American Idol coach Debra Byrd dies as heartbroken Jennifer Hudson leads tributes

Debra Byrd, a 72-year-old American Idol coach who has coached with several famous singers,  has passed away. She worked with well-known artists including Bob Dylan and Barry Manilow and was best known for her work as a vocal coach on American Idol.

Jennifer Hudson sent a heartfelt tribute to her coach. She penned,  “Heartbroken over the passing of Debra Byrd, the vocal coach on American Idol.” She also added, “She encouraged and supported us from the very beginning ! I am so grateful for everything she taught us. She will be dearly missed, but her legacy lives on through the music of countless artists she influenced during her lifetime.”

Throughout the year, the talented coach, well-known for her roles on American Idol, The Voice and Canadian Idol, worked with major artists like Bob Dylan and Barry Manilow. She contributed to the careers of Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson.

Byrd, a Cleveland, Ohio native, was a member of Manilow’s backup group Ladyflash. She met Bob Dylan during his Hard to Handle: Bob Dylan in Concert tour in Australia in the mid-1980s.For the first ten seasons of American Idol, she worked as a vocal coach. As a member of the Academy Awards choir, she performed in 2018.

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