Carleton alumna, singer Kellylee Evans, won the Vocal Jazz Album of the Year award for her album Nina at the 2011 Juno Awards in Toronto this past weekend.
The album has been several years in the making. In November 2009, French label Plus Loin Music invited her to France where she spent two days in their studio. When the record label told her she could do whatever she wanted, Evans decided her new album would be a tribute to one of jazz’s greatest vocalists and pianists, Nina Simone.
“I had always wanted to do a Nina Simone tribute,” says Evans. “She was one of my mom’s favourites, and my husband’s, and I love her too.”
While the tribute portrays her respect for the original recordings of Simone, it is also an homage to her own versatility, creativity and innate musicality – a gift that might have been lost if not for the confusing floor plan of one of Carleton’s buildings.
“I discovered jazz at Carleton,” recalls Evans, “when I got lost in the elevators of the Loeb Building and found the Music Department on the ninth floor of the A tower.”
Evans spent seven years at Carleton, earning two BAs in Law and English before starting work on her MA in Law in 1997. She worked for three years on her MA before pursuing a music career in 2000.
Evans plans to release two CDs in the coming year. Last year she released Nina and a jazz album titled The Good Girl, all while homeschooling her three children under the age of 10.
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