BiographyFerrell began singing at age six, and developed a six octave range by adulthood. Her range also includes the ability to sing in the whistle register. Ferrell's highest notes in "It Only Took A Minute" (1992) have been described as "Minnie Riperton-like wailing." She received classical training in violin and the piano at an early age and was performing professionally on both instruments and as a vocalist as a teenager. After enrolling in the Berklee College of Music, and graduating a year later, having learned arrangement and developing her abilities in singing and songwriting, she secured a position teaching music for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts alongside Dizzy Gillespie.From 1975 until 1990, Ferrell sang backup for Lou Rawls, Patti LaBelle, Vanessa Williams, and George Duke. Ferrell's debut, First Instrument, was released in 1990 in Japan, five years prior to its US release. Recorded with bassist Tyrone Brown, pianist Eddie Green and drummer Doug Nally, several famed jazz accompanists also recorded on her album. They include trumpeter Terence Blanchard, pianists Gil Goldstein and Michel Petrucciani, bassists Kenny Davis and Stanley Clarke, tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter and keyboardist Pete Levin. Her take on standards like Sam Cooke's "You Send Me", Cole Porter's "What Is This Thing Called Love?", and Rodgers and Hart's "My Funny Valentine", gained her a substantial Japanese jazz audience.