Raya Yarbrough is a vocal chameleon who captivates her audiences. On the strength of compelling performances that reveal shades of Sarah Vaughn and Adele, The Los Angeles Times called her voice "a pliable, versatile instrument, an effective vehicle for a musical expression that ranges freely." USA Today remarked “Yarbrough’s gracefully gritty vocals recall a young Joan Osborne.”
Her current recording project is The Jazz Age a return to her jazz roots, with a pop edge. On this latest project, Yarbrough is pulling from classic jazz repertoire such as her moody arrangement of “Whatever Lola Wants,” and her minimalist piano duo take on “Lush Life.” She also features her original songs which incorporate edgy beat-poetry influenced spoken word, bluesy grit, and electronic beats, all combining into a dark, lush, and sensual world.
Though Yarbrough is recognized most notably as the singer in the opening credits of the Outlander TV show, and as the female singing voice so ubiquitous on the Sci-fi hit Battlestar Galactica, Yarbrough’s original music has also been featured in numerous films and televisions shows. In the last 3 years, she has performed/collaborated with pianist Billy Childs, and continues to work on multiple projects with Van Dyke Parks.
After three independent albums and countless live performances, including opening for Terence Blanchard at The Jazz Standard in New York City, she performed at the Hollywood Bowl as part of the Playboy Jazz Festival. Yarbrough made her international debut on Telarc (Concord) with her self-titled album, “Raya Yarbrough.” The eclectic album embraces the broad sweep of her musical influences.
In 2012, Yarbrough wrote and starred in North of Sunset West of Vine an original pop/jazz musical about growing up on Hollywood Blvd in the late 1980s. It premiered in Los Angeles to sold-out crowds at the established jazz venues Vitello’s, the new popular jazz club Blue Whale, and the historic Roxy Theatre on the Sunset Strip. In 2013, a more complete production at the Greenway Theater in Los Angeles featured a full cast and live orchestra.