Jeff Scott Soto (born November 4, 1965) is an American rock singer of Puerto Rican descent. He is most well known for being the lead singer for the group Talisman from 1990 till the end of Talisman in 2007, the vocalist on Yngwie Malmsteen's first two albums, and the lead vocalist for Journey on their 2006-2007 tours after Steve Augeri had to leave the band because of an acute throat infection. His style ranges from Hard Rock to Heavy & Power Metal, but he is also influenced by classic soul music singers such as Sam Cooke as well as Journey vocalist Steve Perry, and Freddie Mercury from Queen.
Soto came to prominence in the early 1980s via his involvement with several Yngwie Malmsteen records. The bands Soto has been involved in included Panther, Axel Rudi Pell, Eyes, Talisman, Takara, Humanimal, Human Clay, Kryst The Conqueror, Redlist, The Boogie Knights and Soul Sirkus.
Soto has sung background vocals on several albums by artists such as Lita Ford, Steelheart, Fergie Frederiksen, Glass Tiger, House Of Lords, Stryper, Saigon Kick, and many others.
He has released several solo albums as well. Soto also sang for the fictional band Steel Dragon, which featured Zakk Wylde, Jeff Pilson and Jason Bonham for the soundtrack of the movie Rock Star along with Michael Matijevic of the band Steelheart, whose second album featured Soto on background vocals.
He has also sung lead vocals on an album inspired by the TV series Biker Mice From Mars.
Soto performed at the 2000 annual OIQFC 'Freddie Mercury Birthday Party' at Reading in the UK, where he performed "Dragon Attack" with Brian May. Since that first meeting, Soto and May have become friends, and Soto has appeared with the SAS Band (Spike's All Stars), Queen sideman Spike Edney's band. Jeff also appeared with Brian May and Roger Taylor at the 'Hollywood Walk of Fame' bash for the Official International Queen Fan Club.
In 2006, Soto replaced Steve Augeri in Journey after Augeri left the tour due to an acute throat infection. On December 19, Soto was confirmed as the official lead singer for Journey and a press release was posted on the band's official site.
On June 12, 2007 it was announced on the same website that Journey had dismissed Soto as their lead singer. Soto addressed the issue by saying "I was looking forward to a long, prosperous future with these guys but it seems they wanted something different than I brought to the table. No love lost though, they know what's best for the preservation of their legacy. I wish them all the best but now it's time to continue working on my own path again".
Since his departure from Journey, Soto has continued to tour on his own account and has undertaken tours with Talisman, Tempestt and with a new band to promote the Beautiful Mess album released on download in 2008 and on Frontiers in February 2009.
He toured with Trans-Siberian Orchestra on their Winter Tours of 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012 and their Beethoven's Last Night spring concerts of 2010 & 2011. He was featured on the 2013 Winter Tour as well.
Soto has also come together with musicians of Work Of Art and Eclipse to co-create the new band W.E.T., Soto being of Talisman, hence the first initials of each band spells: W.E.T. The new band has released a self-titled debut album, out November 2009. Videos have been made for the tracks "One Love", "Comes Down Like Rain" and "Brothers In Arms".
On March 11, 2011 was released the single "Last Time (feat. Jeff Scott Soto)" from the Italian band Evolution, duetting with Jeff Scott Soto. This duet is getting a great success in Italy and abroad: in just a few hours after the release, the single placed 93 on Top 100 Best-Selling Pop Singles and stayed there for almost a week. The day after the release, the single also ranked 172 on the Italian Best-Selling Singles on iTunes. This track will also feature on the band debut album Evolution, released on November 11, 2011, where in addition to Jeff Scott Soto, also performing on the release are Derek Sherinian, Otep Shamaya and Italian drummer Mario Riso.
Soto's next solo Damage Control was released on Frontiers Records in March 2012. Soto also re-joined W.E.T. for the new album Rise Up which was released Feb 2013 worldwide on Frontiers Records. The band performed a live show in Stockholm in January 2013 that was released as a live DVD in '14.
