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Darryl Tookes

Darryl Tookes profile photo

Darryl Tookes


Exceptional facility, preternatural vocal range, and expression make American singer, pianist, composer, arranger, producer, and educator Darryl Tookes one of the few artists of his stature in the world today. In a career spanning more than three decades, Mr. Tookes has worked with Quincy Jones, Leonard Bernstein, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Roberta Flack, Sting, Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, Burt Bacharach, George Benson, Luther Vandross, Nile Rogers, Al Jarreau, Natalie Cole, Carly Simon, Stevie Wonder, Steve Tyrell, Rod Stewart, Elton John, Ramsey Lewis, Laurie Anderson, Ray Charles, Carmen McRae, Nancy Wilson, Grover Washington, Jr., Carmen McRae, Bobby McFerrin, Todd Rundgren, Lionel Ritchie, Christina Aguilera, Patti Austin, Laurie Anderson and many other music figures.

One of the first African-Americans to chart in the Adult Contemporary category of Billboard magazine, Darryl Tookes experienced pop success on his own terms as a songwriter, artist and producer in his formal introduction to the music industry with the debut of his self-penned classic Lifeguard reaching #3 on the Billboard Charts. He sees being recently named Director of the Institute for Music Research and Music Industries Studies at Florida A&M University as a continuation of this legacy. Darryl Tookes’ voice has often been described as angelic. Broadway Orchestrator Joseph Joubert whose credits include The Color Purple, Motown The Musical, Billy Elliot and Carmen Jones puts it this way, among colleagues “We all see Darryl as an artist of unequaled stature.” Perhaps the words of Blue Note Records Chairman Emeritus, the legendary Bruce Lundvall say it best, “Darryl Tookes a signature artist.”

In addition to recently being named to helm the FAMU Music Institute, Mr. Tookes is a highly sought-after clinician and pedagogue who has taught Voice at New York University in the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, and Tisch School of the Arts. He has been a Lecturer in Music at The State University of New York at Purchase College, on the Voice Faculty of Fairfield University, and offered a position at Berklee College of Music. Mr. Tookes was founding Musical Director of Black to Broadway, presenting the talents of an array of leading African-American performers including Tony winners Melba Moore, Jennifer Holiday, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Billy Porter. A number of today’s Broadway stars are former students of Mr. Tookes.

A distinguished composer, producer, concert artist, Mr. Tookes has performed at Carnegie Hall, the White House for Presidents Clinton and Obama, in New York at The Apollo Theater, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, Café Carlyle, Blue Note Jazz Clubs in New York and Japan, London’s Royal Albert Hall, Oslo Concert Hall, among venues worldwide. He has appeared on Saturday Night Live, Oprah, Late Night with Letterman, and many national television shows, and has performed for dignitaries Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, The Most Reverend Michael Curry, Muhammed Ali, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Maya Angelou, and Sidney Poitier. Mr. Tookes has served as member of the Board of Governors of the Recording Academy, Board of the Society of Singers, Chairman of the New York Singers Collective, NY City Parks Foundation Arts Board.

Professional Experience

  • Concerts/Cabaret
  • Education
  • TV/Film
  • Tours


  • NYC/Tri-State Area
  • Other Countries

Hireable as

  • Theatrical Composer (Music and Lyrics)

My Instruments

  • Piano
  • Voice




  • He/Him