ANDREA WALLACE is an incredible embodiment of vocal virtuosity. A singer, songwriter and vocal instructor, she is a master at intricately blending classical, jazz, gospel and R&B to create a breathtaking style that is uniquely hers.
Andrea is a native of Dallas, Texas, a graduate of Booker T. Washington School for the Performing and Visual Arts, and an Alumna of The University of North Texas, where she earned her Bachelor of Music degree with an emphasis in Mu- sic Education and Voice.
Andrea was a member and featured soloist on the Stellar Award winning debut album “Set me free” by Myron Butler and Levi, as well as on their sophomore album entitled “Stronger.” She was also member of the platinum selling, Gram- my Award winning group God's Property (Kirk Franklin’s Nu Nation), which al- lowed her to work and perform with other artist including Stevie Wonder, Don- ald Lawrence, CeCe Winans, the late Walter Hawkins and Marvin Sapp.
Her love of jazz and R&B has allowed her to share the stage with some of the biggest names in smooth jazz including Kirk Whalum, Phil Perry, Tom Braxton, Kevin Whalum, Arlington Jones, and the late Wayman Tisdale just to name a few.
Recently Andrea has recorded and performed with Grammy nominated saxo- phonist and flautist, Najee as a featured soloist/songwriter on his 2015 release “Give it all we’ve got” (You, Me, and Forever). “She sang a song with me on- stage and blew the audience away away,” the multi-instrumentalist recalls. She is currently touring with Grammy award winning artist, Nelly Furtado.
In addition to performing, Ms. Wallace is very excited about the work she does as a vocal instructor. She was the Commercial Music Vocal instructor at Cedar Valley College for nine years, and has traveled nationally and internationally as a vocalist and voice teacher. She created 288 Vocal Studio, a private vocal studio, to help other artist develop their gifts and creative paths. When asked on the eve of opening her doors — what 288 was all about Andrea answered, "This is where talent and skill become one.”
“My sound is not so much straight-ahead jazz,” Ashleigh Smith claims. “It’s very R&B and funk infused. That’s a part of my upbringing and I love that about my singing.” The 27-year-old Dallas-based singer and songwriter was reflecting on what set her apart from other singers at the 2014 Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition of which she won. “I noticed it more when I was competing against other people. You are what you listen to.”
Raised in a nurturing, musically enriched household with her two sisters in LaGrange, Georgia, Smith seemed destined to become a musician. Her mother, Deborah Smith sang constantly even though she’s physical therapist by trade, while her father, Edwin Smith, is a pianist and former school band director. Smith also had a grandfather who played jazz saxophone; a grandmother who played classical piano and sang; and an uncle who played jazz trumpet. At the tender age of four, Smith began singing along records that her father played. “I would just imitate everything. When I heard Ella Fitzgerald’s ‘How High the Moon,’ that was it for me,” Smith fondly recalls.
But Smith also absorbed the sounds of Stevie Wonder, Prince, Bill Withers, and Sting during her early years. Those touchstones and several others echo on her August 19, 2016 Concord debut, Sunkissed, produced by Chris Dunn and Nigel Rivers. “I listen to a lot of new stuff but I really dig a lot of old stuff,” she says. “I wanted that side of me to be a part of the album. I believe in that older R&B and pop music and the time when real instruments were used. And while some of those old recordings with singers weren’t always perfect, they were beautiful. The mistakes are what made them beautiful.”
In choosing which covers to include on Sunkissed, she was mindful of exploring fresher terrain. That explains her winning renditions of Hall & Oates’ 1975 classic, “Sara Smile” and Chrisette Michele’s 2007 soul ballad, “Love Is You.” Other none originals include a R&B-inflected makeover of the Beatles’ 1968 gem, “Blackbird,” and mesmerizing a capella version of “Pure Imagination,” which features Smith harmonizing with herself via various overdubs.
Those covers are juxtaposed with enticing originals, many of which Smith co-wrote with bassist Nigel Rivers or guitarist Joel Cross. As a songwriter, Smith explores themes of romantic heartache (“Best Friends,” “Into the Blue,” and “Brokenhearted Girl”), self-empowerment (“Sunkissed”), and universal love (“The World Is Calling”).
