Janet’s passion for the music is shaped by a lifetime of listening to and performing jazz, and an education from some of its finest performers. She credits her sense of swing, great ears and pitch to her father, a jazz drummer who insisted that she study piano before learning to sing. Janet's talent was first recognized by world-renowned bassist Cleveland ("Cleve") Eaton, and she began singing regularly both with Eaton's band and with other jazz musicians in Birmingham, Alabama. She credits vocalists Shirley Horn, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Carmen McRae as major musical influences.
In addition to leading her own jazz quartet, she has performed with some of Alabama's most notable jazz musicians, including Cleve Eaton, (former bassist with The Count Basie Orchestra and the Ramsey Lewis Trio). She has also appeared with bandleader and trumpeter Erskine Hawkins.
Janet studied with Sandy Cressman, Anita Wardell, Judy Niemack, Ellis Marsalis, Barry Harris, David Amram and Grammy-nominated jazz vocalist Janet Lawson. She is a member of the Georgia Association of Jazz Educators and the Jazz Education Network and is dedicated to the cause of jazz education.
Janet’s debut CD, "Believe in Spring" is a refreshing mix of ballads, swing, blues, and Brazilian in a style reminiscent of Shirley Horn and Carmen McRae. Janet sings a collection of tunes ranging from Brazilian music (in Portuguese!) to Thelonious Monk.
"Congratulations Janet on your new CD "Believe in Spring". I have just been listening to the 2 tracks you have here, Say It Over and Over again and Just in Time. Beautiful, heartfelt and swinging renditions of timeless songs that take us on a musical and emotional journey. Wonderfully played by the musicians accompanying and fabulously sung by Janet Stevenson. I am now going to get the CD!!" Anita Wardell, Winner BBC Best of Jazz, 2006
“I have enjoyed your new CD very much…the cover, song choices, mood of the CD. are all so nice - you sound very relaxed too. Congratulations.”
– Roseanna Vitro: 2011 Grammy nominee & jazz educator
“I really like and appreciate your ballad lyric interpretations. You know how to get into a lyric and not just sing "hip" stuff to be cool… Nice arrangements, great players, and a stellar choice of material… My favorite tracks are The Island and You Must Believe in Spring. Bravo, not the easiest tunes to vocalize.”
– Ted Howe: composer, pianist & jazz educator