Elena and George Gilliam

Elena Gilliam

Elena Gilliam has delighted audiences throughout Southern California for over two decades. She has a smooth distinctive jazz style that makes her sound uniquely classic.

Elena has extraordinary talent and has grown into a premier vocalist. Her sound is pure and elegant, with subtle nuances of her favorite vocalists mingled in (Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, and Dinah Washington to name a few!). Performing in a wide variety of settings, this professional vocalist has been praised by the LA Times and Music magazine.

Elena’s voice will surely enrapture and surprise you, whether singing her favorite “timeless classics” or popular music of today. Her gift of sound shines through on her newly released CD… Moments In Time, recorded with her husband jazz guitarist George J. Gilliam. As the producer and musical director, George gathered together renowned musicians to perform some of Elena’s favorite tunes from over the years. Her delivery is unmatched among the jazz Divas of today!

Elena delights any audience and has performed in a variety of venues including the Hyatt Newporter Jazz Festival, Spaghettini’s Grill and Jazz Club in Seal beach, Twin Palms Jazz Series in Newport Beach and Pasadena, Top of Laguna and Genkai Jazz Series’ in Laguna Beach, the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach and many more! Whether performing as a Duo, with George’s remarkable Quartet or with a Big Band, Elena promises to entertain you with her sophisticated style.

Raised in New Jersey, Elena came to Southern California in her early 20’s looking for new challenges. She attended college in Pennsylvania giving her a taste of independence. She continued to live there where she worked in social services in the underserved community. Elena realized that she wanted more and moved west where she began to pursue her true calling, music. Elena found a job through the University of California Irvine where she still works today. Simultaneously she became a student of voice and joined the Charles Rutherford Big Band. Her first performing experience was her most memorable. Says Elena “That’s when I knew what I was meant to do!” After her first concert performance, she met the guitarist in the group who had just moved to California from New Orleans. He was forming a group and loved her sound. They’ve been together ever since in music and love. George J. Gilliam knew that Elena was someone with a talent “that no one could touch.” They performed together ever since helping Elena to grow into a premier vocalist.

Music wasn’t the only important thing to Elena and George. They wanted to start a family. Their dream was delayed when Elena had some complications. After treatments and surgery over the next few years, they finally conceived a child. Thanks to a talented surgeon, at age 37 Elena had a beautiful daughter. When Alesha was born, Elena put music on the back burner. Elena comments “I have a great deal of respect for vocalists who handle raising children and maintaining their career. What a challenge! Now that Alesha is a teenager, I look forward to devoting more time to my first love…...singing. I was always a late bloomer, so it’s only natural that I have my debut CD now. God has truly blessed us and I look forward to performing for many years to come.”