Jill Winters

Lake Worth, FL
Certified StoryWay Guide

My love of the arts began at the age of three when my Mom decided she needed to take my energy out of the house and put it into tap, jazz, and ballet classes. My love of dance continued through high school and was only swayed by the joy I found in music. As a teenager, I was selected to fly to Paris, France to play clarinet and meet the world-renowned Guy Deplus; a most inspiring man and fellow clarinet player. Shortly after, during my senior year, I joined the ranks of college musicians performing as principal clarinetist in the Stony Brook University Orchestra. However, I knew that sitting and playing would not be enough to satisfy my roaring zest for life. So I leapt into new and exciting ventures.

I took to the world of entertainment working as a professional dancer/singer, and became the first female Master of Ceremonies in the crowd-motivating DJ and live band circuit, some may call it a cult. Next came acting in commercials and yearning to be a part of live theater; making myself a local fixture in community theater on Long Island. I soon launched into directing and producing live events, fashion shows, and charity functions, which led directly to my dream of performing in New York City Off-Broadway productions. It was here I began working with Elizabeth Swados, who took a liking to me, my style of stage direction, and ability to create melodies and harmonies on the spot, sometimes only ten minutes before showtime. Elizabeth was an amazing woman who had a great effect on me and my emerging career. So I toured as a soloist with Swados’ production of Bible Women for two years.

I began writing music for documentaries and short films. I worked in many studio recording sessions in New York, creating background vocals, coaching new vocalists, and performing voiceovers and commercials. I performed background vocals on the road with many artists including OC Smith and Clarence Carter. 

In November 1998, I created my own rock band to play my original music and signed a record deal with Blackheart Records and Universal. My first record release achieved mainstream success landing one of my hit songs at number 13 on the Billboard Music Hot 100 chart. Naturally, I decided to come up with a creative concept for the popular song and directed and starred in my own music video which would lead to top ten success on the Much Music video channel. Over the years, I have worked with many well-known artists, including Patti LaBelle, Linda Eder, Aretha Franklin, Marc Kudisch, Jon Secada, Debbie Gibson, Lillie McCloud, and Sisaundra Lewis.

Prior to my years as a solo artist, I had begun working with Cirque Dreams, singing on many shows and helping to create the company’s first public theatrical cirque style show at Bally’s Grand in Atlantic City. I eventually realized my affection for the circus and returned to Cirque Dreams (now a division of Cirque Du Soleil), helping to create a more theatrical, family friendly show in English, now known as Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy. This show went to Broadway in 2008. As creator of the leading role “Mother Nature", I was thrilled to perform every night and sing to my own composed score. I have gone on to create musical scores, radio and TV spots and studio events for more than 20 Cirque Dreams' brand productions.

Up until today, June 29, 2020, the year of the pandemic that took out live entertainment,  I was VP of Creative and Executive Director at Cirque Dreams, creating new productions, events, music, and finding extraordinary talent. I would continually seek new business leads and develop new concepts. I traveled around the world, representing the USA at many well-known circus festivals including Spain, Italy, Moscow, Israel, Monte Carlo and Budapest. My discovery of all kinds of unique talents, circus artists, dancers, musicians, and vocalists, continues to provide inspiration for all current and future productions. I managed these artists and productions from inception to completion to ensure that Cirque Dreams delivered the talent and spectacle that makes us so well-loved.

I look forward to new the chapter in my life, writing stories, copy and composing music and owning a brilliant creative marketing company. 

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