Before Smith won the 2014 Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition, she studied classical music at Georgia’s Columbus State University on a full-ride scholarship. After attending a jazz camp at the prestigious University of North Texas, she transferred.
It was there that she met Rivers, Cross, and the cadre of other musicians, including percussionists AJ Flores and Greg Beck; pianists Shelton Summons and Sergio Pamies; and drummers Cedric Moore III, Marcus Jones, and Cleon Edwards. “The album features no big names,” Smith says. “I don’t think I tried for it to be that way. But I wanted people who have already been an integral part of my musical development. It was only natural for me that they would be on the first album because they played a big part into the making of who I am as a musician.”
Music teacher Rosanna Eckert also played a pivotal role in Smith’s musical development at the University of North Texas. The singer shows her respect to her mentor by including Eckert’s gorgeous composition, “Beautiful and True.” “Rosanna was one of my first teachers and biggest mentors there,” Smith says. “She’s a phenomenal singer, pianist and teacher. I wanted Rosanna to write a song because she knows my voice very well. I love her ease of lyrical expression. I love how fluid her lyrical thoughts are and how well they match her musical thoughts.”
Smith was already recording an EP before she won the 2014 Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition. She says the process of finding her voice and material was organic. “When it came to writing, my voice is what just came out,” Smith remembers. “I was very picky in choosing the musicians to help bring that out. I’m very big on authenticity. Everything was very organic – even up to the week of recording. That’s exactly what I wanted.”
Ashleigh Smith's full-length debut album, 2016's Sunkissed, is a languid, sophisticated combination of jazz and R&B that beautifully exhibits Smith's warmly resonant vocals. A graduate of the University of North Texas and winner of the 2014 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, Smith is a gifted singer with a burnished, romantic vocal style. While contemporary in tone, Smith is clearly as adept at delivering a jazz standard as she is a more modern pop tune. Produced by Chris Dunn and Nigel Rivers (who also handles most of the arranging), Sunkissed features a mix of originals and well-chosen pop covers reworked here with a nuanced and expansive soul-jazz style. Cuts like Hall & Oates' "Sara Smile" and the Beatles' "Blackbird" are transformed by Smith and her bandmates into flowing, harmonically rich grooves that touch upon the passionate R&B of Alicia Keys, the '70s soul of Stevie Wonder, and the forward-thinking jazz of Esperanza Spalding. Interestingly, Smith doesn't lock herself into the past -- she delivers an inspired, orchestral soul reading of former boss (whom she sang backup for) Chrisette Michele's "Love Is You." Similarly, Smith's originals, including the Latin-tinged "Best Friends" and the horn-driven "Into the Blue," are highlights that display her broad stylistic range. While Smith certainly has chops to spare as evidenced by her multi-tracked vocal harmonies on the classic standard "Pure Imagination," she generally sings in an understated, supple style that makes for a relaxing and intimate listening experience. In the end, it's Smith's relaxed warmth on Sunkissed that leaves you feeling good.
Aubree-Anna’s influences while growing up was everything from Country Music to the Classics from the Great American Songbook. As a little girl she’d pretend she was Dolly Parton, using the vacuum cleaner handle as a microphone instead of doing her chores. Aubree-Anna’s musical journey started in school choirs, competitions and plays. She attended Texas Military Institute (TMI) in San Antonio, TX. Aubree-Anna is a very well-known Dallas local favorite, and every week, her fans enjoy her music every Friday at WinStar World Casino & Resort (the world's largest casino) and every Saturday, at The Warwick Melrose Hotel in Dallas – A Dallas Historical Landmark. Aubree-Anna has performed at The Big State Fair of Texas for 5 years in row on the main Chevrolet Stage.
Currently, Aubree-Anna is very excited about her latest original cd, recorded in Nashville, TN. Recording her original songs CD EP at one of Nashville’s most prestigious and historic recording facilities located in the heart of Music Row. Aubree-Anna had the pleasure of working with Jeff Wood and Kevin Beamish on this project.
