Jean has recorded and shared the stage with some of music’s most prolific Artists, Producers and Songwriters over the years, including Stevie Wonder, Lou Rawls, The O’Jays, Phyllis Hyman, among other stellar Performers.
Carne has also acted as vocal coach for numerous Singers in the music fraternity including the Supremes’ Mary Wilson and Michael Jackson.
Born Sarah Jean Perkins in Columbus, Georgia, Jean Carn and was raised in Atlanta. Georgia. Her singing ability was so striking that at age four she sang solo with her church choir. Encouraged by her parents, Carn became proficient on the piano, organ, clarinet, English horn, oboe and bassoon.
Jean attended Booker T. Washington High in Atlanta, participating in an experimental course of study which emphasized Russian, advanced mathematics and sciences. Upon graduation she accepted a scholarship to Morris Brown College, where, she not only continued to study Russian but performed every genre from musical theater to grand opera. Carn dashed her plans to attend Juilliard School of Music in New York when she met and married Jazz pianist, Doug Carn (now divorced) and partnered with him in what would become a trend setting jazz- fusion tradition. The couple based themselves in Hollywood, California, where they were invited by Earth Wind And Fire leader, Maurice White to appear on the groups first 2 recordings “Earth Wind And Fire” and “The Need Of Love”. Doug and Jean soon released the first of three early albums – “Infant Eyes,” followed by “Spirit Of The New Land,” and “Revelation” on Black Jazz/Ovation Records. Jean’s vocal interpretations of instrumental classics brought by Jazz greats such as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, McCoy Tyner and Horace Silver, expanded the display of her musical abilities to Jazz Lovers, worldwide. As feature Singer and vocal arranger for Norman Connors, Jean recalls with fondness, vocal coaching and producing Glen Jones, Phyllis Hyman and Michael Henderson, with whom she recorded 1975 hit “Valentine Love”.
In 1976, Jean signed to Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International Records. Her debut album in 1977, Jean Carn was a classy affair that merged the best of ’70s soul and jazz with solid songwriting and tight instrumental support (MFSB, Instant Funk). The debut single “Free Love” became a tremendous international dance anthem. Several of the album’s tracks received massive radio airplay. In June 1978, her second album for the label, Happy to Be With You was released and included the hit single “Don’t Let It Go to Your Head”, which was covered by numerous artists including, The Brand New Heavies and rap group The Brand Nubian. Carn’s third Philadelphia International album, When I Find You Love, was produced by Dexter Wansel, Gamble and Huff and The Iceman – Jerry Butler. The album rates as one of Jean’s best and most enthusiastically received efforts. The smooth and haunting “My Love Don’t Come Easy”, written and produced by O’Jays – Walter Williams, Eddie Levert and Conductor – Dennis Williams and co-arranged by Dexter Wansel wooed music aficionados in five continents the summer of 1979.
1981 brought Sweet and Wonderful which featured a duet that introduced singer, Glenn Jones. It contained a stunning and sultry remake of the Spinners’ “Love Don’t Love Nobody,” on which Jean sang all the backgrounds. With artistic and critical successes in tow, Carn moved to Motown Records in 1982, making her label debut with the album Trust Me. The single “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” a cover of the Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes hit with backing vocals by The Temptations received rave reviews. Her career continued and thanks to what she describes as her “devoted following,” Carn continued to perform internationally.
In 1987, before signing with the Omni/Atlantic label, Jean added an “e” to her last name on the advice of numerologist, Lloyd Strayhorn. To reward her name change, Closer Than Close, produced by and featuring saxophonist Grover Washington Jr. was released in July of that year and the title track went to number one R&B. Her 1988 album You’re a Part of Me included a hit cover of Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way,” produced by Nick Martinelli. Carne later signed with Place One Entertainment, which reunited her with former Omni/Atlantic president, Steve Bernstein, yielding her Love Lessons album. By popular demand of Jean’s European audiences, Expansion Records released Collaborations, an album compiled by label founder, Ralph T and journalist/vocalist David Nathan featuring Carne’s various musical pairings with artists such as Grover Washington Jr., Billy Paul, Michael Henderson, Roy Ayres, The Temptations over the years.
Jean has recorded and shared the stage with some of music’s most prolific Artists, Producers and Songwriters over the years, including Stevie Wonder, Lou Rawls, The O’Jays, Phyllis Hyman, among other stellar Performers. Carne has also acted as vocal coach for numerous Singers in the music fraternity including the Supremes’ Mary Wilson and Michael Jackson. In 2008, she was among the Philly Artists featured in the two-part PBS television special “Love Train, The Sound of Philadelphia” which celebrated the musical legacy of Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff and Philadelphia International Records.
The movie Precious, released in November 2009, produced by Lee Daniels, Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry, starring Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz and comedienne Mo’Nique, features Jean Carne’s disco single “Was That All It Was.” In 2011, Expansion Records released #1 UK singles “Whatever It Takes” (Joey Negro Club Mix and “Tell Me What’s Wrong” (Cool Million Remix). Whether you happen to be fortunate enough to catch Jean Carne performing a gospel classic in Church on Sunday, a Puccini Aria in a Concert Hall, her number one recording before a packed stadium crowd, or perhaps a Disco Classic in a Hit Movie; your musical hunger is sure to be more than quenched.