Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Christine Ott: Press

Many of us possess a secret artistic talent or ambition, latent after years of other responsibilities crowding our minds. As young adults, we may have felt that following an artist’s path would be too daunting, or perhaps it did not seem to fit well with other goals like building a family or becoming financially secure. Years after making that choice, returning to those artistic aspirations may seem even more difficult. But this month’s Woman of Style, Christine Ott, is proof of the fact that it’s never too late to follow those dreams.

After a successful career run as a nine to fiver, Ott made a professional U-turn. She had recently endured a difficult divorce and now, as a newly single mother, she decided to take stock of her life. Like many mothers and wives, she had willingly put some of her own dreams on hold to support those of her family. It was time to take the call again. With this renewed spirit, Ott returned to the personal passion of her youth—jazz singing.

Through childhood and into college, Ott had proven herself an accomplished musician, studying voice, piano, clarinet and saxophone. “I think I sang for the weddings of everyone I ever knew in high school or college,” she remembers. But she had followed a more traditional career path in marketing and public relations, believing it would better prepare her financially for starting a family.

Fifteen years later, after corporate success, marriage, motherhood and divorce, she took her first step towards a second career by enrolling in a jazz singing course. “All those beautiful standards that I had loved and sung over the years suddenly had new meaning to me,” she says. She was instantly hooked and began studying more intensely with several local professionals.

A jazz residency at Stanford University that brought her under the tutelage of Branford Marsalis gave her the extra experience and encouragement she needed to take her voice to a public forum. “I had such horrible stage fright—my throat would literally close up,” she recalls of the program. Intensive practice and visualization sessions helped Ott overcome her fears and begin to truly shine onstage.

Since then, Ott has been invited to sing locally with the Stu Hirsh Orchestra, Michael Lerich Orchestra, Georgia Francis Orchestra and in Boston with the Bill Winiker Orchestra. She has performed in Chicago at the Green Mill, Pops for Champagne, Civic Opera House, Chicago Cultural Center, Union Station, University Club, GlenView Club, the Bentley Showroom and many private homes.

She’s also found some fans further afoot. At a performance on the island of St. Barts, the recently knighted guest of honor asked for her encore performances at future occasions. Working abroad has brought its share of challenges, but Ott takes it all in stride. She doesn’t speak French, which can be a challenge when singing with Francophone bands in the French West Indies. “Fortunately, the language of music is international!” Ott laughs.

Her debut album, “I’ve Got the World on a String,” showcases Ott’s charming and complex vocals. Gracefully exploring her impressive range as she maintains an engaging rhythm with her quartet, her music has a clear and captivating quality.

“I’ve always loved to sing, but singing with a jazz band is a dream come true for me,” the artist shares. Having successfully returned to her earlier dreams after a somewhat circuitous path, this Woman of Style would be the first to tell you that any time can be the right time to follow your passion.

For more information and to hear some of her tunes for yourself, please visit christineott.com.