- Written by Rick Thompson
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Jazz a la Carte, May 13 & 14, 2011. Nikki Yanofsky is a 17-year-old musical prodigy from Montreal. At the age of 13, Nikki became the youngest artist ever signed to Verve Records, when she recorded Airmail Special for the compilation We All Love Ella: Celebrating The First Lady Of Song. In 2008, Nikki's debut release, Ella...Of Thee I Swing, a live tribute to Nikki’s hero, Ella Fitzgerald, earned two Juno nominations. Nikki’s musical education was further enhanced by collaborations with such jazz luminaries as The Count Basie Orchestra, Oliver Jones, and The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.
Nikki's career spiked in February of 2010, when she performed before an estimated TV audience of 3.2 billion people, singing the Canadian national anthem at the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies in Vancouver. Nikki was also chosen to sing the official Olympics song, "I Believe," the release of which went 4x platinum in Canada, making Nikki the youngest artist in Canada to ever go 4x platinum.
In spring of 2010, Nikki released her first studio album, Nikki, on Decca Records. Produced by Jesse Harris and Phil Ramone, Nikki features new arrangements of classic standards, an original song written for Nikki by Feist, and Nikki's first original music, written with Harris and Ron Sexsmith. The album has gone gold in Canada, and debuted at #1 in the US on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. Additionally, Nikki released the DVD Live In Montreal, which has also gone gold, and has been broadcast extensively on PBS.
At the 2010 Montreux Jazz Festival, Nikki made a surprise guest appearance with Quincy Jones’ Global Gumbo All-Stars, in which she collaborated with musicians of the highest caliber, including Herbie Hancock, Lionel Loueke and Richard Bona. This performance is scheduled for a 2011 DVD/Blu-Ray release.
2011 will surely be another benchmark year for Nikki. Some highlights include a jazz vocal all-star concert tour with Dianne Reeves and Jane Monheit entitled Three Generations Of Divas, as well as Nikki’s debut at the legendary Apollo Theater. Having just turned 17, this performance will be of great significance to the young singer, as it the Apollo is the very theater in which a 17-year old Ella Fitzgerald performed for the first time.
With professional and artistic success on an incline with no end in sight, the future is bright for Nikki Yanofsky. “Nikki Yanofsky is from heaven, and gives me hope for the future of music.” –Quincy Jones