- region:North America
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Whether live or recorded, backed by a trio or small circus of instruments -- Jamie Leonhart's smoky 3+ octave voice dances freely in the vocal lines, delivering intricate melodies with warmth and simplicity.
Leonhart's music captures the freedom and unpredictability of jazz improvisation and the gut-instinct of soul and the blues.
"Living in New York, it is impossible not to draw ideas from the City's soundscape -- music of the world heard in taxi cabs, folk singers in the subway, classical concerts in Central Park, samba & merengue streaming out of apartment windows during summertime, kirtan (devotional chanting) in yoga studios' the list goes on."
"I walk around with my ears open. I note and record melodic ideas drawn from passing inspirations."
Leonhart has a similar approach to the stories of the songs. Her lyrics are inspired by reading poetry, novels, articles in literary magazines -- listening to the conversations of people on the street. With open ears, Leonhart finds inspiration inevitable.
"I feel constant movement and growth in my writing and performing. When writing or choosing lyrics, lately I've been exploring the emotional and creative rewards of honesty and simplicity -- there's a kind of false sense of safety in being mysterious and clever."
Jamie's first solo venture, area, a six-song EP independently released in 2002, was shaped with the collaboration of producer/musician/husband Michael Leonhart (solo artist, Sunnyside Records, arranger and trumpeter, Steely Dan, Lenny Kravitz), and has received acclaim from ASCAP Magazine and the Aquarian Weekly among other publications. She also has worked with noted producers Patrick Dillett (They Might Be Giants, B-52's) and Rob Stevens (John Lennon Anthology, Yoko Ono).
Prior to the release of area, Jamie gained attention as a songwriter when "It's Over," a song she co-wrote, placed sixth in the first International John Lennon Songwriting Contest.
In addition, Jamie has garnered respect as a soloist with the New York Metro Mass Gospel Choir in the great venues of New York City ˆ Jazz @ Lincoln Center's Rose Hall, Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall and Town Hall - for notable audiences including jazz great Cassandra Wilson. She has shared the stage with artists including Martha Wash, Cissy Houston, Daphne Rubin-Vega and songwriter Beth Neilsen-Chapman and has performed at some of New York's finest club venues, including The Knitting Factory, Rockwood Music Hall, the Living Room, Makor and Smoke.