Mady Kaye has been singing ever since she learned to walk. She grew up in a musical family in Poughkeepsie, New York, in the heart of the Hudson River valley. Poughkeepsie is a mutation of the Wappinger Indian name for “reed-covered lodge by the little water place.” It’s about ninety miles north of New York City, a fact not lost on her parents, both New Yorkers. The family made frequent trips to New York for theater, musicals, art museums and culinary adventure. Mady’s musical influences began at an early age. All the children in her family were expected to play at least one musical instrument. She remembers, “Why aren’t you practicing?” as the mantra of her childhood.
Mady Kaye studied voice, flute and piano and taught herself guitar. Performing has always been part of the fabric of her musical life. After earning a degree in music from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, she went on to get a graduate degree from the Kodaly Musical Training Institute, in Wellesley, MA. During her last year in college and throughout graduate school, Mady sang with a western swing band made up of Wesleyan classmates, a band that played in the truck stop bars in Connecticut and Massachusetts. She got an early taste for the music of Bob Wills. So right after graduation she got in her car and headed out to Texas, just to see what it was all about. That was in 1975. She wound up in Austin.
It was always Mady’s intent to put together a western swing band and front it. But the group of musicians in her first band – all music students at the University of Texas – had grown up in Texas and weren’t interested in western swing. They had heard it all before. What these guys wanted to do was play jazz. Mady Kaye went along for the ride. Twenty-five years later, she is a most accomplished jazz vocalist.
Ms. Kaye performs in and around Austin in clubs, theater, jazz festivals and at weddings and parties. For seven years her trio was the house band at the Hyatt Regency Austin. She is also the soprano and musical director of the Austin Carolers, a four-voice a cappella vocal ensemble and Austin’s only professional caroling group. Ms. Kaye also leads The Beat Divas and sings with them.
In addition to performing, Mady is a highly regarded vocal instructor. The Austin Chronicle’s “Critic’s Picks” named her the best professional voice instructor in Austin.