Portrait Of A Singer: Jane Monheit

Many artists have beautiful voices with impressive range. Few, however, really consider the words they sing, or dramatize the emotion of the lyrics. Legendary vocalists such as Frank Sinatra and Sarah Vaughan possessed this rare gift, and contemporary jazz singer Jane Monheit has been blessed with this intuitive genius, perfect pitch and a warm, supple voice. This stunning jazz and adult contemporary vocalist has collaborated with artists such as Michael Bublé, Ivan Lins and Terence Blanchard, resulting in two Grammy nominations.

A native of Oakdale, a suburb of Long Island, New York, she was a mere two years of age when she began belting out tunes like “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Honeysuckle Rose” in a perfect pitch around the family home. Monheit’s innate gifts probably came as no surprise, as other family members likewise displayed an aptitude for music; thus, music always played a prominent role in Monheit’s day-to-day life. The young songstress received her earliest musical education at her grandparents’ home. Along with the support of her family, Monheit also had the good fortune of attending a school that placed great importance on the arts.

What inspires your music?
Life, I guess. I grew up with jazz in my life around our family home. I will hear a tune and remember the song from hearing it growing up.

What are you most proud of?
Outside of being a parent, writing lyrics for Ivan Lins was really a dream come true.

What is something people generally don’t know about you?
I am a strict vegetarian. I am also addicted to pop music like Lady Gaga. She’s a great singer! She’s got a trained voice and writes great melodies. I just got her new CD and I love it.

How have you handled success?
My home life is so normal that it has not been difficult for me. At home I have real grounded responsibilities like taking care of my two-year-old son, Jack, and our animals.

Who do you think deserves the spotlight?
There are tons of jazz professionals out there that work really hard and never see the spotlight. If anything, I would like to see those professionals in the spotlight.

What is your next goal for your career?
The one thing I have always wanted is to cross genres to do musical theater.

Hearing a skilled jazz vocalist interpret classics that contain inspired lyrics is a rare experience, and Monheit’s concerts invite the audience to listen closely and relish in the songs’ timeless words and powerful emotions. Jane brings her sultry voice to the Broadway Center, April 23rd, 2011. Website: broadwaycenter.org