b. 29 September 1949, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Borla began studying singing at the age of 12, subsequently earning a BA degree in music from Barat College, Lake Forest, Illinois. She also studied at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. During this latter period, she joined Ineluctable Modality, a 12-voice chamber ensemble, the repertoire for which came from contemporary composers such as Mauricio Kagel, Morgan Powell and Iannis Xenakis. In 1986 in Canada, she was responsible for the creation of a vocal jazz curriculum at the Saskatchewan School of the Arts. Three years later, Borla founded the Janice Borla Vocal Jazz Camp, its stated objective being to ‘provide an educational and nurturing environment for aspiring jazz vocalists in an intensified, week long course of study and skills development conducted by a staff of professional jazz artists’. Widely praised for its intentions and accomplishments, the camp has become popular and successful. A measure of the quality of the teaching offered can be gained from noting the names of some who have taught there over the years: Karrin Allyson, Jay Clayton, Sheila Jordan, Kitty Margolis, Judy Niemack, Judi Silvano and Roseanna Vitro. In performance, Borla has worked with many noted names from the jazz world, including Gary Bartz, Johnny Frigo, Terry Gibbs, Charlie Haden, Bobby Shew, Clark Terry, and Bobby Watson, as well as leading her own group.
In the early 00s, while undertaking a busy performance schedule, Borla was also Director of Vocal Jazz with the Jazz Studies Program at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, and was a sought-after clinician at many educational establishments in North America and Europe. A strikingly talented singer, Borla’s searching intelligence results not only in many attractive performances, it also greatly enhances her capacity to teach and to bring out the best in her pupils thus helping ensure that the important traditions of jazz singing are maintained.