz à Juans (2003).

Collaborations & recordings

In France her most prominent collaborations and performances include trombonist-composer-arranger Glenn Ferris; piano virtuoso Antoine Hervé; soprano great Steve Lacy; celebrated composer-arranger Carine Bonnefoy; pop producer Shazz; counter-tenor Gerard Lesne and big band leader Jérome Râteau. As a vocal ensemble singer she has worked in groups like The Voice Messengers and Egosystem. Other noteworthy South African experiences include work with saxophonist Shannon Mowday; an all-female collaboration with leading French and South African musicians which played at The New Morning in Paris, among others; and an album with renowned bassist Carlo Mombelli. Tanguy is a lead singer on Carine Bonnefoy’s three big band albums since 2005, including Bonnefoy’s music with the Netherlands Metropole Orchestra directed by Vince Mendoza, and the album Tribal by the New Large Ensemble. Tanguy’s debut solo album Out of the Blues happened in 2001, followed by recordings in South Africa and recent outings in a duo with Paris guitarist Olivier Cahours.

Other noteworthy South African collaborations include Marcus Wyatt; Bruce Cassidy; Alvin Dyers; Mike Campbell; Andre Petersen; Sammy Hartman; Darryl Andrews; Mike Rossi; Amanda Tiffin; Basil Moses; Ezra Ngcukana and Mike Perry.