Pursuing a successful medical career has never stopped Dr. Bill Kwan from turning his attention to his other passion…jazz. One successful career does not necessarily have to preclude pursuing another. Although both appear to come from very different places, music and medicine require personal attention to each lyric, each patient, and each audience. Bill has learned through medicine that different approaches yield different results. So he has drawn on this ability to connect to people through song using what he has learned by listening. His approach has heart and sensitivity. As a successful sought-out speaker in the world of dermatology, Bill understands the human condition. You might say that Bill has a unique insight on how to nurture the external self, while applying the same care to the internal self.
Bill was brought up in the musically fertile times of the 70’s and 80’s in Los Angeles, California. The architecture of his musical influences began with a strong foundation. He listened carefully to the singers and songwriters whose melodies and lyrics on life and love still resonates. Steeped in vocal influences such as Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Carole King, Bill was drawn to music that provided substance and truth.
By the end of the 80’s, he explored new musicians that blended acoustic and electronic elements and found himself drawn to some of the British bands like Swing Out Sister, The Blow Monkeys, and ABC, each having components within the New Wave category, but using some jazz elements to help set them apart from the rest of the indie/pop groups of that era.
By the time he entered medical school at USC, he began to truly appreciate the vocal style that jazz artists had been performing for decades and whose music had became “standards.” His appreciation for jazz blossomed and he gravitated toward the art of the ballad.
With an unmistakable nod to the greatest jazz vocalists that had graced the gold standard of concert halls in Los Angeles, Bill gratefully acknowledges his influences as Mel Tormé, Ella Fitzgerald, Cleo Laine, and Nancy Wilson. These masters gave live performances at the Hollywood Bowl leaving an indelible impression on Bill’s musical styling. Realizing now that he was just floating on the surface of a vast musical ocean, he began diving deeper into the sensual sounds of bossa nova. The subtle swing and sultry Brazilian rhythms that Antonio Carlos Jobim, Stan Getz, João and Astrud Gilberto had developed in the early 60’s, gave Bill more insight into a completely different way to treat the music. By the late 90’s, Bill moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. He sought out an education to help him combine his growing interest in jazz and incorporate the poetic singer/songwriters style from his earlier years. He began to study with the esteemed vocalist Kitty Margolis.
Moving forward, Bill will continually branch out and develop as a storyteller who makes intelligent musical choices that will characterize him as a vocalist of sophistication and romance. Bill expresses himself with the heart and soul of man who understands that music is medicine. www.billkwan.com
"With great passion, Bill Kwan continues the tradition of depth and artistry of the jazz vocalist" from Producer, Musician, and Educator, Wayne Wallace
“Romance rules with Bill Kwan, a charming and engaging performer equally at ease with classic American songbook standards and with contemporary material. No matter the era of the song, it is all delivered with warmth and authenticity in an easy manner that makes me want to sit back, relax and just listen. Lovely.” Vocalist/Educator, Maye Cavallaro