Her desire and ability to sing came early and at age seven she was offered her first recording contract but her father turned it down. However, she did make a spectacular professional debut. Wrapped in the U.S. flag, and accompanied by 300 accordions, nine-year-old Jennifer sang "The Star Spangled Banner" at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium.
After graduating from high school she was offered an opera scholarship but chose to sing folk songs, popular at the time. In 1968 she signed with Parrot Records (a Decca subsidiary) and recorded her first LP. That same year, she joined the cast of the television show, "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour".
In 1970 she met Canadian poet/songwriter Leonard Cohen who profoundly influenced her career. She eventually toured Europe with Cohen's band as a back-up singer as well as recording guest vocals for Cohen's "Live Songs" album and later guest vocals for his album, "Recent Songs," including a duet on "The Smokey Life" plus over the years on his albums "Various Positions, I'm Your Man," and "The Future." In 1986, Jennifer Warnes released her album "Famous Blue Raincoat: Songs of Leonard Cohen."
Her 1977 single titled "Right Time of the Night" brought her wide acclaim with the song going to #1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Singles chart. In 1980 she won the Academy Award for "Best Original Song" for "It Goes Like It Goes" from the motion picture "Norma Rae."
Jennifer Warnes 1981 song "One More Hour," recorded as part of the soundtrack album from the motion picture "Ragtime," was nominated for an Academy Award. The following year she teamed up with Joe Cocker to sing Will Jennings song "Up Where We Belong." Written for the motion picture, "An Officer and a Gentleman," the song would be released as a single and hit #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. In 1983 she and Cocker won the Grammy Award for "Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal" for "Up Where We Belong," followed by the Golden Globe Award and the Academy Award for "Best Original Song."
In 1987, at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles, she sang female background vocals with k.d. lang and Bonnie Raitt for Roy Orbison’s acclaimed television special "A Black and White Night." That same year her duet with Bill Medley, "(I've Had) The Time of My Life," was included on the "Dirty Dancing" motion picture soundtrack album and reached #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 as a single. The song won the 1988 Grammy Award for "Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal" and the Academy Award for "Best Original Song."
Jennifer Warnes’ songwriting skills are admired by her peers and she is among the most sought-after session singers and vocal arrangers in the music industry.
JENNIFER WARNES’ U.S. SOLO ALBUMS: