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Interview: Jazzmeia Horn

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Wednesday June 13, 2018

From Rochester City Newspaper

INTERVIEW: Jazzmeia Horn
By: Ron Netsky

She was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, where her grandmother gave her a name that would prove to be prescient. “Jazzmeia” flowed nicely with her last name, Horn, but what are the odds she would grow into a sensational singer and breathe new life into a field once occupied by greats like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan? Jazzmeia Horn’s got it all: incredible range, flawless phasing, and gorgeous tone.

Horn’s tour schedule has taken her all over the world. She found time recently to answer a few CITY questions by email. An edited version is below.

CITY: When you were growing up, how did the name your grandmother gave you affect you?

Jazzmeia Horn: It didn’t because I didn’t like jazz music until I was in middle school, then people started asking me why I didn’t sing jazz. Until then, I was steeped in singing gospel music with the rest of my musical family.

What was your experience like in the Thelonious Monk Vocal Competition?

I loved the audience. I loved the variety of vocalists they had in the competition. It was also great to meet all of the phenomenal people who were judges — Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gretchen Parlato, Freddy Cole, Patti Austin, and Al Jarreau.

At the start of “Afro Blue,” you expand the vocal vocabulary with all sorts of sounds. What’s behind this unusual and innovative approach?

As I was thinking about the title and the lyrics, I was emoting what came to my mind: “think of a land, my soul is from…”

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