Born Patricia Ann
Brown, January 22, 1944, in Seattle, Washington, Pat, as she is
most often called, was raised in a 9-bedroom farmhouse in Kent,
Washington. Originally one of as many as 114 foster
children living in a multi-cultural environment, she and 3
others were adopted by Harold and Nora Johnston, swelling the
core family to 8.
Pat, a painfully shy,
quiet child, was always listening to music. Learning the
songs and singing along, she would often go down by the creek
that ran through her parent’s 14-acre farm and sing to her
reflection in the water; or sing to mirrors in the bathroom or
bedroom -- “pretending” to be a singer!
As she got older, she
began singing in talent shows in grade school and other school
events. But in the 4th grade, her favorite
teacher asked her to sing at her wedding. The moment came,
Pat was petrified, everyone was looking and listening and
waiting – she climbed upon a box and when she opened her mouth
to sing, a rough, uncontrollable “squawwwk” came out! She
started again, the second time worse than the first. She
climbed down off the box in tears and that’s when her fear of
singing in public transformed her into a closet performer.
As a teenager, she
was influenced by what she heard on the radio and began singing
everything that passed her ear. Then in the early 60’s she
met a man several years older who introduced her to Jazz!! --
vocalists like Billie Holiday, Carmen McCrae, Anita O’Day, Joe
Williams, Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Johnny Hartman,
Sarah Vaughn, Margaret Whiting – the list goes on!
Pat was absolutely
hooked. She couldn’t get enough of this new sound that was
consuming her every “listening” moment. Several years
later she met another man who was a jazz musician. This
long-term relationship introduced her to the instrumental side
of jazz; listening to artists like “Trane”, “Monk,” “Miles,”
“Byrd,” Chet Baker, Ray Brown, Maynard Ferguson, and so on.
During this time, she also had fallen in love with a new and
upcoming song stylist, Nancy Wilson! Nancy became the
epitome of everything Pat would like to be if she were ever to
become a singer – creative talent, beauty, elegance, and that
“certain something,” a profound sensuality in both her voice and
presence that she found in no other singer.
later, and as time and luck would have it, through a friend she
met Andrienne Wilson, an exceptionally talented and motivated,
nationally known jazz artist who lived and taught jazz
vocalizing at a local community college in Seattle, Washington.
Working with Andrienne as her vocal coach, Pat has challenged
her fear of singing in public and has appeared often at Tula’s,
a well-known jazz club and other venues, with rave