Mavis Rivers

Photo Credit: Jane Ussher, NZ Portrait Gallery

Mavis Chloe Rivers

Apia, Samoa

At the start of World War II she started her jazz singing career entertaining U.S troops in Pago Pago, American Samoa. Rivers was also a nightclub singer, popular broadcaster and one of New Zealand’s most famous female jazz singers.

Recipient of a scholarship to BYU in Provo, Utah.
1949 – Mavis recorded her first 78 rpm record with TANZA label. Rivers went on to record over 40 songs as a soloist, in duets and as a guest singer with many popular bands of that era.
Mavis later recorded with another iconic New Zealand record label in the music industry, Zodiac.
Rivers also appeared on ‘The Steven Allen’ show and other television programmes.
First Samoan Jazz singer in the world
First Samoan and Pacific Islander to be signed to Frank Sinatra’s Reprise label
First Samoan and Pacific Islander to record with iconic TANZA and Zodiac labels in New Zealand
Performed in the Royal Variety show for Queen Elizabeth II
Performed at the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts in Wellington, New Zealand
Performed at the Jazz and Blues festival in Auckland, New Zealand
Honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2013 New Zealand Pacific Music Awards
Frank Sinatra is said to have described her as the ‘purest voice’ in jazz, comparing her to Ella Fitzgerald

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