Chicago’s Own, Joan Collaso: A Class Act On & Off Stage

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Joan Collaso is an American Jazz singer from Chicago, Illinois. In her hometown, her voice and style of singing are considered legendary. Known for it’s unique, sweet and sensual sound, she has been hailed as one of the best Jazz singers in Chicago.

Collaso debuted her first studio album in 1999 titled One Love. Since then she has released seven other albums, totaling 8. The most recent was released in 2015 and titled My Heart Speaks. Aside from her albums, Collaso wears many hats. She’s produced several Jazz shows. One is a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Junior – A Legacy for America’s Children, a weekly even – Jazz Mondays at the Center for Inner City Studies, as well as other tribute shows.

Joan Collaso

The Chicago native has performed at music festivals around the world, including Russia, the Netherlands, and even Italy. Though no 2019 show dates have yet been posted on the singer’s website, she had quite a full calendar for 2018.

Among other notable awards, Collaso has received an Emmy Award for her vocal talent. She and has performed with many notable performers such as Alicia Keys, Tim McGraw, India Arie, and even Ramsey Lewis. Two of her most remembered appearances were when she sang background for Stevie Wonder in his Songs in the Key of Life Concert Series, and when she had the opportunity to sing for the late Aretha Franklin. Her debut on the silver screen came in 1997 when she sang in the Blockbuster hit movie Soul Food.

Since becoming an accomplished musician, Joan Collaso has turned some of her efforts to community outreach. In 2010, she started Timeless Gifts, a not-for-profit organization focused on mentoring children through music. The children range from ages 8-18 and are exposed to music and dance. Voice, piano, drums, tap, and other various dance lessons are available to the children. In its first seven years, Timeless Gifts worked with nearly 250 students, exposing them to opportunities such as performing in full-scale productions, performing for celebrities such as Chaka Khan, rapper Common, and even former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Joan Collaso

The Timeless Gifts are kicking off their debut international tour in Milan, Italy April 13, 2019. Collaso spoke to how she worked in partnership with Milan’s Mayor, Giuseppe Sala, and other dedicated entities to bring this opportunity to life.

“Lou Rago, Dominic DiFrisco and The Italian American Human Relations Foundation of Chicago are great friends of mine and supporters of Timeless Gifts. It is through their efforts and those of the Milan Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International that this trip to Italy is being realized”…. Joan Collaso

“The City of Milan looks forward to giving its warmest welcome to Timeless Gifts Vocal Ensemble, which will bring its sound and friendly soul to our city. I am sure the young artists directed by Ms. Collaso will be very successful in their performances and will enjoy meeting Milanese peers in our schools. I wish the delegation from our sister city all the best during its stay”…. Giuseppe Sala

Joan Collaso is a class act both on and off the stage. Her voice is known to captivate the largest of audiences. Her heart nurtures the lives of youth through music. To find out more about Joan Collaso visit For more information on the Timeless Gifts, visit



About Irene Michaels

Over the past 25 years I have taken on the roles of a producer, publisher, insider journalist and fundraiser. My artistic interests began early in my teens working as a model and a dancer throughout the U.S. I formed my first modeling agency before I was twenty. While modeling I secured a re-occurring role in the popular daytime TV series General Hospital. Read more...

15 comments to " Chicago’s Own, Joan Collaso: A Class Act On & Off Stage "
  • Joan Collaso

    Dear Irene and Suzanne! Thanks so much for this wonderful write-up. You’ve been thorough and kind. I’m especially happy that you’ve included Timeless Gifts Vocal Ensemble and our upcoming debut performance tour in Milan, Italy! I promise to update the website asap with my summer schedule! Continued success to I On The Scene!

    • Suzanne Tripaldi

      Our absolute pleasure, Joan!
      I want to point out that on Facebook we are promoting donations to The Timeless Gifts as well.
      Please keep us updated with the upcoming trip.
      Viaggi sicuri!

    • Jim Walton

      I have had the pleasure and Blessing of watching Joan become the consummate artist and singer over the lasting several years. Her vocal abilities are amazing and her stage presence is inviting, personable and very entertaining.

      Her “blood, sweat, prayers and tears” in founding the Timeless Gifts Foundation to give young people ages 8-18 years of age access to accomplished professional musicians for mentorship and musical development is a legacy that will surely bringing the next generation of talented and gift musical artists for years to come. I believe her father is smiling from heaven about the amazing things his “baby girl” is doing! Great article!

  • Heidi Reeves

    Beautiful article and very impressive

  • Corneal Harper

    Consummate professional. Off the chart talent. Best Nancy Wilson set in the country. The only thing bigger than her talent is her heart. She and her husband Larry Hanks are as dedicated to those kids as they are to their own careers (Hanks is one of the country’s premier pianist). They will take Milan by storm.

  • Sharon Matthews

    Very nice article outlining your career and your giving of self to other young people to help change and improve upon their lives and dreams. Your outreach shows an unselfish you and its providing a wonderful platform to those who deserve an outlet to be creative and build self confidence. I’ve followed you since your exquisite show production at The African American Museum in Chicago and I’ve been a fan ever since. Many people are impressed with your talent, your openness to expressing your faith and your love for family. Continue to use your God given talent to nudge others to their greatness and many blessings will continue to flow your way.

  • Yvette Rolling

    What a wonderful article! Joan Collaso is an absolute TREASURE to the city of Chicago. We are so blessed to have her here!

  • Ericka Washington

    Joan Collaso affectionately known as “Auntie Joan” to me. I have had the opportunity to grow up listening to her gifted voice. It is amazing to watch her share her gift with our youth and provide them opportunities to perform across country and on a platform of many celebrities enhancing their performance arts. “Timeless Gifts” is truly a gift to many. Job well done “Auntie Joan” wishing Timeless Gifts well wishes in Italy and beyond.!!!!! You Are an example of Black Girl Magic😘

  • Diane Eagan

    Giving back is so important and it’s wonderful to see someone doing this and creating opportunities for young people
    Keep up the good work more Blessings are coming your way.

  • Lorraine Jones

    Joan Collaso is a brilliant artist whose sings with class, grace, style, and eloquence. She is my favorite songbird. I love her giving heart which is illustrated through her singing.

  • Keith Stewart

    A pro’s pro; happy you’re getting well deserved recognition; you and Larry are great representatives of the Chicago music scene; big ups as well to y’all timeless gifts project! I see you!!!!👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

  • Anita Strange-Rebecchi

    Joan Colasso is a one of a kind show woman! Her talent overwhelms me! But her dedication to Timeless Gifts is unfounded! She has established a unique organization to train young folks Music, music appreciation and the history of music in the black community. Bravo!

  • Loren Jordan

    What a wonderful tribute to a Beautiful & Gifted Songbird and Soul! Joan is TRULY a vessel of God’s Love & Light to all those who are blessed to be in her presence as well as enjoy her silky & sultry voice. Her devotion to the children she mentors in Timeless Gifts has not just been life changing to them but to our community & beyond. AWESOME!!!

  • Stella Johnson

    I have had the pleasure of knowing Joan Collaso for over 50 years. I am so very proud of all she is doing and have done! If you have not attended a concert of Joan’s or aTimeless Gifts performance, you are missing a treat. Joan may God continue to bless you and your creative mind.

  • Betty Owens

    Great article about Joan, a beautiful & talented vocalist & personalty., anointed by God. She deserves all the accolades.

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