by Delfina Asinari
Bernadette Bascom was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1962. Her father, Marion Bascom, was a Baptist minister and civil rights activist while her mother, Lutherine Bascom, was a music teacher. She was interested in music at a young age. Bascom started her career as a disc jockey before she began singing and performing. She visited Seattle on one of her first tours and decided she wanted to move to the Pacific Northwest. As an artist she has shared the spotlight with many music icons including Elton John and Ashford & Simpson. She was also the first artist to contract with Stevie Wonder’s record label Black Bull. Bascom is best known for her song “Seattle Sunshine/I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love” which she released in 1981. During her career as an artist she moved to Las Vegas where she performed on Divine Divas. After 17 years, Bascom decided to move back to the Seattle area where she continues to perform at local venues and give back to the community through vocal coaching. She also created a musical production called PRAISE! A Sunday Gospel Supper performed by a 25 member choir which played at the Triple Door in downtown Seattle.
In 2007 she started The Music Project of Northshore, a community-based non-profit organization which provides vocal lessons to students in the Northshore school district. This project started at the Secondary Academy of Success, an alternative high school in Bothell, Washington. Bascom’s vision with The Music Project was to create inclusivity within the world of music. The program focuses on including students with disabilities in music. The inclusion piece has come from Bascom’s desire and ability to bring children from varying backgrounds together to a common place where they can be compassionate, then have fun together. Bascom’s vision for this project stemmed from research that concludes that group singing is the most exhilarating and transformative experience. Bascom takes pride in her work; her interviews reference the joy that she and her students feel and the many relationships she has built with her students throughout the years. Bascom also teaches performance and voice in contemporary pop/ rock, gospel and R&B at Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. Upon her arrival to Northwest University in 2009, she donated $10,000 worth of supplies to the college’s music program. In 2013 she received an Emmy for a documentary about The Music Project called Bernadette’s Touch. Through her work Bascom shows that the most important elements of her program are acceptance, friendship and trust.