For the eyes of a man, for the heart of a woman: Mahogany is a true artist for any music advocate to love. Candace "Mahogany" Miller is a native of Dallas, TX (Richardson). She has been a vocalist all of her life, playing both piano and drums, while keeping a steady hand in writing and production. Mahogany and her band JAMBOX bring to you unforgettable performances that features an amazing mix of jazz, soul, and even a bit of blues, infusing tunes you know and love with original material they had made popular on the music scene. She has frequented clubs and restaurants locally including, Dallas Museum of Art, Buttons Restaurant, Sandaga Jazz, Devine Wine, Brooklyn Jazz, and was a weekly performer at former Sambuca Jazz (Addison), She has been honored to be featured with artist such as Roy Hargrove, Texas Tenor Jason Davis, Jazz Vet Roger Boykin, and she has shared a stage with greats like smooth Jazz artist David Sanborn, The Late Great Marchel Ivrey, Organist Soul Man Red Young, band leader Joe Firstman, and Blood Sweat and Tears member and classic rock artist Bill Tillman. Mahogany has stretched her soul vocals singing back ground with world-renowned bass player Foley (Miles Davis/Joni Mitchel/Chaka Khan). She graced the stage with percussionist Victor Orlando (GAP band, Tina Marie, Chaka Khan) live in Dallas and has also recently served as Music Director for artist Dani Mimms (Klymaxx) live in Dallas. Mahogany has been a featured vocalist in the super GOGO Band, under the direction of 5-time Grammy Award winner Shaun Martin (7 Summers, Snarky Puppy) for the past six years.
Mahogany is an educator and motivator. She has recently pioneered an amazing movement and her biggest dream, The Jazz BeCuzz Arts Group and Center. This improvisational driven school of thought is quickly becoming a nationwide arts movement for families. While teaching students ranging in age from 3 to 95, she is still making headway in the industry through her own recording and through collaborations. Mahogany's Debut CD titled JAMBOX is currently distributed digitally world-wide and being sold via iTunes and CDbaby. Mahogany’s national and international journey has lead to several prestigious performances including the various city and state political events, striking performances with the Stage Band South Big Band, playing for the Mexican Consulate (featured vocalist with Jason Davis Jazz Band), Jazz in Pink, taking the stage at the House of Blues in LA and playing privately for many elected officials throughout the years. Her music can be heard as far as Russia via both internet and mainstream radio and her voice has been featured on movie sound tracks including YOU GOT SERVED, KINGS RANSOM and SOUL PLANE. Mahogany is a staff writer, producer and engineer with the Dallas Track Factory. You can hear and purchase Mahogany on the most recent JAZZ BECUZZ Jazz 101 release HER SONG (releasing Dec 1, 2015) and is currently recording her next feature CD project with award winning producer Shaun Martin (Spring 2016)
Carolyn Lee Jones, the vocalist, burst onto the Dallas Jazz scene in 2008. Though music was a large part of her formative years in Nebraska, she was lured to the big city of Dallas to pursue a career with luxury retailers. She happily traveled the world. Her love of music never ceased and she sought out opportunities to sing while flourishing in her first profession. Her musical career as a vocalist and bandleader was a natural next choice. Carolyn is living proof that is is possible to reinvent yourself. From classic jazz to vintage pop, she makes the standards sound new and the new sound standard. Sophistication, style and panache, Carolyn Lee Jones is as unique as each engagement where she performs. She loves what she does and brings her best talents to each, be it a public venue or private affair. Carolyn performs with her stellar group of musicians as a duo, trio, quartet, quintet, small group and big band.
Corey Breedlove is a singer/songwriter/entertainer born and raised in Dallas, Texas. Although never formally taught, Breedlove developed a strong connection with music through means of guitar and songwriting at a young age. After years of writing, recording, and performing with several original psychedelic rock groups throughout grade school, Breedlove developed a passionate interest with tunes from the Great American Songbook, following a spontaneous purchase of a $1 Sinatra CD at his local bookstore. "The music spoke with grace I had never heard." Immediately after, Breedlove began the formation of a group that would become his jazz combo.
