By Patte Purcell

What do Cleer, Prince, Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross and Barbara Streisand have in common? They all have the same vocal coach, Seth Riggs.

Who mentored Cleer on recording? None other than Dave Knight who also happens to be the genius master engineer for Quincy Jones and the man who engineered “Thriller” and “Purple Rain”.

My good friend Michael Matera who is a booking agent, called me up and suggested I take a look at a new artist for the jam. I watched some video of him and agreed this guy is something special. He mentioned a little about his background and I decided to do a column on him and include him in the next Celebrity Jazz Jam at Desert Willow.


His style is urban soul/jazz R&B. His smooth silky voice is reminiscent of some of the greats.

He’s a native of Scottsdale, Arizona and first came to LA as a fashion designer of men’s and women’s clothing. He designed for Bill Blass. He designed clothing for celebrities including Ava Gabor and Gayle Fisher (Peggy on Mannix).

He left an extremely promising career in design to pursue his real love, music. He was taken under the wing of Dave Knight who introduced him to the nuances of recording. In the same studio were 2 other artists. One of them was Prince, the other was Kimo Hornwell (Hiroshima keyboardist and arranger) who also mentored him.

His entry into the recording world was eased by Terry Steele who wrote “Here and Now” for Luther Vandross. Then he met Seth Riggs the vocal coach. Cleer auditioned and Seth told him he had ‘perfect pitch’ and wanted to coach him personally.

He recorded his first song “Just Can’t Wait” and started radio play when he got a call from Georgie Porgie a dance mix devo who flew him to Chicago to do a dance club version which introduced him to that side of the industry. It had a ‘Silent release’ on Promo Only and was an instant hit.

Ultimately he decided that his passion was in the traditional vocals so he continued to hone his voice and to establish his brand.

He was introduced to Mickey Stevens, a former VP at Motown, who brought in Dick Scott of Motown, who told him ‘you have something but you need to work on it.’ Scott’s clients included George Benson, En Vogue, Boys to Men, and New Edition. He discovered Cleer and he was working with him when he passed away suddenly.

Cleer is poised for greatness.

He’s recorded “What You Won’t Do for Love,” the Bobby Caldwell hit, and launched it to radio where it blew up and debuted at #38 on the urban R&B Billboard charts. It hit the top 40s on 130 radio stations where it was heard by over 17 million listeners. It’s also done exceptionally well in the UK. He will soon be coming out with a new single “Are You Willing.”

You can contact Cleer by contacting his agent Michael Matera (818-599-1900).

To see Cleer up close and personal he will be performing at the Celebrity Jazz Jam at Desert Willow Golf Resort on Monday, May 16, from 6-9. There will be an artist ‘Meet and Greet’ at 5:30 if you’d like to speak with him. For tickets visit