OLG First Plays - Claire Davis

Track: Thrive
Learn more: clairedavismusic.com

About the track
"This is the title track off of my Debut EP 'Thrive' which was released in July of this year (2021). When I wrote this song I had been going through a rough time in my life and came out the other end of it really feeling proud of my resiliency and seeing how much I benefited from investing in, and taking care of myself. I think a lot of folks, especially after the pandemic can relate to the importance of self-care in our ability to thrive. This track was always really special to me - since the demo stage - and I think it has a really special vibe which marks the new beginning of this solo project."

About the artist
Claire Davis is a musical time traveler. Known for her mighty and expressive vocals, Davis authentically and effortlessly brings the sounds of ‘60s and ‘70s soul into the present on her debut solo EP Thrive. Recording the EP to tape, Davis stays true to the golden years of soul music that inspire her most.

Davis developed her love for soul and R&B early, learning to sing lead and background vocals in her high school’s 12-piece Motown R&B band in her hometown, Victoria, British Columbia. The band performed approximately 30 shows a year, including a headlining show backing up Martha Reeves of “Martha & the Vandellas”; formative experiences would inspire Davis to pursue a career in music. Moving to Toronto in 2008, Davis joined the renowned African roots choir “The Nathaniel Dett Chorale”, and went on to pursue a Bachelor of Music Degree from Humber College.

Carving out her reputation as a powerhouse frontwoman and background vocalist in the Toronto music scene, Davis joined seven-piece retro funk ensemble YUKA as their lead singer on full-length album releases From the Ancients (2015) and Dreamscape (2019) to critical acclaim. Regarded as one of the best live acts coming out of Toronto, YUKA shared the stage with The Dap-Kings, Lee Fields and the Expressions, Treme Brass Band, and The Soul Jazz Orchestra. Davis also established herself as a go-to background vocalist for all things soul, performing with legends Martha Reeves (of Martha & the Vandellas), Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, and Jully Black, top Toronto breakout artists Charlotte Day Wilson, Jessie Reyez, and Daniel Caesar.

Stepping out on her own as a solo artist, Davis teamed up with producer and YUKA bandmate Scott McCannelll to write and record her debut EP. Exploring themes of relationships and heartbreak, the title track centres on the relationship we have with ourselves - the relationship that all else is built upon. “We blossom the most when we love and take care of ourselves first- it’s the only thing we can truly control.” says Claire of the track.


The OLG First Plays at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival seeks to showcase music by Ontario-based artists, regardless of age or career stage, who have not previously performed as a leader on an official TD Toronto Jazz Festival stage. Whether you're playing jazz, blues, funk, soul, R&B, hip-hop or more, we want to hear what's making you proud! For more information and the online submission form, click here.