Damon has been privileged to perform with luminaries like Bernard Wright, Caleb McCampbell, Liz Mikel, Tatiana Mayfield, Neeki Bey, and most recently Myles Tate III to name a few. Although Damon has performed in Europe, all over the United States, and in many venues across DFW such as the Winspear Opera House, Dallas City Performance Hall, and the Dallas Museum of Art, he considers Oak Cliff’s Kessler Theater to be his artistic home. Damon’s gifts are not confined to singing. He is a producer of live concerts and shows, is a very active arts advocate and consultant and happens to be one of the busiest professional vocal coaches in the Dallas. From beginners to professional vocalists, outside of singing, Damon’s passion is assisting vocalists to use their gifts in the most effective and brilliant manner possible.
A professional singer/voice over artist, I currently returned to my Dallas/Ft. Worth roots, but worked in New York for over twenty years. I’ve done hundreds of voice overs and thousands of singing jobs which include jingles, studio sessions, jazz gigs as well as corporate and social gigs. Voice over clients include MasterCard, Allstate, Travelocity, and Johnson&Johnson. Ballads, Latin, smooth and swing jazz plus pop.
Hailing from Fort Worth, TX, Ginny Mac fronts a dynamic group that brings a fresh and exciting twist to vocal and instrumental stylings in the Country & Western Swing, Americana, Hot Jazz, and International music genres. Ginny is also a former member of the two-time Grammy Award winning group Brave Combo based in Denton, TX. She endorses Menghini s.r.l. Scandalli Accordions based in Castelfidardo, Italy.
Ginny has recorded four albums; the newest release in Spring 2014, “On The Street Where You Live,” is a collection of classic tunes and originals, featuring many of her friends and greatest musical heroes. The project includes Grammy Award winners Woody Paul and Joey Miskulin (Riders In The Sky), legendary Nashville fiddler Buddy Spicher, the great bassist Bob Moore (Roy Orbison), and several of Nashville’s premier musicians. “It was an unforgettable experience,” she says, “I was fortunate to learn so much and make music with these wonderful people.”
When she is not busy with an active touring schedule, Ginny is writing and arranging new original music for an upcoming album and collaborating on multiple musical projects. Her other passions include blogging, painting, and recently, exploring the world of photography. "I find inspiration in the world around me," she says. "Whether it is a stranger sitting on a park bench, or the shadow a broken chair makes on the sidewalk, there is beauty in ordinary, everyday things. And I love the way inspiration from my other interests finds its way into my music."
Heather Paterson studied music at SMU where she received a degree in opera, vocal performance, and music pedagogy. She subsequently taught voice in the Dallas area and sang with several jazz and pop groups. After several years of teaching and performing in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, she returned to college to study nursing, earning two associate degrees, one bachelor’s, and her master’s in science and nursing.
Heather has had a long career (more than 25 years) as a pediatric nurse at Children's Medical Center Dallas, and is currently a Masters' prepared Nurse Practitioner in the Pediatric Palliative Care Department at Children's. She is one of only 69 nurses in the USA certified in pediatric hospice and palliative care (CHPPN).
She returned to the music scene in the 1980s after a 10 year absence and, along with her husband, saxophonist Walter Pearson and pianist Jody Binford, founded The Straight Ahead® Jazz Quintet (aka Straight Ahead®). With the band she performs at corporate events, private parties and area restaurant/clubs. The band’s name says it all about its favorite jazz form. The group has played at the WinStar Casino and at jazz festivals in Corpus Christi and Lake Texoma, the Dallas Jazz Society's Salute to Duke Ellington, The Denton Arts and Jazz Fest, Fort Worth’s Main Street Art Fest and the Taste of Dallas in The West End.
Heather freelances with other jazz groups and big bands, too, including The Celebration Orchestra, Swing Time, and Pecos River Brass. Her inspirations are the famed practitioners of the Great American Song Book, most particularly the late Ella Fitzgerald. She also counts Sarah Vaughan, Chet Baker, Carmen McCrae, and Keith Jarrett (not his singing!) as influential.
She has performed with many local favorites, including Neil Slater, her most significant musical mentor, Dave Zoller, Jeffry Eckels, and Brian Piper along with conducting vocal forums for the vocal division of the Department of Jazz Studies at UNT. Heather has been the featured performer many times at Sammons Jazz, performed in the inaugural season of Sammons Cabaret, and was the 2011 recipient of the Sammons Jazz Artist of the Year award.