As part of her Kaboom Pow – The Little Secret Tour With Guests, Nikki Yanofsky will perform at the Capitol Theatre in Moncton on Sunday, January 18th, 2015 and at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium in Halifax on Monday, January 19th, 2015. Both shows begin at 8 pm.
From her auspicious start as the youngest headliner in the history of the Montreal International Jazz Festival at age 12, Nikki Yanofsky has covered plenty of territory over the last eight years. She has topped both jazz and pop charts, performed with orchestras and big bands, and sold out festivals and major theatres around the world; in 2010, she sang to 3.2 billion people – half the world’s population – at the Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Games.
She has worked with luminaries such as Herbie Hancock, Phil Ramone, Will.i.am, Wyclef Jean, and Stevie Wonder and now, under the guidance of her greatest fan and mentor, Quincy Jones, Nikki is ready to introduce her own captivating new sound. Get ready to be amazed by her inimitable voice as she arrives at the unique crossroad where jazz meets pop, delivering sizzling songs that blend retro charm with a contemporary sound helmed by Rob Kleiner, the man behind exciting music by Cee-lo Green and Flo-Rida. Many of the tracks are also Produced and co-Produced by Montreal’s own Dan Cinelli, who also owns the venerable Planete Studios – arguably Montreal’s best recording studio. Quincy Jones helped guide the recording and serves as the Executive Producer on the album.
Nikki’s second studio release, Little Secret, to be released later this year, combines pop-song structures with sophisticated harmonies, club-ready beats with punchy big-band horns, and earworm hooks with scat singing solos. It’s all held together by her powerful delivery, as well as a newfound sass. Jazz aficionados and pop lovers alike will find themselves irresistibly lured in.
Nikki was bitten by the jazz bug at an early age, and there was no denying her prodigious gifts: by 11, in 2005, she was singing guest spots in clubs, and the next year, she wowed 100,000 people onstage at the jazz festival in her hometown, Montreal. She could reproduce the trickiest scatting performances of her heroine, Ella Fitzgerald, with dead-on pitch and articulation, adding her own youthful verve. In 2008, she released her first album, Ella … of Thee I Swing; as a CD/DVD package, it went Gold, was nominated for two Juno Awards (making her the youngest multiple-Juno nominee in history), and served as a remarkable calling-card. By 14, she had performed and recorded with the New York Philharmonic, Washington, D.C.’s National Symphony Orchestra, and Herbie Hancock – not to mention pop stars Will.i.am and Wyclef Jean.
On her first studio album, Nikki (Decca, 2010), she spread her wings, penning some of her own tunes with help from Canadian indie hero Ron Sexsmith and Grammy winning singer/songwriter Jesse Harris. Produced by 14-time Grammy-winner Phil Ramone, Nikki ranged in style from the sashaying swing of “I Got Rhythm” to the stately sweep of the quadruple-platinum single “I Believe,” and in Canada, it hit #1 on the jazz chart and #6 in pop and was nominated for the Vocal Jazz Album of the year. Audiences far and wide caught on too: the album went gold in France as well as in Canada, and in the US, it debuted at #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart for new artists. iTunes worldwide declared it the Vocal Jazz Album of the Year, and Nikki followed it up with her second DVD, Live in Montreal – also certified gold in Canada.
For Little Secret, Nikki has drawn on the impeccable taste and crossover wisdom of her co-manager Quincy Jones, who has been bridging gaps between jazz and pop since the ‘60s. She had brought jazz into a pop context before, performing with Hancock in 2011 for the MusiCares Person of the Year tribute to Barbra Streisand, and singing at a Los Angeles tribute to Carole King with a big band conducted by Jones himself.
In the studio with Rob Kleiner and Dan Cinelli, Nikki brought together the immediacy of her pop work with the depth of her jazz. Her approach is epitomized by the track “Something New,” which cheekily adapts the hooks from Jones’s “Soul Bossa Nova” and Hancock’s “Watermelon Man” to a strutting groove, and features the full breadth of Nikki’s vocals, from a soulful roar to a kittenish growl. Elsewhere, she stirs familiar elements together in surprising ways: “Necessary Evil”, produced by Harmony Samuels, uses the horns from Charles Aznavour’s “Parce Que Tu Crois” and “Blessed with Your Curse,” for instance, builds a soulful, breakbeat-led song on a scatted riff; “Enough of You” is a dynamic kissoff track with angelic harmonies, and the title-track, “Little Secret” refashions the exuberant rhythm from Benny Goodman’s “Sing Sing Sing” as the basis for a sly, prowling number.
Her slower songs are equally compelling, and “People Are Strange,” one of the album’s two covers, re-envisions The Doors’ classic as a mysterious orchestral ballad. She drew inspiration for her version from the bullies she faced in high school; Nikki supports Bullying Awareness Week, in addition to being an ambassador for the Montreal Children’s Hospital, The Children’s Wish Foundation, and MusiCounts.
Nikki calls Little Secret “a mix of Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Ray Charles, and Quincy – mixed with me.” She describes the two years she’s spent honing her new sound as a time that allowed her “to separate from the kid to the adult and the artist that I am now.” This tour, Nikki will be playing her new material – and older favourites – with a fresh, young band, and proving to everyone that this former prodigy is well on her way to fulfilling her extraordinary promise.
Tickets for the Moncton and Halifax shows go on sale this Friday, October 10th at 12 noon.
Tickets for the Moncton show range from $47.75 – $60.75 (including tax and applicable surcharge) and will be available at the Capitol Theatre Box Office (811 Main St.), by phone at (506) 856-4379 / 1-800-567-1922 and online at capitol.nb.ca, evenko.ca and livenation.com.
Tickets for the Halifax show range from $41.00 – $54.50 (including tax and applicable surcharge) and are available at the Dalhousie Arts Centre Box Office (6101 University Ave.), by phone at (902) 492-3820 / 1-800-874-1669 and online at artscentre.dal.ca, evenko.ca and livenation.com.
The shows are for all ages and doors open at 7 pm.
evenko is a Quebec company, which has become the most important independent promoter and producer in Canada. Presenting more than 1,000 musical, family and sporting events annually throughout the province of Quebec, Atlantic Canada and the eastern United States, evenko plays host to the biggest entertainers in the world and invests in the development and promotion of Quebec artists. Creator and producer of two major festivals, the Osheaga Music and Arts festival and Heavy MTL which are held at Parc Jean-Drapeau in Montreal, evenko is also the exclusive manager of the Bell Centre, the Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre and the future Place Bell in Laval. In January 2014, Pollstar, the industry’s most respected source, ranked evenko top promoter in Canada and 10th amongst the most important promoters in North America. The evenko trademark is the property of L’Aréna des Canadiens Inc.
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