Also in the Spring of 2012, Soto joined forces with Roger Taylor of Queen and was added as one of the 4 singers chosen for the official tribute band Queen Extravaganza. The band was formed via internet auditions and features Freddie Mercury soundalike Marc Martel but Jeff and singer Yvan Pedneault were added to the two final online singers so they could emulate Queen songs live more like the original recordings. Jeff did only one tour with them as QEX continue now with a smaller production and line up.
Soto is currently working on a new album which has only been described as 'very heavy', a return to his Metal roots yet in a modern setting. The album is co-written with Gus G (Ozzy Osbourne, Firewind guitarist), Mike Orlando (Adrenaline Mob), Jason Bieler (Saigon Kick) and others in his solo band. It will be his 1st album NOT on the Frontiers Records label.
The album aptly branded SOTO, removes Jeff from his solo name and incorporates his recent touring band as the line up for this new release, Inside The Vertigo. The album was released on Jan 30 2015 on earMUSIC in Europe, Feb 2015 on Ward Records in Japan and May 12 2015 in the US via eOne Music.
Jeff was the 2nd born to father Joseph and mother Mikki. His older brother by 14 months, Joey, is the only full blood sibling, he has a younger half sister Christina from his mother's side and 2 younger half brothers, Johnny and Joel from his dad's side. Born in Brooklyn NY, he, his brother and mother relocated to Los Angeles when Jeff was only 8. Already naturally musically inclined, Jeff was singing around the house according to him 'as long as he remembers being able to talk'.
Having a keyboard in the house at all times, he taught himself by ear how to play his favorite songs on the radio but it wasn't until middle school where he picked playing trumpet was when he learned to read music. Relating the technical end to what he'd already learned gave him the upper hand in his early bands, the 1st he fronted at the age of 12.
Already a veteran of numerous cover bands, in 1982 the teenaged Jeff Scott Soto recorded several original songs as lead singer for the band Kanan. Two years later a tape featuring those vocal performances proved instrumental in procuring Soto's audition with aspiring guitar hero with an unlikely name. At the time, Yngwie J. Malmsteen was a rising force in the heavy metal genre who had emigrated from snowy Sweden to sunny California at the urging of noted shred impresario Mike Varney. Upon his arrival in the Golden State, Malmsteen played on albums with Ron Keel's Steeler released on Varney's Shrapnel Records label. Soon garnering a reputation for being able to improvise classically-tinged melodies with the mathematical precision of Bach and the supersonic speed of Paganini while dressed like Ritchie Blackmore's long lost twin, Malmsteen parlayed his growing notoriety as the guitar community's Zorro into a job with the newly formed Alcatrazz, whose songs showcased the leather lungs of former Rainbow member Graham Bonnet backed by journeymen from '70s arena acts.
Dissatisfied with his earnings and feeling unable to bridge the chasm of the age difference between him and the other, older musicians, Malmsteen abdicated his throne as guitar prince of Alcatrazz to become king of his solo career instead, leaving that guitar spot in the extremely capable hands of future G3 tourmate Steve Vai. Singers from around the world vied for the attention of the man in black who abuses his scalloped-fretted Strats like some sort of pick scraping, cable wielding Joan Crawford, each hoping Yngwie would bestow upon him the opportunity to deliver the material's Dio-meets-Coverdale lyrics and melodies. In the end, though, it was Jeff Scott Soto's natural ability to project a mature and seasoned sound that would be the quality deemed necessary and desirable above all. Yngwie offered Jeff the gig in September 1984 after three weeks of recording demos at Yngwie's home in Los Angeles.
Jeff Scott Soto currently resides with his family in Los Angeles, California when he is not on tour. In early 2012 he married his long term girlfriend Elena, who was featured in Jeff's video "Look Inside Your Heart" from his 2012 album "Damage Control". Soto has a son from his first marriage named Jason, who is on the cover of Jeff's 1994 album "Love Parade", and two step-children, Joseph and Grace. Jason and Grace can be seen in the video for the song "NeverEnding War" from Soto's aforementioned album "Damage Control".
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license