Jeff Buckley was born in Orange County, California, in 1966 to Mary Guibert and Tim Buckley.
He was trained in guitar and music theory at a year-long program at the Musicians' Institute in Hollywood. Whilst there he listened to and experimented with reggae, jazz, metal and different genres of rock music. Some of his major musical influences were: Led Zeppelin, Robert Johnson and Nusrat Fati Ali Khan.
At the age of 23 after completing his program in California, he moved to New York and slowly built up a small fan base whilst playing in local nightclubs.
His father’s producer, Herb Cohen, set Jeff Buckley up with his first studio record which he flew to LA for, however in the October of 1992, he signed with Columbia Records for a million dollar, three-album deal.
In the summer of 1993 in Woodstock, New York, Mick Grondahl and Matt Johnson joined Jeff Buckley to make one of his most well-known records, “Grace”.
Jeff Buckley had a tenor vocal range which ranged from over three and a half to four octaves which can be heard in songs from the Album Grace, where, in some parts of the music he reached a high G in the tenor range.
Buckley’s most well-known tracks were “Last Goodbye”, “Lilac Wine” (based on the version by Nina Simone) and “Hallelujah” (originally by Leonard Cohen).
On May 29th 1997, Buckley and his band were in Memphis ready to begin recording their new album. However, that evening Buckley went swimming in the Wolf River Harbour which he had done several times before. Keith Foti, a member of his band, was with him but on the shore and reported that he went in singing “Whole lotta love” by Led Zepplin and when he looked away and looked back again he could no longer see Buckley. It is thought that the death was purely an accidental drowning.
After his death, many different collections of demos and recordings of his songs have been released in an album, the completion of which was overseen by his mother and former band members.