MP3 Jamie Leonhart - forward motion
smoky vocals weave in and out of arrangements drawing upon 50’s cabaret, moody jazz and quirky folk.
6 MP3 Songs
POP: Quirky, JAZZ: Jazz Vocals
A brief personal description: I am a terrible tap-dancer, but a promising flamenco dancer (except not great at castanets.) I am great at details but sometimes miss the big picture. A lot of the time, I am not incredibly motivated by more than fear. I am earnest. I love to read and draw, unless I feel uninspired or unoriginal. I love to sing.
A brief musical history (the nitty gritty): First documented live recording: age three singing the alphabet song. Began playing the violin that same year. Joined orchestra at the age of seven – experienced serious bass and cello envy, particularly because the girls got to wear pants, instead of ankle length skirts.
First (un)documented theatrical production: Age seven: a two-girl re-enactment of “A Chorus Line.” No tits or ass to speak of, but a lot of verve.
I never got the solos in chorus that I wanted, like the intro to “When You Wish Upon a Star” in 6th grade. Finally at the age of 13 had my voice heard in a jazz vocal ensemble.
At 17, I figured out that I identified a lot more as a singer than a violinist, and gently put my violin into semi-retirement (coaxed with a drink and promise of beachfront property.) Sang all throughout college [while getting a degree in English literature] in clubs, dives and theatres, including a stint as a back-up singer for a group called “Pet the Poodle.” I was a poodette. Hmm.
Met up with an old friend on a trip to Nashville and began writing songs, the first of which won a prize in the first International John Lennon Songwriting Contest. This songwriting team flourished into a band called “Methuselah Jones” that I recorded and performed with for four years. I also had the pleasure of working with talented producers such as Pat Dillett (They Might Be Giants, David Byrne) and Rob Stevens (Yoko Ono, John Lennon Anthology.)
Going solo: By this time I was now performing as a soloist with the Metro Mass Gospel choir on the stages of Carnegie Hall and Avery Fischer Hall; was singing back-up with a handful of groups; and had begun to rekindle my romance with strings and orchestral arrangements. In search of creating my own version of pop music, I began leading a group under my own name in a style that many fans called “chamber-pop-soul”, and recorded my first solo ep “area”, that received praise from ASCAP Magazine and the Aquarian Weekly among other publications. Excited, but not yet satisfied, I was brought back to singing jazz and exploring my fascination with the hyper-theatricality of cabaret.
And now, here I am, straddling the line between jazz, “pop” (my definition, see above) and quirky cabaret, redefining and refining as I go along.
Latest musical endeavor: “Forward Motion” a dreamy, moody, sometimes frustrated but mostly hopeful 6-song ep, produced by Michael Leonhart (solo artist, Sunnyside Records, arranger and trumpeter, Steely Dan, Lenny Kravitz.) The arrangements draw on 50’s cabaret, moody jazz and music hall and are heartbreakingly executed with an acoustic backdrop of piano/wurlitzer, harmonium, acoustic bass and drums, with a few lush orchestrations thrown in for good measure.