This morning on Art of the Song, we celebrate the music of is a Juilliard-educated jazz vocalist and songwriter (in collaboration with Lynne Arriale) with four albums to her credit. She is also an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning television journalist and investigative reporter for Primetime.
Charleston grew up in Chicago‘s Hyde Park neighborhood, the only daughter of an English professor father and voice teacher/singer mother. Her father, a jazz enthusiast, played jazz piano, and took her to a performance by Duke Ellington, where she met the man. After performing as a guest artist with the University of Chicago‘s theatre program, she enrolled at Juilliard as a theatre major, but soon transferred to music. She also studied journalism at New York University, desiring to work with Charles Kuralt. While in school, she discovered a Metropolitan Transit Authority cover-up that claimed a train crash was caused by an engineer high on illegal drugs, when no illegal drugs were in his system, according to the coroner’s report. ABC News hired her when she broke the story, and she worked with Diane Sawyer for the next five years. She then worked at NBC News for a year before taking time off to be a mother.
Her third album, In My Life, had a special promotion with Virgin Megastore, which sold it with an exclusive live DVD.
She currently lives in Westport, Connecticut. Her neighbors were Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, whom she considers role models for raising her family. Her mother continues to teach voice lessons in Chicago. Her father hosts a classical music program for Philadelphia radio, and her brother plays percussion with the New York Philharmonic.