Bio

Gillian Kohn is a jazz singer based out of Charleston, South Carolina.

She was nominated for “Best Female Vocalist” in the Charleston City Paper’s “Best Of 2020” competition.

With a varied repertoire spanning the decades, from early Jazz standards to Classic Chanson to Swing Era and Bossa Nova hits, Gillian will take you on a musical journey back in time. Should it be a 1950s cocktail hour, a roarin’ Gatsby-themed bash, or just an intimate dinner party with friends, she is well-suited and versatile.

Gillian grew up in Hartsville, South Carolina, where she happily spent her childhood in the wings of her local, community theater – doing both her homework and dreaming of Broadway’s bright lights. At an early age, Gillian was determined to study the classics.

Devouring black and white films by night, she committed to memory each and every nuance of the greats: Vivien Leigh, Sophia Loren, Katharine Hepburn, Barbra Streisand, Paul Newman, Judy Garland, to name a few. This passion for the days of yore, and a helping of natural talent too, garnered Gillian an invitation at the age of 17 to study in New York City at the prestigious Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, where under the watchful eye of her acting teacher, Geoffrey Horne (The Bridge Over the River Kwai, Bonjour Tristesse), the methodology and true art of storytelling came to light.

From there, Gillian graduated high school and went on to study classical voice with soprano, Margaret Kelly-Cook, at The College of Charleston. Realizing in her sophomore year though, that classical voice wasn't the right fit, Gillian traveled back to New York City and was accepted to The American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Unable to fund the endeavor, and in efforts to raise scholarship money, Gillian competed in The Miss South Carolina Competition where she was a Top 10 finalist. Still unsuccessful though in meeting her financial goal, Gillian journeyed to both London, England and Sydney, Australia where she lived, worked, and on her days off, performed. It was a time of personal growth and confidence-building.

Returning to the United States in 2003, Gillian studied communications for two years at Coker College, formed a jazz trio, and moved back to Charleston, South Carolina. In 2005, she won the FOX 24 “Lowcountry Idol" competition and was flown to Chicago, Illinois.

But most significant, at the end of 2005, Gillian met her future husband, Mark. And as the story goes, they fell in love and lived happily ever after. Not quite, but close! The two bought a successful Italian restaurant (which they owned for nearly a decade), and had two boys. The oldest of which, was diagnosed with autism and apraxia of speech at just 20-months-old.

The responsibilities of life and motherhood, kept Gillian off the stage for nearly 10 years. Self-described in that time, as a “lonely bathroom singer," her desire to still perform and to tell stories never faded. In 2018, her chance came when hardworking jazz guitarist, Chris Dodson, moved in next door. The pair formed Neighbors Jazz Duo, and one could say it's been a whirlwind of opportunity since.

Gillian Kohn is a now a student of acclaimed vocalist, Jane Monheit, and is honored to have worked with: Lexus Charleston Fashion Week, Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, HGTV, The Vendue Hotel, Victor Social Club, 82 Queen, Halls Chophouse, Hotel Bennett, Dockery's, 39 Rue de Jean, Forte Jazz Lounge, High Cotton Charleston, Eli's Table, Basic Kitchen, La Patisserie Charleston, OtherBrother Entertainment, Ear for Music, Stratus Entertainment, Stellar Wine Co., JMC Charleston, Ooh Events!.

When she is not singing, Gillian is most happy treasure-hunting and antiquing with her husband. She also loves advocating locally for non-profit autism organizations. In particular, The Charleston Walk for Autism and Surfers Healing. Above all, she's so excited that, despite setback and failings, her two boys get to witness their mother living her dreams.

Honored to have worked with:

Lexus Charleston Fashion Week, Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, The Vendue Hotel, Victor Social Club, 82 Queen, Halls Chophouse, Hotel Bennett, Dockery’s, 39 Rue de Jean, Forte Jazz Lounge, High Cotton Charleston, Eli’s Table, Basic Kitchen, OtherBrother Entertainment, Ear for Music, JMC Charleston, Ooh Events!

Follow on Facebook & Instagram: @gilliankohnjazz