Property manager Donna Singer shines—whether it’s helping a customer find the perfect storage unit, belting out the national anthem at a Miami Dolphins home game or impressing crowds at show-stopping jazz performances.
Once you get to know Singer, you are wrapped up in her warmth, energetic kindness and unapologetic honesty about who she is onstage.
“We are so blessed to have Donna as a part of our team and lives. No matter the situation, she brings joy and happiness to it and we all are better off for having her in our lives,” said Jack Sparks, a district manager for Public Storage based in Florida.
The jazz vocalist and property manager reflects on her career on the stage and off, working for our Orange Doors.
Growing Up With Music
Singer moved to Florida about eight years ago. Prior to that, she and her husband, Roy, were living in Upstate New York where her passion for music began.
A native of upstate New York, both her parents were jazz aficionados. Her dad taught her to love instrumental jazz musicians like John Coltrane; her mom introduced her to the legendary voices of Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald.
Singer grew up going into Manhattan with her family to see live concerts and musicals, but it wasn’t until she saw a production of “The Wiz” that sealed the deal for her future: she wanted to pursue a career on Broadway.
After high school she moved to New York City to make her dream a reality. She graduated from the New York Academy of Theatrical Arts, and also studied at the Juilliard School.
But her career in Broadway was short-lived—by choice.
“It occurred to me way back then that I was a solo performer,” she explained.
It was in New York that she met songwriter Roy Singer from Kansas. When the two later married, Donna did not take his last name at first.
“I thought it would be too ridiculous,” she said. “But I love this man, I’m doing it.”
They have been married for 24 years and have one son, Christopher. Roy Singer continues to support her career and at times joins her for special performances.
Since launching her music career, Singer has released eight albums, become a member of the Recording Academy (of the Grammy Awards fame), and traveled the world to amaze audiences with her powerhouse voice.
Performing for Audiences
For Singer, music is about connecting with people and creating a moment they won’t forget, which is why she’s always talking and interacting with her audience in-between songs.
“I know I’m a diva, and I’m going to give you the show of your life,” she said, adding she loves performing no matter the size of the crowd.
“The best thing is music transcends language and time,” said the jazz vocalist. “I sing a lot of Great American Songbook but I also throw in a Tina Turner classic.”
While she’s performed all around the world, one of her most memorable experiences was singing in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Another favorite was in Torino, Italy, where she was invited to perform at a restaurant as part of a jazz series.
“They jammed the restaurant,” she recalled. “To see all these people, who could not speak a lick of English, and we went on until midnight because they loved it and would not let us stop.”
It even drew people from outside on the street, who peered through the window to catch her performance.
One other memorable experience was singing the national anthem at a Miami Dolphins game.
“That was amazing—35,000 people. Wow,” said Singer, momentarily at a loss for words.
“The Star-Spangled Banner” is notoriously difficult to perform live. When asked if she was nervous, Singer confidently said no.
To prepare she had practiced singing the anthem every day for three weeks straight.
“I knew it, so I couldn’t get it wrong.”
She takes that work ethic into anything she’s asked to do. Singer used to give voice lessons and teach piano and she uses that coaching experience to help her get ready to perform.
Last year the jazz singer put on an amazing show with the award-winning Diamond Jazz Orchestra, and a few people from the Public Storage team attended the concert to show their support.
“It literally blew all of us away,” said Sparks. “I had a pretty good idea of her talent, but seeing it live and in person was a treat I will never forget. She is the epitome of a jazz singer and her ability to cover so many types in that genre was fantastic.”
Joining the Public Storage Team
Singer has been with Public Storage for four years and has loved every moment of it.
“I enjoy the job,” she said. “I love coming to work in the morning. I have a lot of pep in my step and the customers know me.”
Singer said all her coworkers and managers have been great colleagues and even better supporters of her music.
Her smile and bubbly personality make our customers love her from day one, said Sparks.
“She is willing and able at any time to help out at any property, not just her own. It doesn’t matter if it is her day off, 30 minutes away, or short notice, Donna is there,” Sparks added.
In addition, she has a passion for helping others be successful.
“She enjoys nothing more than one of our trainees getting out on their own and then celebrating their success,” he said. “Her enthusiasm is contagious and she helps to bring out the best in all of our team.”
And customers like Felicia H. have taken notice as well.
“Donna was absolutely incredible and made the rental process so smooth,” Felicia shared recently in an online review. “Her generosity and kindness definitely showed as someone who genuinely cares for people.”