Doris Duke Artist Awards

Dee Dee Bridgewater

Vocalist and Producer

New Orleans, Louisiana

Putting a unique spin on standards and reinventing jazz in bold ways, Dee Dee Bridgewater is one of the nation’s most talented jazz vocalists. Across four decades, she has generated a remarkable canon, including tribute albums to Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, among others; an album of French love songs, “J'ai Deux Amours”; and an album inspired by Bridgewater's search for her African roots, “Red Earth,” recorded in Mali.

Since 1993, Bridgewater has self-produced all her albums, including her most recent work released in 2017, “Memphis… Yes, I’m Ready,” an homage to her birthplace. In 2006, she launched her own label, DDB Records, after signing with Universal Music Group as a producer. A three-time Grammy Award winner, she has received Grammy nominations for all but one of her albums. She was also named an NEA Jazz Master in 2017.

Bridgewater, who continues to tour worldwide, began her career with the legendary Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band. Throughout the 1970s, she performed with the likes of Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon and Dizzy Gillespie. After a foray into pop during the 1980s, she moved to Paris and returned her attention to jazz while also pursuing a career in musical theater. For her performances in the latter sphere, Bridgewater received a Tony Award, the AUDELCO Award for Best Actress in a Musical, and a Laurence Olivier nomination for Best Actress in a Musical.

Bridgewater has served as Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) since 1999 and received the 2017 ASCAP Foundation’s Champion Award for her humanitarian work. Bridgewater has also been one of jazz’s greatest ambassadors as host of the award-winning syndicated National Public Radio program “JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater” from 2001 until 2015. She is currently the vocal advisor to the Kennedy Center’s Jazz Ahead Program.


See the other 2018 Doris Duke Artists