Champian Fulton

Champian Fulton Bio

Pianist/vocalist Champian Fulton grew up with music in her home. Her father (jazz

trumpeter and educator Stephen Fulton) and mother quickly recognized their daughter’s

interest in music at an early age. The presence of her father’s musician friends,

including Clark Terry and Major Holley, also served to stimulate her focus on music.

She began studying piano with her grandmother at the age of five, while she later took

up singing, drums, and trumpet before eventually settling on piano and vocals. The

family moved to Lemars, IA, in 1994 after Stephen Fulton became director of the Clark

Terry Institute for Jazz Studies. Champian participated in the summer camp jazz

program there, where she met other young jazz musicians from her area and formed

the Little Jazz Quintet. They would get together to perform a couple of times annually

for the next few years, playing shows consisting exclusively of Terry’s repertoire,

including Terry’s 75th birthday party.


One of Fulton’s first vocal influences was Dinah Washington, especially her album For

Those in Love, which she played repeatedly. She admired Nat King Cole (one of the

earliest jazz artists to show equal chops on piano and vocals), while she devoured Art

Tatum, Red Garland, Wynton Kelly, Bud Powell, Hampton Hawes, Sonny Clark, and

Thelonious Monk. In 1999 Champian„s family relocated to Norman OK, where

Champian continued to play with her new band while attending high school, appearing

at a number of regional jazz festivals. After graduating as valedictorian of her high

school in 2003, Fulton moved to New York to pursue a degree in jazz piano

performance at SUNY Purchase Music Conservatory. One of her favorite professors

was trumpeter Jon Faddis, who taught with the wisdom of one who had been actively

involved in recording and touring for decades and tailored his instruction to his students’


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