Classical crossover artist Jay Dref inspires audiences with his passionate, transcendent voice. His uplifting, timeless interpretations of classic standards, modern material, and everything in between mingle elements of traditional repertoire with an effervescent twist of pop and jazz. He radiates both intimacy and power during his captivating performances, and his warm vocal tone glides through stories overflowing with love, hope, longing, and joy. Jay has cultivated a well-honed, impeccable technique, and artistic dexterity. His abilities forge deep, emotional connections with an audience, as his effortless knack for arrangement and interpretation shine through each note.
Born in Buffalo, NY, Jay began his journey sparked by a spirit of adventure, a sense of humility and a dream, inspired by the view from the shores of Lake Erie. His passion for theatrical music abundant with big emotions was first ignited while listening to classical music – particularly composers such as Mozart and Puccini. While most of his peers were drawn to pop and rock music, Jay preferred watching The Three Tenors PBS concerts and The Lawrence Welk Show. He often fought with his younger brother for control of the radio on family car trips so he could listen to classical music stations.
Enthusiastic about exploring his own talents at a young age, Jay participated in local community theatre and choir. It was there that he started to develop his stage presence and was surprised by the power of his own voice. In high school, Jay began studying classical music and opera at Eastman School of Music, where he received the Allen Award for Best Vocalist. That same year, he received the Young Musicians Award from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Committed to becoming a professional artist, he auditioned for the prestigious Juilliard School and was awarded a full scholarship.
Jay’s vocal talent recently caught the ear of songwriter, composer, pianist, producer, Grammy and Academy Award-nominee Stephan Moccio (Celine Dion, The Weeknd, Dua Lipa, Miley Cyrus) and singer, songwriter, producer Lauren Christy (Jason Derulo, Avril Lavigne, Christina Aguilera, Bebe Rexha). The two powerhouses paired up to produce Jay in the studio, and discovered his innate pop sensibilities alongside his tremendous vocal dexterity. The first track, “Taxi In the Rain,” was written by Moccio and Christy, along with Denise Rich (Celine Dion, Marc Anthony, Luis Fonsi, Diana Ross), and is a perfect introduction to Jay’s voice and his unparalleled ability to deliver nuanced emotions and powerful force in the span of three minutes.
Jay’s steady artistic path has been blazed by his unfaltering work ethic, desire for expanding his musical horizons and a mindful connection to singing songs that speak to his soul. He has been a featured soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and has given numerous recitals at Lincoln Center. He has also performed at Alice Tully Hall, The Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, The Chautauqua Institution, and The Burchfield Penney Art Center. Jay has been featured regularly on both television and radio on ABC Channel 7, the TCT Network, The Celebrity Page and VH1’s The Gossip Table as well as on Buffalo’s classical music station, 94.5 WNED.
Even though he is now based in the vibrant, urban world of New York City, Jay’s hometown continues to influence his artistic development. He frequently returns to his roots in Buffalo for performances and to participate in community events. Musically fluent in five languages, including English, French, Italian, German and Russian, Jay’s mission is to use his voice to fill the gaps between people, using music to offer others the gift of escape to places of true beauty.