McFerrin, Bobby

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McFerrin, Bobby Gender: M
born on 11 March 1950 at 23:19 (= 11:19 PM )
Place Manhattan, New York, 40n46, 73w59
Timezone EST h5w (is standard time)
Data source
From memory
Rodden Rating A
Collector: Rodden
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_piscol.18.gif 21°02' s_mo.18.gif s_capcol.18.gif 04°40 Asc.s_scocol.18.gif 25°03'

Bobby McFerrin
photo: Ivor Szaniszlo, license gfdl


American musician, jazz and pop vocalist, and conductor. McFerrin has an extraordinary ability of using his voice to imitate musical instruments. His biggest commercial success was the 1988 hit song, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" which he overdubbed all the parts himself vocally. Since 1986, he has won over ten Grammy's. In 1997, he won a Grammy for best male jazz vocal performance. Some critics consider McFerrin a brilliant scat singer without accompanists. He joyfully invites audience participation during his live performances.

McFerrin's dad, Robert McFerrin Sr., played the male lead role in Aida in 1955, breaking the color barrier line. His mom Sara was an accomplished soprano and vocal teacher. Bobby began to play the piano at six-years-old. He attended Sacramento State and Cerritos College but dropped out of school in the early '70s to earn money as a pianist with the Ice Follies for two years. He continued to pursue work as a pianist and ignored his singing abilities. McFerrin lived the life of a gypsy jazz musician in the '70s.

In 1977, he experienced a spiritual awakening. He gave serious thought to leaving music and becoming an Episcopal minister. In a moment of apocalyptic clarity the message, "You are a singer," popped into his head. He could no longer deny his true vocation. After struggling with his career choice for many years, he decided to pursue a singing career.

In 1982, he launched his debut album, "Bobby McFerrin." In 1983, he dumped his backup trio and decided to try his singing abilities as a solo artist. He went on tour in Europe and received favorable reviews, especially in Germany where they call him "Stimmwunder" (Wonder Voice). McFerrin crossed over to classical music when he became the creative director of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in 1995. In one concert his voice is the solo instrumental line in Bach's A-Minor Violin Concerto. He conducts around 45 concerts a year and works with the New York Philharmonic in Central Park in the summer.

McFerrin married his wife Debbie in 1985 and she works as his able business partner. The interracial marriage has produced his two sons, Taylor, born in 1991 and Jevon in 1995. The singer reads his Bible daily and prays to God before every concert performance. When he travels around the country McFerrin prefers to travel light with one carry-on bag.

Speaking of his talent, he says, "I consider myself a healer, using music as a potent force to bring people joy."

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • associate relationship with Newton, Lauren (1952) (born 16 November 1952). Notes: Members of Vocal Summit


  • Misc. : Mystical Experience 1977 (Experienced a spiritual awakening)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1982 (Debut album)
  • Other Work 1983 (Dumped his back-up singers, went solo)
  • Relationship : Marriage 1985 (Debbie)
  • Work : Gain social status 1988 (Popular song 'Don't Worry, Be Happy")
  • Family : Change in family responsibilities 1991 (Son Taylor born)
  • Work : New Job 1995 (St. Paul Chamber Orchestra director)
  • Family : Change in family responsibilities 1995 (Son Jevon born)
  • Work : Prize 1997 (Grmmy for Best Male Jazz Vocal)

Source Notes

William Stickevers quotes him, AFA DX No.145


  • Family : Relationship : Mate - Interracial (Wife is Anglo)
  • Family : Parenting : Kids 1-3 (Two sons)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Conductor
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Instrumentalist (Piano)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Vocalist/ Pop, Rock, etc. (Pop and jazz)
  • Notable : Awards : Grammy (Over ten)