Future 40: How Jazz Phenom Camille Thurman Found Her Voice

The dynamic musician specializes as a saxophonist, vocalist and composer.

Camille Thurman is a triple-threat jazz musician known for mastering her craft as a saxophonist, composer and vocalist. The Queens, New York, native made a name for herself after placing as a finalist in the Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition in 2013. The following year, she released her debut album, "Origins," and her second album, "Spirit Child," which each landed on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart. 

At just 33 years old, Thurman is breaking the mold in jazz music. She is the first woman in 30 years to work an entire season with the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. 

“This is necessary. This is needed,” Thurman told BET. “Young girls need to see women in roles that aren't normally occupied by women so that they can know that the opportunity exists and that it's out there.

In just a few short years, Thurman has worked with some of the biggest names in jazz and R&B, such as Wynton Marsalis, Chaka Khan and Gladys Knight.

Growing up, her mother nurtured her curiousity for the arts, teaching her about jazz greats from Ella Fitzgerald to Count Basie. Thurman played in her high school orchestra at the famed LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York City, but it wasn't until college that she was confident in following her passion. 

"I was a geological and environmental science major and I thought I was going to be a scientist working with rocks and chemicals and testing water, but I knew in my heart that my passion was music and I took a leap of faith and I did it," said Thurman. "My advice to you is if you're feeling stuck in something that you know is not who you are or what you want to do or want to be, you can make that choice of leaving it and doing something else. Pursue that fire inside you." 


Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, you confirm that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. You also agree to receive marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers) and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. You understand that you can unsubscribe at any time.