An American language student visits Europe to study French, Italian and German for a Masters degree in comparative literature. Her life takes an unexpected twist that sees Stacey Kent become one of the world's foremost jazz singers.
Stacey, a recent addition to the Blue Note roster of recording artists, now boasts six best-selling albums, a string of awards, including the 2001 British Jazz Award and 2002 BBC Jazz Award for 'Best Vocalist,' the 2004 Backstage Bistro Award and the 2006 "Album of the Year" for 'The Lyric' as well as a fan base that enables her to sell out concert halls around the world.
The twist of fate that took her life in this new direction was a chance meeting in Oxford with saxophonist, Jim Tomlinson. Like Stacey, Jim was embarked on an academic path, but their meeting sparked in each other the desire to pursue their love of music together.
After a year's study at the Guildhall School of Music, Stacey set about honing her skills on the London jazz scene in the company of, now husband, Jim Tomlinson.
A demo tape, sent simultaneously to Polygram, Candid Records and broadcaster, Humphrey Lyttelton, secured her a role in Ian McKellen's film version of Richard III, a recording contract and national airplay and endorsement from Britain's most respected jazz broadcaster.
Since the release of Stacey's first album, Close Your Eyes (1997), she has achieved, without compromise, both critical and popular success, with her fresh and heart-felt interpretations of the finest love songs of the twentieth century.
Her most recent album, The Boy Next Door, a celebration of many of her heroes, was launched with an extensive, worldwide concert tour, lasting two years. Among the many highlights were shows at New York's Carnegie Hall, a month-long sell-out run at The Algonquin Hotel, a sell-out performance at Taipei’s Chiang Kai-shek Concert Hall and in France, where The Boy Next Door earned Stacey the 'Gold Disc' for sales of 100,000. The album also remained in USA's Billboard Charts for 35 weeks.
Stacey's admirers are not limited to the loyal fans that buy her albums and pack out her concerts. A track from her third album, Let Yourself Go, was selected by Kazuo Ishiguro on his recent appearance on Desert Island Discs, and Best-selling crime writer, John Harvey, has Stacey sing, if only fictionally, in his latest novel, Still Water.
Clint Eastwood invited Stacey to sing at his 70th birthday party, Michael Parkinson, invited Stacey to sing on his television show, as did Sir David Frost, who asked her to join him one Sunday morning in January 2003, to sing a song and review the morning papers on "Breakast with Frost."