vocalist and I was like where have I been? I just fell in love with jazz...the lyrics and how
theatrical it allows you to be. It gives you the freedom to be an artist.” Finding that sound was
like a revelation for her, especially for the Bucks County native (that’s north of Philadelphia)
who played the cello, and admittedly felt guilty performing and gaining accolades as a child in
local talent shows. “I always thought I should be more of an academic person,” and even
though her parents supported her fancying the arts, “my mother never really made a big deal
about my voice...especially because I was such a good student.” Henry even pursued an
architectural education and a career in advertising...but later switched to theater and followed
a job to South Florida.
But music wasn’t done with her...not yet. She had recorded some vocals for DJ friends on
several dance tracks when she began to realize, “This is what I love! This is what I want to
do!” Jazz purist may accuse Henry of perhaps being more a pop vocalist or soul singer, “I
come from a background of pop and soul,” but her most recent album project The Very
Thought of You is the artist’s most honest and inspired work, giving new breathe to a
musical genre that certainly has never gone out of style. The near limitless number of songs
in the jazz catalog naturally appealed to her musical ambitions.
On The Very Thought of You Nicole Henry delivers her rendition of some of jazz music’s most
memorable hits. She emotes like a goddess on tracks as familiar as “That’s All” and the
indomitable Etta James classic “At Last” -- giving the songs a new vitality and emotion that is
a far contrast from the standards we’ve heard over the years. The songs resonate for today’s
generation, and instantly win over even the most jaded music critic.
“I want to ignite people’s passion for living and loving -- and I mean passion!”
If you aren’t in love, you walk away after listening to the album as if
you’ve fallen for the first time. ”Almost Like Being in Love” makes you
want to see the world through the sound of Henry’s voice -- nothing
could be more beautiful! The song that moved me the most is the
stand out “All That I Can See”. It’s a melancholy and incredibly
www.ambiente.us JANUARY | ENERO 2010
The Very Thought of Songstress | NICOLE HENRY...
By JC Alvarez
With the pop world always dominating the Billboard music charts and scantily clad,
vocoder-enhanced demigoddess always stealing the spot-light (that is unless Kanye
West has something of utter importance that he simply has to share with the world
and spoil the moment) -- the music world is flooded with so much nonsense trying to
get our attention, we forget that the reason people made music in the first place was
to listen to it...to feel it in the pit of one’s soul. And jazz has always had that majesty. If
there’s any music that was made to steel you to the core and move you in ways you
need permission to move, it’s jazz. After all it is what tempted Roxie Hart in Chicago
and set up her downfall...booze and jazz.
So when an artist comes along that can interpret jazz and make it commercially
accessible to a modern flock of music lovers, than its well worth the listen. That artist
is Nicole Henry. The stunningly beautiful Henry has been making music for most of
her life. “I was seeking a genre, a production sound...I was struggling -- something
was missing. I couldn’t find the palette that allowed me to belt it out.” She had been
performing and song writing, pursuing the more accessible pop, soul and r&b
audience one would obviously associate with Henry.
It was that search for a new, particular sound that
lead her to various jazz clubs including Jazid on
Miami Beach. “I would just start listening to these
beautiful song of wondrous interpretation, but it will stand up against any power ballad that
could be delivered by either Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey, albeit with some envy. “That’s
a song that I co-wrote,” Nicole admits excitedly, touched that it is the song that I most reveled
in. “There’s something to be said about a song that you had a part in writing.” And there’s
something certainly to be said about Nicole Henry’s boundless talent and universal appeal.
She has toured Japan with the Duke Ellington Orchestra as a special guest and really
endeared herself to an audience that is mostly pop oriented. “The Japanese research music
(feverishly) and they find music that is honest.” They’ve embraced her modern jazz whole
heartedly. Her CD has gone onto to chart in Japan, climbing to #2 and #7 on the U.S.
Billboard Jazz charts. She has also garnered much attention in New York City performing to
fans at the vaunted Metropolitan Room. “My goal as an artist is to be myself, and that I’m
honestly representing a feeling as I’m interpreting the music.” It’s as equally important to
Henry that her audience feels that as well. “I want my audience to share in the feeling and
Henry certainly enjoys the music that has found her. On every track of her album, she sounds
like she’s smiling even on the sad songs, giving a joyfully tempered defiance to standards
that would otherwise feel somber. I ask her about that...how she’s uplifted tunes and re-
imaged some torch songs. “Good. It makes a difference when you smile,” but it’s apparent
that she has a deep love and appreciation for jazz. This music moves her. “I do feel like
music is a calling...it came back to me.”
She’s made Miami Beach her home for about 10 years and admits the she loves the beach,
“I love living this close to the water.” And also has absorbed the myriad culture of South
Florida and allowed it to impress upon her skills as a musician. It is after all impossible to
escape the Latin rhythms that encompass the very heartbeat of Miami and it’s predominantly
Hispanic community. “It opens up my mind to how to arrange songs differently.” Giving
Henry further inspiration for realizing her musical mission. Jazz is after all just the one stop
on this musical journey, as Henry is experimenting with new styles and sounds for her next
“I want to create concerts that are classic, but with a bit of
an edge. I want my music to be heard by all kinds of
people -- I want to have an impact on music. I want to be
known for my voice -- and bringing out a beautiful feeling
The enlightened sounds of songstress Nicole Henry are enough to make
you wish that you were love -- and if you are, you fall in love as if it’s the
first time all over again...and again. Henry has a way of evoking the most
brilliant passion and inspire the moment that you felt loves first kiss. The song that emanates from Nicole Henry has
an enchanting and enrapturing quality and when you look at her, you are forced to believe that the myths and legends
of sirens that lured sailors treacherously off course...well, there had to be some truth to those stories.
Henry is an inspired performer who found her love for jazz in the same way one finds their first true love. She
searched for a sound that would resonate with her, when pop and r&b were courses that would have been too
predictable from someone like Henry, perhaps roads too easy and ones too often times traveled. Her destiny led her
elsewhere. No one could doubt that she had a voice and remarkable talent, but jazz...jazz found her and soon
seduced her into making her it’s muse. “I’m a singer who appreciates the sounds, harmonies of this classic sound
-- and I respect them.” At last...the timelessness of jazz, has been made anew in Nicole Henry.
• For tour schedules to catch Nicole Henry live in a city near you, goto www.nicolehenry.com for upcoming
appearances as well as current and new releases.
• Nicole Henry’s album The Very Thought of You is available in stores and as a digital download on iTunes.
CLICK HERE for more JC Alvarez
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