Bernadette’s creative path reads like the back story to a mid-century Hollywood heroine: Ballerina, Beautician, Hell Kitten, Sultry Chanteuse.
She spent her childhood in California where she studied classical dance with the renowned Los Angeles Ballet and American Ballet Theatre until an injury drove her love of drag and pageantry north east and underground. Coming of age amidst the gutter glam and jewel toned ink of New York’s early 80’s street punk scene the ballerina scraped by as a sometimes fetish model, makeup artist and clothing designer for the iconic clothing/shoe company Nana.
In 1993 Bernadette Seacrest declared Albuquerque home and in 2001 made her musical debut with one of the hottest roots rockabilly bands in the Southwest, the Long Goners. Working closely with Pat Bova, the band’s brilliant singer-songwriter, she belted out rebellious anthems in the style of Janis Martin and Wanda Jackson. They played out for two years, grabbing audiences by the collar and dragging them to their feet with performances that never failed to blow the lid off the ballroom. Bernadette, with the Long Goners, shared the stage with Hank Williams III, Jonathan Richman, Wayne “The Train” Hancock, The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash, Rockin’ Lloydd Tripp, Al Foul and the Shakes, Tom Walbank and Spo-dee-odee.
2003 found the burgeoning chanteuse ready to wrap her voice around the more complex musical terrain of jazz. She collaborated with acclaimed bassist and composer David Parlato for a year before forming a new band- Bernadette Seacrest and her Yes Men- with bass player/song writer extraordinaire Michael Grimes. The combo’s first album “No More Music by the Suckers” was released in 2004 and features desire drenched jazz standards as well as original songs by Grimes and former band mate Bova. Swing City Magazine wrote that the album was “… not an attempt for a one time rockabilly kitten to break into the modern day jazz scene but an attempt to break the mold, an endeavor she unconsciously accomplishes.” Their second album, “Live in Santa Fe” was released in 2005 and magically captures the smoke filled room acoustics of a sold out live performance.
Bernadette has toured extensively and played to packed audiences across the U.S. and France. She and her Yes Men have been featured on NPR and shared the stage with: Samarabalouf, Mat Firehair & the Imperators of Kool, El Senor Igor, Devil Doll and The Glenn Koster Trio.
In 2006 Bernadette followed her heart to Atlanta where she is currently working on a new project, “Bernadette Seacrest and Her Provocateurs” with guitarist Charles Williams and bassist Kris Dale. The trio recently released an EP premiering several new songs, written by Williams, that infuse Ms Seacrest’s signature dark vintage jazz sound with a deep south hue. The mood remains raw and sparse, allowing each musician’s considerable talent to shine through. Bernadette and her boys are planning a tour this summer so stay tuned for dates and venues!
“The whole affair resembles a hand-cranked big screen romance circa 1930s, in which our heroine-as was often the case during the era-beguiles her male counterpart with sleight of sexual innuendo, the blink of a carefully attended eye and an ever-so-slightly liquor-lubricated melody.”