Dr. Glennis Houston (Dr. G) credits the origins of her talent to the rhythms of the swing and big band era that filled her childhood home with the sounds of Duke Ellington, the Dorsey brothers and Glen Miller. Her parents taught ballroom dancing, so their appreciation of music was a tremendous influence on Glennis and the nurturing of her musical pursuits. Although she chose to listen to the pop music of the day (oh the 70s – The Carpenters! Olivia Newton John! - all that soft stuff!), she was surrounded by music from the swing era and fondly remembers her mother bemoaning the loss of "the beat" in music.
Despite telling her mother (at the ripe age of five years old) that she was going to be a singer, she played classical piano as a child and teenager and was first chair clarinet for three years in her junior high band. Unfortunately, at that time, playing in a school band didn’t seem as important as other things…like being popular, trying to be cool (which the band kids weren’t!) skipping school, smoking, and other dubious pursuits! So, she chose to shun band in high school. In fact, she dropped out of high school after grade eleven, and picked up a few courses through night school to at least get her high school diploma. She also left home at 17, and was essentially away from music for several years. Many of her friends at that time didn’t even know she was musical!
The yearn to sing never subsided though and she finally had her first voice lesson at the age of 22 (rather old for beginning singing), She quickly joined Edmonton Musical Theatre under the instruction of Dasha Goody. Training in acting, dance, chorus and solo performance launched roles in theatre, with an early review calling Glennis "a delight" as Carrie in the production of Carousel.
She then decided to pursue a Bachelor’s of Music in Classical Voice Performance and entered the music program at the University of Calgary in 1988 as an adult student of 25. Despite her dubious history with education, she was on the Dean's List for all four years at U of C. She went on to receive a Masters of Music from the University of Colorado, Boulder (1994), after which time she realized that her heart and voice needed to be dedicated to a different genre of music. That realization began her move back into the music she was introduced to as a child. Attending the Vocal Jazz Camp at the internationally renowned Banff Centre of Fine Arts to study with with Jay Clayton and Sheila Jordan would cement her new dedication to Jazz. Also contributing to her training were Juno-nominated Kate Hammett-Vaughn and Jennifer Scott, both of Vancouver, and further private studies Shannon Gunn, of Toronto. 2009 found her in Toronto, Ontario, beginning PhD studies at York University, researching jazz vocal pedagogy and designing a jazz theory course for community singers, and in 2010 she became certified through Shenandoah University Institute of Contemporary & Commercial Vocal Pedagogy. Her doctorate will FINALLY be awarded in 2016, a much longer and arduous process than ever anticipated.
As an artist, Glennis Houston has defined the triple threat of vocalists; pleasure, passion and prowess, which she clearly demonstrated on her debut CD, Lies of Handsome Men. The 2004 release received airplay on CBC, CJSW, CKUA, and other Western Canadian, U.S. and European radio and internet stations. Reviewers have handed Glennis a place among the most acclaimed in her field, calling her "a marvelously talented vocalist with great tone, focus and range" (Keith Hannaleck), displayed by her "warm, rich, emotive vocals over 13 playfully sensual songs" (Mike Bell). A shining achievement for her and a gem for her listeners, as another review interprets, "The bluesy, relaxed mood suits her voice and she can hold those notes with an intense yearning that I find entirely pleasurable." (Paul Donnelly). She recorded her second disc, entitled I'll Reminisce You,in May 2013. Over half of the disc comprises original compositions. It was released March 1st, 2014 at the National Music Centre in Calgary and reviews have been stellar!